Remember Sacrifice, Devotion of Our Clergy

The Herald News
May 31, 2002

The Associated Press article in today's edition bears more unhappy news about ordained men of God: The bishop of the Peoria Roman Catholic Diocese has asked seven priests to step down from the ministry over allegations of sexual misconduct.

This somber announcement comes on the heels of the removal of priests who have served in the Joliet Diocese. Similar removals have taken place throughout the nation, and they are not exclusive to Catholic priests, but include charges against Protestant pastors.

These heinous charges against those who have been trained and taken vows to serve as Christians' spiritual leaders shake the very foundations of the church in America. Many Christians, knowing all men and women are fallible and saved alone by God's grace, say their faith is undying. But the allegations are still unnerving.

Shedding a bright light on the dark landscape are the priests and pastors who are continuing to carry on the ministries to which they have been called.

Earlier this month, the Cathedral of St. Raymond honored the Rev. Stan Orlikiewicz, who has served 17 years as rector at the Joliet church. "I don't know of anything more beautiful to do than turn people's lives around. It's not a human venture, but a divine venture," said the priest affectionately known as Father Stan.

These comments reflect the passion that many priests, nuns and pastors have for their ministries. Their work is as varied as the countless needs of their flock: counseling the troubled; providing spiritual support for the dying; inspiring the faithful; performing the vital rites of Communion, Christian marriage and more; and guiding decisions on the growth and direction of their congregations.

Many times, clergymen and women feel isolated because of their work, and sometimes, unfortunately, the stress and harsh expectations of parishioners cause burnout.

It is important to affirm these men and women who have been called to do God's work here and now. Congregations and parishioners, don't hesitate to support, thank and encourage your priest, minister, youth pastor or anyone who is serving your spiritual needs. Please do it now.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.