Bishop promises problems not forgotten

It’s been a year since the release of the grand jury report regarding sexual abuse of children within six Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania.

On the anniversary of the release of the report, Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Diocese of Erie released a statement reminding people of the Independent Survivors Reparation Fund and promising that the problems will not be closed and forgotten.

“One of the most significant steps we took as a diocese was the creation of an Independent Survivors Reparation Fund for survivor/victims,” Persico said. “To date, 52 survivor/victims have applied to the fund and 23 claims totaling $3 million have been paid out.”

The claim period ended on Thursday.

“Once the last claims are brought to closure, I will make public a final report about the fund,” he said.

The closing of the fund is not the end of the story.

“Some could be tempted to want to close this chapter of our history and move on,” Persico said. “That would be a disservice not only to survivor/victims, but also to the faithful who fill our pews every Sunday.”

“As with any event that has had a broad impact on so many people, it must be remembered, in part, to ensure that the changes we make in the church and in our world are deep and lasting,” he said.

“That is why I am once again calling for a day of prayer in the Diocese of Erie on the memorial of Our Mother of Sorrows, Sunday, Sept. 15,” Persico said. “I am asking that pastors open the doors of all of their churches that day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I invite people to visit a Catholic church and spend time in prayer in whatever way the Holy Spirit moves them.”

“We need to pray for survivor/victims,” he said. “We need to pray for the healing and purification of the church. We need to pray for the many good and holy priests who continue to serve faithfully.

“And we need to pray that our own faith be strengthened.”

“This year, I also am asking that parishes, either individually or in groups, promote opportunities for Eucharistic adoration with the special intentions of victim/survivors, the healing of the church, and the sanctification of the clergy,” Persico said. “It is clear that bringing about healing and rebuilding trust is the work we are being called to do as church. It will take time, patience and fidelity, but the Lord will provide the grace we need.”