This is a healing service for victims of Catholic priest sexual abuse, anyone impacted by any sexual abuse, [those who] love someone who has suffered abuse, or [who] just want to pray for healing in our world.

Have you, or do you know someone who, suffered sexual abuse? The path to healing for the abused person is a lonely and epically difficult journey. It is also both intricately personal and communal in nature. Well-meaning righteous anger [is] natural and necessary. The question is how do we express and move beyond that anger and our hurt to healing? I am a survivor/victim of Catholic priest sexual abuse. I am doing all I can to heal from this unthinkable betrayal of trust, as are many others. My heart breaks when I hear another’s story of sexual abuse, as does our God. For any community (city, state, nation, Church or any institution) to heal, all of us must participate. I invite you to think about the impact on you and join us to further our collective healing.

Out of the depths of my despair, a healing service was born. I approached the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese for help in making this service a reality. I was met with love, tender care, respect and help. While the Catholic Church and I have a long way to go to be reconciled, this is a key first step, for me, and hopefully for others impacted in any way by any form of sexual abuse.

My hope for the evening prayer service is that it helps others move one step further towards healing, regardless of where we are in the process. We’ve all heard that “it takes a village…” Well, so does healing.

If you are passionate about any sexual abuse and want to turn to God (not necessarily the Church) and each other, please join me and others impacted by this terrible violation of our bodies and our trust for a faith-filled evening of prayer and grace.     

The service will be on May 28 at 7 p.m. at the Le Moyne College Panasci Chapel (1419 Salt Springs Rd., Syracuse, N.Y. 13214).


Matthew FitzGibbons

Fayetteville, N.Y.

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