PORTLAND, Maine — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland’s annual Day of Prayer and Penance for harm done to victims and survivors of past incidents of sexual abuse will be held Wednesday, March 6.
The Rev. Andrew Dubois will celebrate Mass at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, according to a diocesan press release. The Prayers of the Faithful will reflect specifically the intentions of the day at the Mass.
“Each year, I ask the clergy of the diocese to join me by marking a day of contrition for past offenses against minors,” Bishop Richard J. Malone, apostolic administrator for the diocese, said earlier this week in a press release. “Through prayer and reflection, may we become even more committed to healing the wounds of the past and preventing sexual abuse in the future.”
During Masses in Maine on Wednesday, priests are encouraged to have special intentions celebrated, including prayers for victims and survivors of abuse for their healing; for perpetrators of abuse to seek and find repentance and justice; for diocesan clergy, employees and volunteers to serve with a spirit of respect and humility; and for families to create a safe, loving and peaceful environment for their children.
Since 2002, more than 14,000 church employees and volunteers, including all priests and educators in Maine that work with children, have been trained in a safe environment program, the press release said. Background checks are mandatory for this group and an abuse prevention program for children in religious education classes and schools also is offered.
“The Catholic church seeks forgiveness for past harm and pledges not only to make our parishes and schools safe, but also to give parents and children the information they need to be safe in all settings where children spend time,” Malone, who is now the bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., said.
The bishop asked that anyone who might have information about any case of sexual abuse of a minor by a church representative to contact civil authorities and Michael Magalski, director of the office of professional responsibility for the diocese, at 321-7836.