Parish calendar

CULLMAN, Ala., Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, Letting Go and Letting God: The Wisdom of Twelve-Step Spirituality. This reflection day will focus on the core principles of twelve-step spirituality and the gift of spiritual freedom that is experienced when these principles are put into practice. Tuesday, August 28. Retreat Director: Sister Therese Haydel, O.S.B. Cost: $30 includes lunch. Details: (256) 734-8302, or
GREENWOOD Locus Benedictus Retreat Center, Grace for the Journey Training for Caregivers, Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m. This training is for family, friends, clergy or employees who take care of people suffering from any illness or injury. Presenters: Catherine Kidd and Charlene Gressett. Details: (662) 299-1232.
METAIRIE, La., “Fresh Fire 2018,” a day-long gathering for those desiring refreshment and empowerment in the Holy Spirit, will take place Saturday, August 25, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., at St Benilde Cafeteria, 1901 Division St., Metairie. The event is sponsored by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans (CCRNO). The theme for the day is “Return to Your First Love” and will focus on the call of the Lord to us now. Registration is $30 per person and includes lunch. Special price for youth ages 18-30, $10. Register online at no later than Wednesday, August 22, noon, to reserve your lunch. Details: Call CCRNO at 504-828-1368 for more information.

CLARKSDALE Northwest Mississippi Medical Center, A Healthy Night Out for Ladies, Thursday, July 19, at 6:15 p.m. in the private dining room. This event is free and features numerous speakers and exhibitors, including a skincare presentation from parishioner Lisa Chicorelli. Details: St. Elizabeth church office (662) 624-4301.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, All Parish Picnic, Sunday, July 29. Chewalla Lake Recreation Area, 726 Chewalla Lake Rd., Holly Springs, 3-5 p.m. Mass at 5 p.m. swimming, food and fun! Bring a side dish to share and drinks for family. The meat will be provided. Don’t forget your chairs. Details: (662) 429-7851.
JACKSON St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Save the Date, Level II Training for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Classes are: August 11, September 8, October 6, November 2-3, December 1, January 4-5, February 1-2, March 2, April 6 and May 4. Cost: $675, which includes course materials, lunch, snacks and certification by the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, USA. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is due by August 1. Details: Rachel Misenar, or (601) 573-3689.
Catholic Charities, Mississippi Catholics against Human Trafficking (MCAHT) will meet at Catholic Charities, 850 East River Place, Jackson on Monday, July 23 at 4:30 p.m. Details: For more information, contact Dorothy Balser, or (601) 941-4600.
Christ the King, National Black Catholic Men’s Conference in Richmond, Virginia, October 18-21. Fifteen years of fellowship among men who have been forged by faith and experience. Registration forms are available on the table at the back of the church. Details: church office (601) 948-8867.
St. Richard, ChristLife: Discovering Christ, Mondays from August 20 and ends October 1 at 6:30 p.m. with a retreat on Saturday, September 22. Explore answers to questions such as, “How does knowing Jesus really make a difference? Dinner and program offered at no cost. Seating is limited. Details: (601) 366-2335, register at
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Choral Concert, Wednesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. Free admission and open to the public. Guest Conductor: Dr. Rollo Dilworth. Details: (601) 445-5616.
SHAW St. Francis of Assisi, Religious study of Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly, Fridays at 9:30 a.m. after Mass. Details: church office (601) 754-5561.
YAZOO CITY St. Mary, Parish Potluck Lunch, Sunday, July 29, after 10:30 Mass in the Parish Hall cafeteria (changed from an earler date). The church will provide the meat, bread,and drinks. Parishioners’ last names A-D, please bring a salad, E-H, please bring a meat or vegetable casserole, I-Q, please bring a vegetable, R-Z, please bring a dessert. There are sign-up sheets in the back of the church. Details: (662) 746-1680.

JACKSON Catholic Charities welcomes Jim Caveziel Friday, Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall. Tickets start at $25. Group rates are available. Details: Catholic Charities (601) 355-8634 or
Diocesan Middle School Retreat: October 13-14, Lake Forest Ranch, Macon, Miss. Lead by young adults from NET Ministries. This retreat is open to youth in 7-8th grade. Registration will open late August 2018.

