For the second year, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver is inviting all the faithful of the local Church to offer prayers and fasting for victims of sexual abuse on the first Friday of Lent, February 28.
“We have made significant progress in addressing this grave evil within the Church, but we cannot let that progress cause us to forget the psychological, physical and spiritual wounds it has caused,” Aquila wrote in a recent letter.
“On this designated day once per year, I would urge you to also fast and set aside some extra moments of prayer and penance.”
The Catholic bishops of Colorado announced during October 2019 an independent reparation and reconciliation program that will provide for victims of clerical abuse in the dioceses who were minors at the time the abuse occurred.
The program followed the release of a report issued after a seven-month investigation conducted by a former U.S. Attorney, Bob Troyer. Colorado’s bishops and the state’s attorney general decided mutually to support the investigation, which was funded by an anonymous donor.
In a letter to priests issued on October 22, Aquila wrote that after reading the report, “my feelings have ranged from deep sadness for the victims, to anger at the perpetrators, to compassion and solidarity for the victims, and profound sorrow for the Church and her clergy to have to experience this. It has led me to understand in a deeper way the reality of sin and evil, which can affect any one of us at any time.”
In a letter to Denver Catholics, Aquila praised “the courage of the survivors who have shared the stories of their abuse.”
The Catholic Bishops of Australia during February 2018 called on the Catholic community to make the first four days of Lent a period of fasting and reparation in sorrow for the “tragedy” of child sex abuse within the Church, Vatican News reported at the time.
Pope Francis called during 2018 for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse, and to be involved in needed change within the Church.
“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God,” Francis wrote August 20, 2018.