Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh is holding a "Service of Apology" on the Tuesday of Holy Week in the Cathedral of St. Paul. Writing in his diocesan newspaper he told a story about a man who approached him recently at some event and expressed his hurt that Bishop Zubik had not responded to a letter he had written to him. The Bishop said he never received the letter, but apologised for the hurt the man felt. He went on to say:
"Unfortunately, I am sure there were times where my actions or words were the cause of hurt! Unfortunately, I am sure that there were times where actions or words by others who represent the Church were the cause of hurt!
Were you ever hurt by a brusque or sarcastic comment from a leader in the Church? Have you stayed away from the Sacrament of Penance because some priest decades ago “yelled” at you in Confession? Was there some disagreement while employed with the Church that unjustly ended with you losing your job? Were you in any way, in any way, harmed by any representative of the Church? Did you feel picked on by a teacher in one of our religious education classes or in one of our schools?"
In my thirty-something years of priesthood I have tried to avoid words or actions that could have been the cause of "hurt" but I am sure I did not always succeed. I think the Bishop of Pittsburgh quite pastoral in his approach. It's that kind of "servant leadership" that Jesus calls all of us to embrace.
God bless you!