A story in the last issue of Mississippi Catholic misidentified the president of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sister Susan Gatz, who delivered a victim’s impact statement during the sentencing hearing for Rodney Earl Sanders. We regret the error.

Diócesis de Jackson ordena a cuatro

Por Maureen Smith
JACKSON – La Diócesis de Jackson ordenó a cuatro hombres esta primavera, dos como diáconos transicionales y dos como sacerdotes. La gente estaba de pie en cada rincón disponible de la Catedral de San Pedro Apóstol en la Fiesta de la Visitación, el jueves 31 de mayo, para presenciar la ordenación al sacerdocio de Nick Adam y Aaron Williams.
Los dos hombres provienen de orígenes muy diferentes, pero ambos respondieron sí a la llamada a servir a su iglesia. La familia del Padre Adán se mudó varias veces. Él es el más joven de ocho hijos y había comenzado ya una carrera en la televisión cuando por primera vez consideró el sacerdocio. Trabajaba como reportero deportivo en Meridian cuando comenzó a pensar en ser sacerdote. El Padre Frank Cosgrove, su pastor, lo ayudó a través del proceso inicial.

El Padre Williams tiene sólo un hermano, ha vivido en Jackson toda su vida y comenzó a servir en el altar a los cinco años con la esperanza de llegar a donde está hoy. Pidió ser monaguillo a los cinco años, aprendió a tocar el órgano a una edad temprana y fue al seminario justo después de la escuela secundaria.
La familia, sin embargo, jugó un papel muy importante en la vida de ambos hombres. Al final de su primera misa, el Padre Williams invitó a sus sobrinas, Ava y Hadley, a colocar un ramo de flores a los pies de la estatua de María. Luego le entregó a su madre la tela que había usado la noche anterior para limpiarse el aceite de crisma de sus manos, y le explicó a la congregación una tradición que pide que Julia Williams guarde la tela para que sea colocada en sus manos cuando sea enterrada, un símbolo de acción de gracias por el regalo de su hijo a la iglesia. De hecho, el Padre Williams mandó a bordar en la tela un versículo de las Escrituras antes de su ordenación para presentarselo como un regalo personal.
Los siete hermanos del Padre Adam y nueve de sus doce hijos llenaron varias bancas en la catedral para la ordenación y en la Iglesia St. Richard para su primera misa. Los bebés, niños pequeños y grandes sonrieron mientras veían a su tío profesar sus votos solemnes. La madre del Padre Adam murió de cáncer en 2014. Dijo que su familia de la Diócesis de Jackson lo apoyó durante ese momento difícil, algunos de ellos incluso viajaron en autobús para asistir a su funeral en Alabama.
El Padre Williams ha sido asignado como pastor asociado en la Parroquia St. Joseph en Greenville y enseñará en la escuela St. Joseph. El Padre Adam servirá como pastor asociado en la Parroquia St. Richard en Jackson.

Two ordained as priests

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Father Nick Adam and Father Aaron Williams were ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Visitation, Thursday, May 31, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Both are local vocations. Father Williams grew up at the Cathedral and graduated from Jackson St. Richard and Madison St. Joseph schools. While Father Adam grew up out of state, he first felt the call to the priesthood while working in Meridian so he calls St. Patrick and St. Joseph his home parishes.
At the ordination Bishop Joseph Kopacz announced that Father Adam has been assigned as parochial vicar at Jackson St. Richard Parish and Father Williams has been assigned as parochial vicar at Greenville St. Joseph Parish. Father Williams will also teach at St. Joseph School.
Both men also celebrated their first Masses of Thanksgiving the following day. Father Williams celebrated a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart at 12:05 Friday at the Cathedral while Father Adam celebrated his Mass at 6 p.m. at St. Richard Parish.
Mark Shoffner is set to be ordained a transitional deacon on the day this paper is delivered to homes, Friday, June 9, at his home parish of Greenville St. Joseph. Deacon Adolfo Suarez Pasillas was ordained in Mexico earlier this year. Deacon Shoffner will serve his transitional year at Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish while Deacon Pasillas will serve at Jackson St. Therese Parish.
Full coverage of all four of this year’s ordinations will appear in the next edition of Mississippi Catholic, set to publish Friday, June 29.
In Bishop column you can read the bishop’s ordination homily or click here.

