THE PASTORAL COUNCIL OF ST. JOHN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Columbia, Maryland

September 27, 2018

Dear Fellow Parishioners:

Five weeks ago, we were shocked and deeply saddened when a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released “revealing a pattern of institutional failure on the part of six dioceses related to the sexual abuse of children by clergy and other representatives of our beloved Church.”  Upon hearing the news, nearly every member of our church felt a betrayal of trust by our Church leadership and for some of us, old wounds were reopened.  All of us felt a need to vent and to share our profound hurt.  Individually and collectively, we have asked, what can the leaders of my parish do to help me to heal and to move forward with renewed faith and trust.

We want you to know that the members of the Pastoral Council share your concerns and frustrations. And we believe it’s important for you to know that during the past five weeks, Fr. Gerry Bowen and Fr. Ferdinand have been seeking appropriate ways to address for our parish to come together at this time of crisis. They’ve attended listening sessions at several churches in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and along with Scott Miller, they met with many of those who volunteered to work on planning our future, and the lay professionals in our parish. As a result of their efforts, a process is now in place for our parish first, to share, listen, and learn from each other; second, to express our hopes for the Church; and third, to discuss how to frame the next step(s) for the parish.

To continue this process, a hundred of our parishioners who answered the requests to form a “task force” to assist our pastor, parish and staff to respond to this crisis are having their second meeting on October 4, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm at Wilde Lake. The original meeting on August 30 taught us a lot, and informed the basis for this present meeting, which will be a first step at forming other listening sessions, that focus on the big concerns/issues that our parish should consider addressing as we move forward seeking justice, healing, and change for our beloved Church.

Fr. Bowen is planning to lay out the work that he’s been doing with Fr. Ferdinand and the team of lay parishioners and professionals since mid-August to develop, what they hope will be, an effective approach to helping our parish. While there’s no proven model for responding effectively to this crisis, we assure you that our leaders have conducted very thoughtful and prayerful research to identify what works and what doesn’t work. Now it’s time to listen and for us to learn from each other. Keep in mind, the October 4th meeting and future meetings will not be equipped, nor are they intended, to provide therapy. The meetings will be led by the professionals of our church who are skilled in facilitating discussions.

The members of our parish council also stand ready to listen, and invite anyone wishing to do so, to not hesitate to call. Our numbers are below.

In the Peace of Christ,

Pastoral Council 2019 – 2020

 

PastoralCouncil@sjerc.org

Mary Bielefeld, President    ………………..Mebielefeld10@gmail.com
Audrey Marsh, Vice President  ……………Character4pets@gmail.com

L. Ann Benjamin   ……………………………… labenjamin@verizon.net
Triiip Bowen   …………………………………. triiip@verizon.net
Christian Skipper   ……………………………. cwskipper@smcm.edu
Maria Martinez  ……………………………….. marialmartinez21@yahoo.com
Evelyne Mbandi   ……………………………… embandi@hotmail.com
Maria Moreno   …………………………………MariaAlex30@hotmail.com
Debbe Mork   …………………………………...deborah.mork@gmail.com
Cathy Spain  ……………………………………..cathyspain@verizon.net

 

         
         

 



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Oakland Mills Interfaith Center

5885 Robert
Oliver Place
Columbia, MD
21045

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10431 Twin Rivers
Road
Columbia, MD
21044