May 22, 2018
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Portland diocese postpones Day of Prayer and Penance

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — Because of the death of a Bangor-area priest and arrangements for his funeral, a day of prayer and penance for harm done to survivors and the faithful by past incidents of clergy sexual abuse has been postponed by one week.

The Mass, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, has been rescheduled for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Sue Bernard, communications director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said in a news release Monday.

The Rev. Joseph W. Arps Jr., 63, of Glenburn died Saturday, and as is customary in the death of a priest, Bishop Richard Malone will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial. The funeral  service will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. John Church, St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Bangor.

The bishop also will celebrate next week’s Mass for the day of prayer and penance.

“Each year, I ask the clergy to join me by marking a day of atonement for past offenses,” Malone said. “Through prayer and reflection, may we become even more dedicated to healing the wounds of the past and preventing harm in the future.”

During the April 5 Mass, the Prayers of the Faithful will reflect in a particular way the intention of the Mass. Priests have been invited to concelebrate the Mass, and parishioners are invited to participate.

For those unable to attend, the bishop expects all priests to include a special intention for survivors of abuse at the Masses celebrated on that day.

Pastors and administrators throughout the diocese also have been urged to consider having their churches open for a least a few hours on that day and to invite the faithful to join in prayer, fasting and acts of penance.

Arps  was born on Sept. 24, 1947, to Joseph W. and Madeline Arps  Sr. On Jan.  1, 1974, he and his wife, Corabell, embraced the sacrament of marriage, Bernard said. Later that year, on March 25, he was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church.

After more than two decades of pastoral ministry, Arps and his family came into full communion of the Catholic Church and later applied for the pastoral provision, requesting ordination as a Catholic priest, Bernard said.

Arps was ordained to the priesthood by the Most Rev. Joseph J. Gerry, OSB, the 10th bishop of Portland, on June 11, 2002, at Chapel of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Upon ordination, he was appointed as the Roman Catholic chaplain at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he served until he retired in 2005 because of illness.

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