Seminarian Summer Assignment 2018

Carlisle Beggerly is assigned to the chancery offices.
Andrew Bowden and Ryan Stoer are assigned to Camp Friendship in Pontotoc.
Andrew Nguyen is assigned to he Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson and will minister at St. Dominic Hospital.
Cesar Sanchez is assigned to Canton Sacred Heart Parish and will minister at St. Dominic Hospital.
Tristan Stovall is assigned to Clarksdale St. Elizabeth Parish.

Minnesota volunteers return to Clarksdale

By Michael Banks
CLARKSDALE – On the grounds of a church that was formed in the days of segregation, white students from a Minnesota college entertained and formed friendships with black children from Clarksdale on a recent weekday afternoon.
This marks the ninth year that students from St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul and Minneapolis, have come to Clarksdale to assist and learn more about the people of the Mississippi Delta. They are here for two weeks to learn more about others and also about themselves.
For Abby McCall, a Superior, Wis., native who is in the final year of the graduate program at St. Catherine’s, this was her first trip to the Delta.
“Every experience has been eye-opening, but the people are very hospitable and welcoming. It’s been very inviting,” said McCall, who has plans to be a physical therapist and work with patients who have suffered brain injuries.
“It was my hope to be exposed to people and work more with children,” she said. “I really like being able to interact with the kids on a personal level.”
In the afternoons, the nine St. Catherine students conducted an afterschool camp for children ages 5 to 14. The camp was held on the grounds of and with the assistance of members of the Immaculate Conception Parish.

CLARKSDALE – A physical therapy student from Minnesota plays ball with a child on the grounds of Immaculate Conception Parish.

During the mornings, the students did volunteer work at the Care Station and exercised with clients at the S.L.A. Jones Senior Activity Center and the students at George H. Oliver Elementary School. They also spent time ministering to the patients at the Clarksdale Children’s Clinic.
David Chapman, an associate professor at St. Catherine’s, said it is the program’s goal to promote physical activity and fitness, as well as increase awareness of good nutrition for all age groups.
“Hopefully we’re able to meet some needs of the community and learn social and political structure and how it impacts health,” Chapman said.
During the two weeks they are in Clarksdale, the students stay in the former sister’s rectory on the church campus. The weekend was filled with a night at the Ground Zero Blues Club and then a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum and blues festival in Memphis, Tenn. Sunday consisted of a trip to Oxford and a visit to Ole Miss.
The visit is part of a one-credit course for the students, Chapman said. Once they return to campus, each student will give a two-minute, self-reflection report to their classmates on what the experience meant to them.
“If anything, it helps them be aware of their own biases they may have,” Chapman said, noting that this if often the first trip to the Deep South for most of the students.
They learn “cultural competence” and become mindful of how things are done in different parts of the country, as well as the social, economic and political influences of each community and their impact on health care.
The program came about due to a collaboration between the late Sister Manette Durand, who was a Midwestern native but was serving in Clarksdale, and Dr. Jyothi Gupta, an instructor at St. Catherine’s. Sister Manette, who passed away in October 2015, was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, which helped form St. Catherine’s University in 1905.
Christine McDaniel, a member of Immaculate Conception and one of those who works behind the scenes in organizing the event each year, said there have been years when they have close to 100 children in the afterschool camp.
And while church members give the students “a taste of the Delta” with a soul food supper of smothered cabbage, barbecued neck bones, corn on the cob, collared greens and cobbler cake, she believes both the students and Clarksdale benefit.
“The last day is the most emotional,” McDaniel said. “We see a lot of hugs and tears.”

(This story was reprinted with permission from the Clarksdale Press Register.)

State Religious leaders honor MLK with joint statement

To mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the bishops of both Catholic Dioceses as well as the Methodist and Episcopal bishops in Mississippi signed a joint statement marking the day and urging their faithful to action. It read:
“As our nation gathers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this is an ideal time for our respective Christian communities to devote an even greater commitment to fostering understanding across racial, ethnic and gender divides.
As Bishops of the Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist traditions, we are asking each of our faithful to stand with us in recognizing and rejecting continued injustice against our neighbors. As we celebrate this Easter season, a season of rebirth, let us all be reborn with a renewed spirit of love and compassion to strengthen our parish and secular communities and to not be afraid of the stranger at the door.”
The statement was signed by Bishop Joseph Kopacz from the Diocese of Jackson, Bishop Louis F. Kihneman, III, of the Diocese of Biloxi, Bishop Brian R. Seage, the Episcopal Bishop for Mississippi and Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr., the United Methodist Bishop for the state.

