“The Seeds of Hope” is edited by Mike Hoffman and offers examples of Catholics coming together to promote healing and reconciliation from clergy abuse within our Church because, as Mike says, “With God’s grace, heartfelt healing is not only possible, but is already happening each and every day. Our hope is that others will be inspired to follow suit in their own parishes and dioceses.”

A Parish Mission was held for two nights in March of this year at St. Barnabas parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The mission was to talk about the clerical abuse scandal and was attended by over 100 people.
This event was personal to me, because my abuser was assigned to this parish, prior to being assigned to my childhood parish where he abused me.
And, the results of the mission have been especially moving for me. The parish welcomed the opportunity to talk about the abuse crisis at all, and, as noted in the attached document, agreed that our Church can recover and that the parishioners of St. Barnabas parishioners want to be a part of the recovery.
Other quick takeaways from the parish summary report that may help other lay people who are gathering to find ways to participate in healing our Church:
  • Balancing the need of parishioners to express feelings with the more typical mission format of prayer and preaching is a challenge.
  • Discussions about abuse also open discussions about other issues in a parish which need attention, too.
  • Involving younger people in these discussions – and outreach – is an important element in any ministry to the abused.
For a full narrative report, as prepared by The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union based on a two-night mission held at St. Barnabas in the Archdiocese of Chicago, click here. Courtesy of The Bernardin Center and St. Barnabas Parish.
Keep planting seeds! And keep telling us about them here.

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