By Emily Drooby
During a preparation meeting for the Brooklyn Dioceses annual Mass of Hope and Healing, Anthony Hughes took a moment to make an offering.
Back in the 1980’s early 1990’s, Hughes was abused by a priest, now he’s a member of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Survivors Advisory Committee.
Hughes said, “One, we believe that there is a God and we believe that God comes first in our lives and we feel that prayer and a type of healing does come from God himself, and so I think it’s important that we keep turning to him for help.”
The committee is made up of survivors, secondary victims and professionals in the field of child protection. Together they plan the Diocese’s Mass of Hope and Healing. The liturgy is offered for survivors of abuse and everyone impacted by sexual abuse, like parents.
Hughes said, “I think what it does promote, there is healing, there is help.”
This is the fifth time the Mass is being held. Jasmine Salazar, the Vice Chancellor and Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Brooklyn Diocese explains it was born at the request of survivors and works as a supplement to the services already offered by the Diocese.
Salazar explained, “There was a need for something more. There was a need to let other survivors and victims’ know that the Church cares, the Church is here for you.”
The confidentiality of everyone in attendance will be respected.
From the readings, to the music, to the prayer card, everything at the Mass is chosen by survivors.
Salazar said, “They really take a lot of time into planning specific details to make this a very special experience that is sensitive to survivors and also speaks to survivors.”
The Mass of Hope and Healing is being held at St. Athanasius on April 30th at 7pm, it’s open to anyone who wants to attend.