A Letter from Father Philip
Galveston-Houston List of Priests with Credible Sexual Abuse Allegations
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we learned of the news of 42 priests who served in our archdiocese since 1950 that had credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors. While this news is devastating we hope and pray that it will bring further healing to the survivors of the abuse and courage to make a change for anyone that finds themselves in an abusive relationship today.
The Cardinal’s letter and the list are provided on our parish website and Facebook page and will be published in our parish bulletin in the February 10th edition. The lists indicate only that there is a credible allegation and then lists all of the assignments that the priest had within our archdiocese. In reviewing Sacred Heart – Conroe we note that two priests are listed – Fr. Manuel La Rosa and Fr. Richard Edelin.
Please take time to read through the letter and the list and note that there is a Question and Answer section on the archdiocesan website at archgh.org.
Let us pray for God’s healing for all survivors of sexual abuse, their family members and for our Church. May we seek and find new ways to better protect our children and youth in our Church and within society.
Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor
A Letter from Father Philip
Statement of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Jesuits Release List of Credibly Accused Priest
Declaración de la Lista de Sacerdotes Jesuitas de la Arquidiócesis de Galveston-Houston
December 7, 2018
A Letter from Father Philip...
November 30, 2018
Dear Parish Family,
This week we witnessed another step in the ongoing healing and purification of our Church as a search warrant was served at our Chancery in Houston regarding the case of Fr. Manuel La Rosa Lopez. I trust that we are continuing to pray that God use this process to help us as a Church community to improve in protecting children and youth - and all people.
May I ask us to pray the Rosary at home as a family asking God for his wisdom to be shared with us and that we use it to discern and take action as quickly as possible? I also encourage each of us to choose one day a week to fast as a penance for the sins committed against children in our church and throughout the world. Lastly please consider making an intention in your heart to offer the Mass you attend weekly to God as reparation for these sins and for the salvation of all. Also our St. Mary of the Woods Chapel is open for prayer and Adoration Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
The Parish Pastoral Council and I are working together to bring Children’s Safe Harbor located in Conroe to our parish in February to offer talks about sexual abuse and how we can improve in prevention and in the care of victims. And we are seeking to establish more counselors and support groups. These efforts will be ongoing, becoming annual practices to increase awareness and prevention in our parish.
Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor
30 de noviembre de 2018
Querida Familia Parroquial,
Esta semana fuimos testigos de otro paso en la curación y purificación en curso de nuestra Iglesia, ya que una orden de registro se cumplió en nuestra Cancillería en Houston con respecto al caso del Padre. Manuel La Rosa López. Confío en que continuamos orando para que Dios use este proceso para ayudarnos como comunidad parroquial a mejorar en los procesos de protección de los niños y los jóvenes, y de todas las personas.
¿Puedo pedirles que recemos el Rosario en casa como familia y que pidamos a Dios que comparta su sabiduría con nosotros y que la usemos para discernir y actuar lo más rápido posible? También animo a cada uno de ustedes a elegir un día a la semana para ayunar como penitencia por los pecados cometidos contra los niños en nuestra iglesia y en todo el mundo. Por último, considere hacer ofrecer a Dios desde su corazón la intención de la misa que asiste semanalmente, como reparación por estos pecados y por la salvación de todos. Además, nuestra Capilla de Santa María de los Bosques está abierta para la oración y la Adoración de lunes a jueves de 8 a.m. a 6: 15 p.m.
El Consejo Pastoral Parroquial y yo estamos trabajando juntos para traer a nuestra parroquia a Children’s Safe Harbor (Niños en Puerto seguro), ubicado en Conroe para ofrecer charlas sobre el abuso sexual y cómo podemos mejorar en la prevención y el cuidado de las víctimas. Y estamos buscando establecer más consejeros y grupos de apoyo. Estos esfuerzos continuarán, convirtiéndose en prácticas anuales para aumentar la concientización y prevención en nuestra parroquia.
Phillip Wilhite, Párroco
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Parish Open Forum Summary
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Policy and Procedure For Investigating Allegations of Sexual Abuse By Clergy Against a Minor
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Sexual abuse by a priest or deacon violates human dignity, clerical commitment and the very mission of the Church. It diminishes and, at times, destroys the relationship of trust that is necessary for ministry.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston considers allegations of sexual abuse by its clergy a very serious matter and is committed to promptly responding to such allegations. The safety and protection of children and young people is our primary concern. We are deeply saddened by any abuse of minors and are committed to assisting the victims/family in healing and reconciliation. Towards this end, compassionate support will be offered to victims/families and a thorough and timely investigation of all allegations will be undertaken in accordance with the procedure stipulated in this document.
For purposes of this document, clergy will include not only priests and deacons, but also seminarians of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. When the accused cleric is a member of a religious institute, his superiors will be contacted and informed of the allegation. If the accused cleric is a diocesan priest/deacon from another diocese, his diocesan bishop will be contacted and informed of the allegation. In these cases, it is responsibility of the superior/bishop to investigate the allegation in accordance with their policies.
The Bishop, by virtue of his role and function in the Church, is charged with the pastoral care of both the faithful and the clergy, and with the promotion of unity in the diocese in a communion of charity and reconciliation. Hence, this document is intended to assist the Bishop of Galveston-Houston in the exercise of his pastoral ministry to the faithful and clergy entrusted to him by Christ, the Good Shepherd, and to assist him in carrying out his canonical responsibilities in the internal governance of the Archdiocese. The persons and bodies referenced in the policy, such as the Victim Assistance Coordinator and the members of the Review Board and the Special Panel, are part of this procedure and are considered advisors to the Bishop in carrying out his canonical responsibilities.
