April 5, 2017
Ogdensburg - Bishop Terry R. LaValley will preside at a special Mass of Healing April 23 at 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral for those hurt by the Catholic Church in any way.
This celebration on Divine Mercy Sunday has been planned to acknowledge the pain caused by some pastoral leaders or workers in the Church and to apologize for the conduct that caused such grief.
“This crisis has impacted all of us in the church, and we need to ask God’s help for continued healing,” Bishop LaValley said.
The entire diocesan family, clergy, religious, and laity, is invited to participate in this Eucharistic celebration to continue to ask God’s help for healing and reconciliation. Additionally, Bishop LaValley invites those seeking to rebuild their lives amidst such anguish to come and continue the process of healing and moving forward.
The Mass was planned as the church completed the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.
“The Year of Mercy has focused us on our sinfulness and the need for God’s mercy,” Bishop LaValley said. “The sin and scandal of clergy sexual abuse still wounds us and causes us pain. The Year of Mercy would not be complete without again acknowledging the pain of the victims of clergy sexual abuse and extending to them our apology and help”.
While the church has made documented progress in protecting children and young people and raising awareness of child sexual abuse, Bishop LaValley says that those victimized by this sin must never be forgotten.
“We have done much to create a safe environment for children and young people in our church” the bishop said, “especially since the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People: zero tolerance for guilty clergy, full cooperation with law enforcement, comprehensive child safety education for all involved in ministry or service to children and young people, background checks of those involved in ministries with children, and outreach and assistance offered to the victims.”
“Yet, the year in which we celebrate the healing mercy of God calls on us to once again apologize for this scandal and to offer reconciliation and healing to victims,” Bishop LaValley said. “We need to offer more compassion and help to victims.”
“While we cannot make victims whole or make up for the suffering they have endured, we have consistently tried to acknowledge their pain and alleviate their suffering by offering counseling and any support possible,” he said. “The Year of Mercy called us to continue to seek reconciliation and healing for victims of clergy sex abuse. Despite our efforts, there is still need for reconciliation and healing: there is more we can do.”
“Many victims are in pain and looking for more compassion from the church”, said Bishop LaValley. “To those people, I am reaching out. I invite them to come forward and to allow us the opportunity to help them heal.”