El obispo Kopacz habla en solidaridad con los soñadores

El Obispo Joseph Kopacz hizo la siguiente declaración el jueves 2 de noviembre en apoyo de los “soñadores,” personas traídas a los Estados Unidos cuando eran niños y que desean seguir un camino hacia la ciudadanía. Mientras el presidente Donald Trump y los miembros del Congreso luchan contra los problemas de inmigración, los obispos y otros líderes religiosos alzan la voz a favor de la compasión, la razón y una reforma significativa. El obispo envió copias de esta declaración a las parroquias que sirven a las poblaciones hispanas en la diócesis de Jackson, ofreciendo a los pastores la opción de compartirla con sus comunidades.

Queridos amigos en Cristo,
Con el paso del tiempo desde el 5 de septiembre y la decisión de la Acción Diferida para Llegadas en la Infancia, DACA, aquellos que no se ven afectados directamente pueden ser arrullados en el sueño de que esta crisis ha pasado. Todos los que se ven directamente afectados, ya sea personalmente o con un familiar, amigo o vecino, saben de manera diferente. A menos que esta realidad sea abordada justa y exhaustivamente por el Congreso de los Estados Unidos en marzo de 2018, esta decisión presidencial se convertirá en una crisis para todos los Soñadores afectados, así como todas sus vidas se verán negativamente afectadas, especialmente los miembros de la familia.
Como obispo de la diócesis de Jackson, me solidarizo con mis hermanos obispos en todos los Estados Unidos, junto con todos los Soñadores para quienes esta nación es la única patria que conocen. Ustedes han vivido aquí la mayor parte de sus vidas, fueron educados aquí, trabajan aquí, y muchos de ustedes han defendido a nuestra nación en los Servicios Armados, todo lo cual es para decir que han soñado aquí y han estado construyendo una vida para ustedes mismos mientras contribuyen al bienestar de nuestra nación. La diócesis de Jackson se solidariza con ustedes, les da la bienvenida, ora con ustedes y por ustedes, y defenderá una decisión legal justa cuando el Congreso de los Estados Unidos aborde este tema crítico de integridad e identidad nacional. Ustedes son nuestros hermanos y hermanas en el Señor Jesús, miembros de la Iglesia Católica y la familia de Dios, y trabajaremos para mantener su dignidad y el lugar que les corresponde en nuestra nación.
En la paz de Cristo,
Obispo Joseph Kopacz

New class of catechists certified in Good Shepherd program

By Maureen Smith
PEARL – More than a dozen catechists gathered at St. Jude Parish the week of August 18 to conclude a week of training in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. This group is finishing the third and final level of training, almost 300 hours in all, so they can now guide students through the program appropriate for their age.

PEARL – Catechists from Jackson-area churches read the story of Moses and discuss how to guide students through it using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd during a training in August. (Photos by Maureen Smith)

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based program in which students and their teachers work together to learn and explore their faith. There are three atriums, or learning environments, students and teachers use for the program, one for ages three to six, a second for ages six to nine and the third for ages nine to 12.
“It’s just so wonderful. It’s not the kids sitting in a desk and us teaching them like they do in school. It’s completely different. It’s centered around the work of the child and what they need and so for the kids it’s so different from what they have seen all week,” explained Stacy Wolf, coordinator of Faith Formation at St. Jude. “To come into a room that’s built for them and it’s a place of prayer and God – they can just slow down and take time to read the Bible and just talk about it,” she continued.
She said she likes that students can take Scripture at their own level so they are not reading it with the worry that they will have to take a test. The process is “organic and the students have time to do the work and to choose where the Holy Spirit is leading them – not everyone has to be doing the same thing,” said Wolf.
She and teachers from eight other area churches, including representatives from Baptist and Episcopal congregations, formed an association to make trainings such as this one easier. Each level of training can take 90 hours so being able to offer it to larger groups makes the process easier and more cost-effective for the churches and trainers alike. This training drew a catechist from Alabama and another from Florida.
The formation leader for this training was Donna Turner from Memphis. She said she first found out about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd back in 1994 when she was teaching children at her parish. She did not feel like the curriculum she was using fit the needs or capacity of her students so she spoke to her pastor about seeking new programs. She fell in love with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd almost immediately. “I love that it is a gift for the children, but as much as it is a gift for us as the adults who also do the work so it is really a beautiful way I think God draws all of us to him, ” she said.
Turner said the program is more than just lesson plans, it works with what people want and need. “Relationship – that relationship with Jesus, the relationship with the Good Shepherd, is one of their greatest needs and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd provides the right food to nurture that,” said Turner.
During the training on Friday, August 25, participants took turns reading the story of Moses and his confrontation with Pharaoh. They discussed how they reacted to the story and how they would expect the students to react. Turner took out cards with images from the story on them and a small group sat on the floor to talk about the items and their role in the story. One of the things catechists who use this program learn is that they will also have to do the work with their students.

