No one can fail to be dismayed, troubled and even angry hearing of another priest removed from ministry for sexual abuse of a minor. I heard recently from a Catholic not only troubled by this recent accusation and others like it that he decided to leave the Catholic Church. I understand. However, I would like to give you an example of a committed, loyal, joy-filled priest. There are many, many others like him. They seldom appear in the social media.
However, their loyalty and commitment to their vows are worthy of praise and gratitude. One such priest, a Franciscan friar, was such a man. Let me tell you about him. His name was Fr. Chris Posch. He was only 58 when he passed away on July 5 of this year. Father Chris, always wanting to be called “Brother Chris,” was pastor of the largest parish in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. Members of his parish described him as a humble, approachable and hardworking leader who saw himself, above all else, as a servant. One of his parishioners described him this way: “He just exuded a joy for the gospel in ways that were never pretentious. Before St. Camillus Parish in Washington, he was head of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware’s Hispanic ministry for 18 years.
In Washington, he fostered the uniting of the parish’s many diverse ethnic groups into one multicultural community. One parishioner said: “He made us disciples of the Gospel and encouraged us to be mindful that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.” The Principal of the parish school said: “He was overjoyed in a way that I haven’t experienced from anyone else, as if he really understood the call and what it means to follow your vocation.” Another parishioner commented that Posch’s joy might be what the community will miss most of all.
As Catholic Christians, as people of faith, we cannot overlook the sins of our priests. However, we also cannot overlook hardworking, loyal and compassionate priests who embody the call of Jesus Christ to be men for others.