Prayer services, discussion held at Emmaus Pastorate in response to sex abuse crisis

Five parishes host Litany of Lament

By Fran Zichal
Special to The Witness

EDGEWOOD — Father John Haugen led the Litany of Lament at each of the five parishes in the Emmaus Pastorate — St. Mark, Edgewood; St. Mary, Straw­berry Point; St. Patrick, Colesburg; Sacred Heart, Volga; and St. Joseph, Elkader. All parishioners were offered an opportunity to reflect and pray for the sorrows and difficulties that have come from the sexual abuse within the church.

After reading Psalm 88 and hearing Matthew Chapter 5, there was a reflection on “Lumen Gentium,” a Vatican II document leading us on a path of penance and renewal. Following Benediction, all those interested in discussing the current sexual abuse scandal gathered in the Parish Center Library to express their thoughts and concerns. The discussion centered around four topics. The first discussion item offered by one of the parishioners was on the need for transparency in the church at all levels. Changing the culture was the second needed reform. It was suggested that this is the heart of the changes ­needed. Clericalism needs to be replaced with humility and self-denial, according to participants. Third, the church needs balance that can only be achieved with greater reliance on women to help lead the church, said participants. The fourth discussion centered around the need for more men to be active in our parishes.

This was a powerful, emotional experience that helped Father Haugen and all the participants to begin the healing process.

 

Father John Haugen, pastor of the Emmaus Pastorate, kneels during the exposition of the Eucharist at one of the prayer services held to pray for victims of sexual abuse and the church. (Contributed photo)

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