Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger will lead a Service of Prayers for Consolation and Hope for survivors of sexual abuse on Wednesday, Dec. 18, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 125 Eagle St., Albany. The prayer service is open not only to survivors but to all those who want to pray for the healing of victims, their families and the larger community.
“I pray this will be an opportunity for us to come together as a Church family to forge a path toward deeper healing, reconciliation and hope,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. “For too long, victims of sexual abuse have suffered in silence and isolation. We want survivors to know they are not alone; we want to walk with them on this difficult journey as best we can.”
Bishop Scharfenberger has been at the forefront of survivors-first ministries in the Diocese of Albany, publishing a List of Offenders on the diocesan website in 2015 (www.rcda.org/offenders), creating a Task Force in 2019 to study policies and protocols related to sexual abuse and protecting children, and speaking out through his columns and statements about the need for transparency at all levels of the Church related to abuse.
The Dec. 18 prayer service is the second of its kind to be offered in the Diocese of Albany. The first was held at All Saints Church in Albany in early October. Others are in the planning stages. The prayer services are being presented in collaboration with Spirit Fire, a national organization that “promotes Christ-centered restorative justice for adults, families and faith communities wounded by child abuse.” Teresa Pitt Green, co-founder of Spirit Fire and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, will speak of her journey of reconciliation with the Church.
Because of the sensitive nature of this event and in order to protect the privacy of survivors, no photographs or video recordings — by participants or media — will be allowed in the cathedral on Dec. 18.