Stacy Wolf from St. Jude Parish, left, Donna Turner from Memphis and a third catechist Catherine Bishop from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, Jackson talk about images from Bible stories as part of their Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training.

Each atrium has items designed for the students who will use it. Smaller children may use a wooden shepherd, sheep and little fences to better understand the story of the good shepherd while older students may set up a small altar or create their own artwork to go with a story that appeals to them. Each age group will take on different topics, but ultimately, the students select what work they want to do.
The association is able to work with catechists who are worried about the cost of training or setting up an atrium. The association will offer a Level I training this year at a local Episcopal Church in the Jackson area. Anyone interested in learning more about local training should contact Stacy Wolf at St. Jude, 601-939-3181 or by email at


Fresh faces greet new school year

JACKSON – Students and their families meet their teachers and tour the school during Sister Thea Bowman’s back to school afternoon Sunday, August 6. Sister Thea Bowman, situated near Jackson State University, offers music, Spanish and technology as supplements to its excellent curriculum.(Photo by Melissa Smalley)

Parents and students meet the staff at back to school night.

Students meet the new lay ecclesial minister of Christ the King Church, Deacon Denzil Lobo, visible in the doorway.

Deacon Denzil Lobo, in the red shirt, was on hand to greet students on the first day of school.

Khamari Stevenson and his mom on his very first day of school.

GREENVILLE – Friends reunite in the halls on the first day of class for St. Joseph school in Greenville. The unit school has new principals for both the elementary and high schools this fall.(Photo by Missi Blackstock)

New Principal Jo Anne Heisterkamp opened doors in the carpool line for Our Lady of Lourdes students on the first day of School at Greenville St. Joseph School.

NATCHEZ – At left, at Cathedral School, Beth Foster’s kindergarten class started their day with the Pledge of Allegiance on Monday, August 7. Cathedral Unit School offers pre-k through 12th grade education and welcomes a new administrator and high school principal this year. (Photo by Cara Serio)

Third grader Braxton Brice leading the elementary school with the prayer, pledge and mission statement over the loud speaker.

Mrs. Beth Foster’s kindergarten class starting the day with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Middle School students starting the first day of Mrs. Brown’s Science class with a project – (kneeling on the table) Grayson Guedon, left going around the table clockwise: Will Welch, Kate McCann, Logan Ellis (standing on stool) and Barrett Burget

PreK 3 student Stratton Thompson practicing his writing on the first day of school

MADISON –  first day at St. Anthony School. (Photos by Kristian Beatty)

Pre-K4 Collin and Lindsey Truong get settled in Mrs. Newell's classroom

MADISON – The seventh grade meets for the first time at St. Joseph School on Monday, August 7. Students from all Jackson-area Catholic elementary schools in addition to students who transfer from private and public schools, started their middle and high school journey as Bruins with a day of tours, orientation and lessons in the fight song. (Photo by Tricia Harris)

The seventh grade at Madison St. Joseph School spent their first day in orientation -- touring the campus and meeting one another.

The seventh grade at Madison St. Joseph School spent their first day in orientation -- touring the campus and meeting one another.

The seventh graders divided into teams and had to complete a hands-off cup stacking challenge.

The seventh graders divided into teams and had to complete a hands-off cup stacking challenge.

