Mass for Forgiveness

An Archbishop Apologies

Marrero SDBs Take Part in Repentance Mass

by Bro. Jerry Meegan, SDB

On Wednesday, August 29, the front page of The New Orleans Advocate had a large photo of Archbishop Emeritus Alfred Hughes, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, and Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri lying prostrate before the altar to pray for forgiveness. The occasion was a special Mass called for by the archbishop to pray publicly for forgiveness for the failures of priests and bishops involved with the abuse of children and the cover-up of these activities.

Previously the archbishop had written an open letter to all the clergy, religious, and laity of the archdiocese decrying the disgrace publicized by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and especially the conduct of the hierarchy who countenanced the misconduct of clergy. He invited all to pray and fast with him. He called for victims and survivors to come forward to talk with him so that their healing could move forward. On August 27 he invited everyone to this special Mass.

At the Mass for Forgiveness and Healing at St. Joseph’s Church in New Orleans, there was a standing-room-only congregation. There were close to 200 priests and deacons in attendance in a congregation of 1,400, which included the Salesian community from the West Bank.

During his homily the archbishop likened the sexual abuse scandal surrounding the Church today to the incredible destruction of Hurricane Katrina 13 years ago. He said that the Church is hit now by “another storm—not of rain, not of wind. It is a man-made storm.” He explained how this leaves us emotionally with outrage and indignation. In his words, there is no excuse in the world that allows for the abuse of children.

As a bishop, Archbishop Aymond apologized for the actions of his fellow bishops—leaders who have failed “you who are in the Church.” He deplored that many priests are feeling tainted by these issues. The archbishop explained how, in many ways, the hierarchy has lost the trust of the members of the Church. He emphasized that the hierarchy now needs to rebuild and reclaim that trust.

One survivor told the archbishop that an apology is not enough. The archbishop acknowledges this and is well aware of the need to follow up with outreach and actions to help the healing process and to rebuild the trust that has been tarnished and lost.

September 5, 2018 - 10:55am

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