Special Mass Celebrated at the Cathedral for Day of Prayer and Penance
Seeking forgiveness for past harm and offering prayers for the healing of victims/survivors, while reaffirming the Diocese of Portland’s pledge to provide a safe and peaceful environment for children were central themes during the Day of Prayer and Penance Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland, on Wednesday, March 6.
Each year, the bishop asks the clergy of the diocese to mark a day of contrition for past incidents of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
“Despite his inability to be here today, Bishop Malone wanted me to assure all of you, especially the victim-survivors of abuse, that he is united with you in prayer,” said Monsignor Andrew Dubois during his homily. “This annual Day of Prayer and Penance, which he instituted, is an opportunity for all of us to perform acts of reparation for the sins and crimes against the most vulnerable among us. This is a time to restate our commitment of providing both healing and justice for all who have suffered this unspeakable pain. And this is an occasion to renew our pledge of protecting God’s children always and everywhere.”
Since 2002, over 14,000 Catholic Church employees, volunteers, priests and educators in Maine that work with children have been trained in a safe environment program, which includes mandatory background checks.
“Through our safe environment programs for children, through training and background checks of volunteers and employees, through counseling for victims so that healing can begin to take place, through an annual independent compliance audit of our procedures, the Church is working hard to be a safe haven for all its members, especially the most vulnerable and innocent, in order to rebuild and regain the trust that was lost,” said Monsignor Dubois.
Eleven years ago, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was implemented by the Catholic Church in the United States. It mandates that any representative of the Church who sexually abuses a minor will be permanently removed from ministry. It also calls for the reporting of all complaints to civil authorities, thorough investigations of all complaints and reimbursement for therapy to victims/survivors.
Bishop Malone encourages anyone who may have information about any case of sexual abuse of a minor by a church representative to contact civil authorities and Michael Magalski, Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Diocese of Portland at (207) 321-7836.