Pastor viewpoint: Where God’s spirit will lead reforms in the Catholic Church, I don’t know

Hudson Star Observer

September 30, 2018

By Father John Gerritts

I am a Roman Catholic Priest and pastor at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Hudson. The Catholic Church has been in the national news lately because priests and bishops in our church have been accused of rampant sexual abuse of children — which supposed leaders within the church have covered up for decades. The cover-ups continued even after church leaders made strong public commitments 16 years ago to protect children.

In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, as I was finishing junior high and moving on to high school, a
priest was assigned as a chaplain at the local hospital in our community. While his primary
assignment was serving at the hospital, he frequently assisted at our parish. People enjoyed it
when he offered Mass since he was a good homilist, had a fun sense of humor, and was quite
charismatic. He frequently attended various events with kids, such as high school athletic
contests and concerts. He was close to several families in the community, including my own.

Families were thrilled that he gave attention to the kids in the church. My parents were excited
because they knew I was thinking about becoming a priest, so surely his would be a good

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