Catherine Amy, center, and her team complete a challenge on the first day of seventh grade at Madison St. Joseph School.



Archbishop Gregory asks survivors for forgiveness

(Editor’s note: Bishop Joseph Kopacz participated in this Mass during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s gathering. See related stories on pages 1 and 3.)
WASHINGTON – As they began the spring general assembly, bishops from across the U.S. gathered June 14 at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis for a Mass of Prayer and Penance for survivors of sexual abuse within the Church. The Mass was held in response to a call from Pope Francis for all episcopal conferences across the world to have a Day of Prayer and Penance for victims of sexual abuse within the Church.
The bishops gathered together in solidarity to pray for victims and to acknowledge the pain caused by the failures of the Church in the past. The Mass marked the opening for the June plenary assembly of bishops held June 14-15 in Indianapolis.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the principal celebrant.

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory delivers the homily during Mass June 14 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly. (CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, of Atlanta, and former president of the USCCB, was the homilist.
Following is the full text of Archbishop Gregory’s homily.
In the very same chapter of his Gospel in which St. Matthew presents his rendition of the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us that He has not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Clearly, the Beatitudes are in fact a startling new edition of God’s Law. Jesus is Himself both the new law and the fulfillment of the old law. He calls us to see with new eyes how to live in a world so continually filled with sorrow, injustice and violence and how important it is to acknowledge our own share in causing or compounding the sorrows, suffering and violence that often seem to surround us.
We bishops have learned a great deal about the sorrow and pain of those we love and serve, even as we have to acknowledge humbly, publicly and pitifully our share in bringing much of that pain to bear. We feel, we see, we live with, as they do in much greater measure, the impact of behaviors, responses and revelations that have no place in Matthew’s Gospel, in the Beatitudes, or in the narrative of Jesus’ promise to fulfill God’s Law. And yet only there, by His Grace and His unwavering example, can we begin to learn to heal and to reconcile — to bind the wounds and to assuage the sorrow. We recognize this even as Paul reminds us that we have been qualified for this ministry only by God’s purpose and designation.
Pope Francis has summoned us as bishops to find occasions and opportunities to pray earnestly for God’s grace to bring about the healing and the reconciliation of those who have been harmed in this tragedy that has hurt far too many of His people and far too much of His Church. The Holy Father has called us respectfully to acknowledge our own share in causing the pain that so many are still enduring.
At this Mass, we bishops humbly and sincerely ask for the forgiveness of those who have been harmed, scandalized or dispirited by events that, even if they happened many years ago, remain ongoing sources of anguish for them and for those who love them. We humbly seek forgiveness from the faith-filled people of our Church and from our society at-large — and especially from those whose lives may have been devastated by our failure to care adequately for the little ones entrusted to us and for any decision that we made or should have made that exacerbated the sorrow and heartache that the entire Church has felt and continues to feel — for what we have done, and for what we have failed to do. We can never say that we are sorry enough for the share that we have had in this tragedy of broken fidelity and trust.

Clergymen pray during Mass at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly June 14 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (CNS photo/Mike Krokos, The Criterion)

With hearts that are contrite we ask the forgiveness of God, our Almighty Father, under whose purpose and designation we are entrusted with this ministry, and whom we disgrace most profoundly when we fall so woefully short.
There have been many procedural and educational expressions of our commitment to reform and renewal that have been put into place in the past 15 years. They are sincere, state-of-the-art, and effective. Nevertheless, this expression of our sorrow is far more important at this time, in this place, than any administrative process or training effort, however beneficial to the Church and to the world.
While we have had many opportunities to pray in our own dioceses with survivors, their families and our people, we gather this evening as a community of bishops to pray together for the grace of healing and reconciliation that only the Lord Jesus Himself can bestow upon His Church. While there is still more, always more, that must and will be done to assure our people of our dedication and commitment to safeguarding the innocent lives of our young and vulnerable faithful, this evening we acknowledge that ultimately it must be the Lord Himself who heals and reconciles the hearts of those who live with the pain of God’s law unheeded.
For that Grace, with sincere hearts, with contrite spirits and with a renewed promise to protect, we simply pray this evening. Amen

Clergymen pray during Mass at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly June 14 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (CNS photo/Mike Krokos, The Criterion)