As the Year of Mercy nears its end, we ask your mercy for the times we err
Before taking part in the “Friends of the Poor Walk” sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Peoria on Sept. 24, I grabbed a few back issues of The Catholic Post — the newspaper I edit — to double check the time the walk was scheduled to begin. The story, which I clearly remember writing and placing on a page, wasn’t in the first couple of issues I checked.
Getting nervous, I went back further, even through August editions, but still could not locate the promotional story.
My mind eventually solved the mystery, and the “whodunit” was me. Yes, the story had been on a page, for an hour or so in late August, before it was replaced with a more time-oriented story at deadline. Unfortunately, it was not re-filed to be placed in the next issue. My bad.
So my first order of business when registering for the walk was to seek out the organizers and apologize. Humility is a virtue, but humble pie is not very tasty. My chief disappointment was that the mistake likely cost the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which does so much good for the poor throughout the diocese, some needed funds.
As the Year of Mercy draws nearer to its Nov. 20 conclusion, this seems like a good time for our staff to collectively ask the forgiveness of our readers and advertisers for the times we have slipped up. Please know that we remember our errors as long as those they affect or embarrass.
For example, we remember the advertisement that didn’t get updated as requested. And how could we forget that in late January we carried a photo of the wrong church with a story that Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Nauvoo had been designated a diocesan Holy Door pilgrimage site. (We hope there is some redemption in the Holy Door being pictured on our front page of this issue.)
While our newspaper won a national Catholic press award this year for general excellence, we know the mea culpas could go on. But I’ll list just one more.
On Jan. 11, 2015, Father George Thompson, a priest of the Diocese of Peoria for 63 years, died in Davenport, Iowa. Somehow, we missed that notice and no obituary appeared on our pages. Time passed, more deadlines were met, and about three months later a family member called and asked why there had been no obituary. Honestly, and perhaps unbelievably, it was the first I had heard.
Father Thompson had many assignments in our diocese, including as pastor in Ransom, Sheffield, Bloomington, Aledo and Silvis. We carry his photo here, and as contrition this Cardinal fan will wish Father Thompson’s beloved Cubs well in the post-season.
In asking your forgiveness for when we err, we also ask: Is there someone from whom you need to seek forgiveness, or someone you need to forgive? Take advantage of this special time of grace. – Thomas J. Dermody