Cardinal Wuerl celebrates Mass for Healing for abuse survivors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington was the celebrant and homilist at a Mass for Healing at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Thursday evening to pray for survivors of abuse. The Mass was concelebrated by the priests of the cathedral.


The cardinal began his homily by reflecting upon the significance of the Mass to the day’s reading, which highlighted the gift of Baptism. “But today at this Mass, we also recognize that even with Baptism, there continues to be human failure,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We come together at this very special Mass to pray for the healing of victims of abuse.”


“Given the scandal of that abuse, the Church has made a strong and concerted effort over the past years to do two things: to make sure that it is rooted out in the church, [and to] pray for anyone suffering as a result of it. That’s what brings us here to this Mass today – simply to draw attention to this evil that persists in our society.”


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and government agencies, community groups, and churches are encouraged to work together to share child abuse and neglect prevention strategies and promote the well-being of children and families. The cardinal spoke of the archdiocese’s long-time practice of pro-actively protecting children.


“Here in this Archdiocese, we can be very proud of the fact that we have had in place good policies, but nonetheless we always have to be aware of those who suffer any type of abuse.”

Since 1986, the Archdiocese of Washington has had a stringent Child Protection Policy, one of the most comprehensive of any organization – public or private – in Maryland or D.C. that is entrusted with the care of children. The Child Protection Policy of the Archdiocese of Washington mandates criminal background checks, applications, and education for all employees and volunteers who work with young people. The policy also mandates an employee or volunteer’s immediate removal from work or ministry following a credible allegation. A Child Protection Advisory Board of predominantly lay experts advises on and monitors compliance with child protection efforts.

The cardinal concluded his homily by saying as we make our way through the Easter season, we should remind ourselves that there is healing and renewal in God’s grace, and that we must be agents of that healing in the world today.

“We live in the baptism of the Lord, we experience that new life in Christ, and we are called always to live that to the very best of our ability and with compassion and love, to see those around us who need that care… so that there is always, in this Church, a sense of healing.”

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