‘Christ Will Never Forsake His Church,’ Bishop Brennan Tells Wheeling Serrans

By Colleen Rowan
WHEELING—Despite the current scandals and the hurt caused by some, the life of the church continues on, “because Christ will never forsake his church,” Bishop Mark E. Brennan said to Wheeling Serra Club members. “He promises the Holy Spirit to guide us and strengthen us. We can never lose sight of that promise of his to be with us always, to the very end of this world.”
Bishop Brennan shared these encouraging words with Wheeling Serrans, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and diocesan seminarians gathered for the club’s recent Burse Dinner at Central Catholic High School in Wheel- ing.
“We can’t let what other people do deter us from what we’re supposed to do,” the bishop continued in his address. “We are followers of Jesus Christ. That is central.” Though someone else may give bad example and hurt in the church, the bishop said, “We stay, and persevere, and keep on.”
This is not to discount the hurt and disappointment that people are dealing with, Bishop Brennan noted, or the things that have happened and setting things right. “But underneath that,” he said, “the work of the church is going on in this Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston—the catechists have taught the faith; RCIA programs have continued and helped people coming into the church; parish priests have visited the sick, heard confessions, and celebrated Mass, and marriages and funerals; Catholic schools continue to operate day after day forming our young people in the faith and teaching them the skills they need for their adult life; the Serra Club has continued on… All of that has continued through the scandal, great hurt and disappointment.”
It was at the burse dinner that Bishop Brennan met the diocesan seminarians and members of the diocesan Vocations Office for the first time.
Also speaking at the dinner was Chris Freeman, president of Wheeling Serra, who presented the burse in support of the education of seminarians to Bishop Brennan. Freeman spoke of the many events and gatherings the club has held in support for vocations. He also said, “We all need to gather as a diocese, as the faithful, around our new shepherd, provide as much support as possible as the healing begins.”
In listing the events of last year, Freeman noted the club’s goals of achieving the “magic number” of nine—nine new members and nine events. However, Freeman said the club was short by one in both categories. Bishop Brennan said he would join the club, and now it has nine new members. Freeman noted that the goal of achieving nine events would be complete as well, also thanks to Bishop Brennan. “We get to keep the magic number of nine, “Freeman said, “as Bishop Brennan will be the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling- Charleston.”
The main objective of the Serra Club is to encourage and support vocations to the priesthood and religious life.