These procedures are subject to the provisions of canon law and will be reviewed at least every two years and will be modified or supplemented as laws, circumstances and situations require.
1. Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor (whether the person is a minor at the time of the reporting or whether the person is now an adult but was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse) are to be immediately referred to the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC). The VAC will take an initial account of the data as presented by the informant, attempting to gather as much pertinent information as possible pertaining to the allegation(s). The VAC will express the concern of the Bishop, begin the discussion of counseling for the victim/family, advise the victim/family of their right to report to legal authorities, and inform the alleged victim/parents of minor that the VAC will be their communication contact with the Diocese. In the event that the VAC is unable to respond to the alleged victim within a 24 hour period, the Chancellor, or another delegate of the Bishop, is to take the initial account.
2. The VAC will immediately provide a verbal report of the allegation to the Bishop (Chancellor in the Bishop's absence).
3. The Bishop (Chancellor in the Bishop's absence) will immediately consult with legal counsel regarding compliance with applicable civil law reporting statutes.
4. The Bishop will assign a Case Manager, in most cases the Chancellor, to ensure that the policy is followed and the records properly kept.
5. The VAC will provide a written memo reporting the allegation to the Bishop and the Chairperson of the Archdiocesan Review Board. The Bishop will convene the Review Board to assess the allegation and advise him regarding the credibility of the allegation and the need for an investigation.
6. The Bishop or his delegate shall arrange to promptly meet with the accused cleric to inform him of the allegation. In this meeting the accused cleric should be:
d. informed if any restrictions are placed upon him or his ministry during the period of investigation, up to and including being relieved of ministry and/or the parish.
8. If the accused cleric denies the allegation or declines comment during the meeting with the Bishop, then the Bishop shall convene a Special Panel (3-5 persons, including at least one priest), who will conduct an investigation to determine if the allegation can be established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law (Canon 1717-1719).
9. The Special Panel will:
b. prepare a written report of its findings to the Bishop (copies shall be provided to the Case Manager and the Chairperson of the Board); and
c. make recommendation(s) regarding subsequent action to be taken with respect to the accused cleric and the alleged victim.
10. The Bishop shall reconvene the Review Board to review the Special Panel's report and to advise the appropriate next course of action.
b. The Bishop will proceed with a canonical trial when directed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, unless it reserves the case to itself because of special circumstances.
c. If the case would be barred by prescription, the Bishop shall apply to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a dispensation from prescription, indicating the appropriate pastoral reasons.
d. The alleged offender may be requested to seek appropriate medical and psychological evaluations at a mutually acceptable facility.
e. If the Bishop determines that there is insufficient evidence that sexual abuse has occurred, he will receive any recommendations from the Review Board as to an appropriate course of action. The Bishop will notify the alleged victim and the cleric of the advice of the Review Board by a proper forum.
Update on Ongoing Investigation of Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez
Yesterday our parish was served with a search warrant in relation to the ongoing investigation of Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez. This is a normal part of the ongoing investigation of which we are cooperating and we will keep you informed as this process unfolds. Please contact Detective Joe McGrew at the Conroe Police Department at 936-522-3591 if you have any information.
Actualización sobre la investigación en curso del Padre Manuel LaRosa-Lopez
Ayer, nuestra parroquia recibió una orden de registro en relación con la investigación en curso del Padre Manuel LaRosa-Lopez. Esta es una parte normal de la investigación en curso de la cual estamos cooperando y los mantendremos informados a medida que se desarrolle este proceso. Comuníquese con el Detective Joe McGrew en el Departamento de Policía de Conroe al 936-522-3591 si tiene información.
An Important Letter from Father Philip
September 12, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This morning we learned that a priest of our archdiocese and a former Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart in Conroe, Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, had turned himself into Conroe Police at the Montgomery County Jail on allegations of sexual abuse of minors at our parish during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Join me in offering prayers for the healing of these victims.
In the statement below the Archdiocese gives more information about this ongoing investigation. Anyone with knowledge about this or any other abuse are encouraged to contact the Conroe Police Department at 936-522-3203. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, please contact the Conroe Police and know that we are praying for your healing and are here to assist you.
I encourage all parishioners to continue offering our prayers and penance for the healing of all victims of sexual abuse and for the purification of our Church.
Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor
If you have knowledge of abuse to minor please contact Abuse Hotline at https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/Default.aspx or if an emergency call 800-252-5400.
12 de septiembre de 2018.
Queridos hermanos y hermanas,
Esta mañana nos enteramos de que un sacerdote de nuestra arquidiócesis y ex-vicario parroquial del Sagrado Corazón en Conroe, el P. Manuel LaRosa-López, se había entregado a la policía de Conroe en la cárcel del condado de Montgomery, por denuncias en su contra de abuso sexual de menores en nuestra parroquia a fines de la década de 1990 y principios del 2000. Únete a mí para ofrecer oraciones por la sanación de estas víc...timas.
En la declaración anexa (comunicado es en inglés se proporcionar en español en breve) en, la Arquidiócesis brinda más información sobre esta investigación en curso. Se recomienda a cualquier persona que tenga conocimiento sobre este o cualquier otro abuso que se comunique con el Departamento de Policía de Conroe al 936-522-3203. Si usted es o ha sido víctima de abuso sexual, comuníquese con la Policía de Conroe y sepa que estamos orando por su sanación y estamos aquí para ayudarles.
Animo a todos los feligreses a continuar ofreciendo oraciones y penitencias por la sanación de todas las víctimas de abuso sexual y por la purificación de nuestra Iglesia.
- Philip Wilhite, Párroco.
12 de septiembre de 2018.