Mass of Hope and Healing: Diocese of Brooklyn Brings Clergy Abuse Survivors Together

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

Every year the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Office for the Protection of Children and Young People comes up with new ways to support survivors of clergy sex abuse. This year the Mass of Hope and Healing is being opened up to survivors of any abuse.

Maryellen Quinn, the director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, and Elizabeth Harris, the Diocese of Brooklyn’s victim assistance coordinator, say this year people who have suffered any type of abuse can heal through faith. 

The two work directly with survivors of clergy abuse.

They’ve heard their concerns and have helped them process their pain and they’re here to tell them God’s love for them is unwavering. 

With the Mass of Hope and Healing, survivors are welcomed into the Church, and in turn welcome their faith back into their lives.

“We recognize that it’s not that easy for them to walk into a place that should have been a sanctuary for them and was not,” Quinn said. “We want our Church to grow again, we’re never going back to the way things were where these things happened, we’re moving forward. We want them to heal by watching us in what we’re doing to move forward.”

“I have found that they want to heal, they want to come back to their Church, they want to feel that they’re being heard and that the Church is there for them and recognizes the wrongs the Church has done in the past,” Harris said. “So I want to be here for them to hear that from them and support them and let them know that while we’re very sorry for what’s happened in the past we’re always looking to do better.”

A community of survivors from the Diocese of Brooklyn helps plan the Mass of Hope and Healing, picking readings and songs they say will help them regain trust in the Church and strengthen their faith.

The Mass is just one of the ways the Diocese of Brooklyn attempts to help victim-survivors.

It has also created the Office of Victim Assistance to help individuals who come forward with allegations of abuse.

The office provides supportive initial counseling, therapy referrals, and pastoral resources for victim-survivors.

Every employee of the Brooklyn Diocese, including students, undergoes mandatory background checks and training, designed to spot the signs of abuse and how to stop it.

The diocese’s conversations with victim-survivors led to the yearly Mass of Hope and Healing, where the faithful come together and pray.

This year the Mass is being celebrated at St. Bernard Church in Bergen Beach, but you can watch it live right here on NET TV.

You can also check in with Currents News for updates on the Mass.

There’s also a confidential diocesan line to report abuse, that number is 888- 634-4499. 

Reports are automatically sent to law enforcement and there isn’t any Church involvement to ensure compliance.

If you know anything, please give it a call.