August 20, 2018

Sackcloth, Ashes, and Acts of Reparation for Our Lord

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

The first stanza from W.H. Auden's poem "Funeral Blues" has been running through my head. It's how I feel in the face of all the horrendous news from the past weeks surrounding former-Cardinal McCarrick and the Grand Jury's Report on the rampant sexual abuse by priests and subsequent cover-ups and mishandlings by bishops throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Naively I did not see this coming. But here it is.

At times I am furious and I want it to burn it all down. At times I can't hold the sobs in. The victims, their families, and all of us who feel betrayed - it's too much. The anger comes and goes in waves but the sadness has been constant.

I didn't see this coming but here it is and more than anything I feel like mourning. This - the violence and lies - feels like death.

Last week I shared how I have written letters but even then, behind the scenes, I was working with Kendra Tierney and other writers, artists, and social media friends to create a mass of people fasting and praying in reparation for what has been done.

As Wikipedia tells us, "Man is restored to grace through the merits of Christ's death, which grace enables him to add his prayers, works, and trials to those of Our Lord "and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24). Man can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for his own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, he can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others."

I seek to console the Sacred Heart of Jesus and will help to bring healing to the Church. I hope you will join me and the many, many others.

Because Mary loves her Son with all her heart I know that she sees His pain and wants to walk with us, her children, as we pray and sacrifice. For that reason, we will be praying and fasting for forty days beginning on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, this Wednesday, August 22nd, and going throughout the entire month of September, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.

Today and tomorrow take the time to consider what you will do: Fast from breakfast, snacks, or creamer in your morning coffee. Give up sweets, podcasts, or Netflix. Pray a daily Rosary or Chaplet of Reparation or attend daily Mass. If possible, talk to your confessor or spiritual director about it and then join us. Pope Francis has even asked us to do this!

 Kendra created these images to be used throughout the forty days. Please feel free to save, print, and share them. Encourage your small groups, parochial schools, co-ops, and parishes to join us. You can commit by commenting here or anywhere you see one of the #sackclothandashes graphics. A tremendous evil has been prowling about our Church, the Body of Christ. Let us come together in love for our Lord to soothe His wounds.


  1. I just watched your third video on the Healing Retreat with John-Paul and Annie. I then googled you and found your blog and the #sackcloth and ashes prayer and fasting for the victims of abuse in the church. I will join in prayer and fasting with you all. I am in a major life change and am seeking God’s will for my life and future. I hope to eventually correspond with you or connect with you by following your blog. Thank you for sharing your story on the Healing Retreat. I watched the last two portions today, and find it no coincidence that I read your blog about this prayer and fasting on the same day as it begins! This is a lot of rambling, but just want to let you know that your testimony is powerful- that is how we overcome the enemy- by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. My story is tragic, but with God, all things are possible and He is faithful ALWAYS!