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U.S. bishops will gather for a Mass of Prayer and Penance

This article was updated June 13.

As they begin their Spring General Assembly June 14, Catholic bishops from across the U.S. were scheduled to gather at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis for a Mass of Prayer and Penance for survivors of sexual abuse within the church.

The Mass is scheduled in response to a call from Pope Francis for all episcopal conferences across the world to have a Day of Prayer and Penance for victims of sexual abuse within the church.

In a statement released June 13, Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said, “With all people of good will, I invite you to join me and my brother bishops in prayer as we mark the 15th anniversary of the implementation of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.’ Since 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter has provided comprehensive procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy as well as guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability and actions to assist in preventing future acts of abuse.

“For the past 15 years, the Diocese of Arlington has worked to implement the ‘Charter’ by building upon our prior efforts to ensure a culture of protection and healing for our children and the victim/survivors of child sexual abuse. The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People and our Victim Assistance ministry continue this necessary work of protection and healing.

“As my brother bishops and I begin our Plenary Assembly in Indianapolis, we will mark this historic anniversary with a Day of Prayer and Penance, including the celebration of the Holy Mass. I will be remembering all victim/survivors, most especially those in our diocese, during the Mass which will take place on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral at 5 p.m. I ask you to join us in prayer and penance so that together we will continue to protect and safeguard all children from any form of neglect or abuse.”

In the Arlington Diocese, the annual Child Protection and Victim Assistance Report will be published in the June 29 edition of the Catholic Herald.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is scheduled to be the celebrant of the June 14 liturgy, while Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, former USCCB president, is scheduled to be the homilist.

In an act of penance and humility, the bishops were to kneel and recite a commemorative prayer that was written for survivors of abuse. Intercessory Prayers of the Faithful also were to be offered for those who have suffered due to clergy sex abuse. All dioceses and eparchies have been provided the suggested intercessory Prayers of the Faithful for use at any time of their choosing after June 14.

In addition to this specific Day of Prayer and Penance, many dioceses and eparchies schedule their own Masses or other events to promote healing within their diocese throughout the year. Bishop Burbidge will celebrate Mass to pray for the healing of victims June 20 at Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling at 7:30 p.m.



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017