Suggestions on further steps for healing the church

These suggestions came out of two day-long conferences held in September 2015 on the them of Healing the Church: Addressing the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis.”

They were presented to Archbishop Brendan O’Brien in the spring of 2016,. as promised. And they are made available for your consideration, presented according to theme.


  • Our priests are hurting. They do not come together to share their pain. They need encouragement and counselling to do this.
  • Very early prevention – reaching out and supporting priests to prevent abuse, alcoholism, loneliness.
  • Retreat day for priests for further dialogue with one another on the crisis
  • A nod to the priests in our community – preventative! How do we do a better job to let them experience that they truly matter to us and do not have to hide on the pedestal or behind the collar.
  • Reach out to the priests with issues of secrecy and possibilities of resolving them. Address impact of secrecy towards ministry
  • Train priests in the basics of dealing with/healing abuse – to give them the vocabulary to deal with this as it comes up on their pastoral ministry and in their own lives.
  • Education of clergy, seminarians and parishioners through presentations such as today’s
  • Any help for priest offenders who were marginalized and shamed
  • Places for priests to share and socialize



  • Have existing parish groups such as the Catholic Women’s League or the Knights of Columbus invite speakers on the topic.
  • Invite the Healing Violence Committee members of the Sisters of Providence to do an educational workshop on “Healing the Church” using Nuala Kenny’s power point presentation in the different parishes.
  • Train facilitators to prepare the power point of Nuala Kenny on Healing the Church and facilitate discussion in groups regarding the issue.
  • Continue the dialogue on Healing the Church with a component of mercy.
  • Create study groups to connect healing within the church and the abuse crisis with the Year of Mercy.
  • Invite the Healing Violence Committee members of the Sisters of Providence to offer the healing “process” (that was done at Holy Rosary & St. John’s) to other parishes (or other church groups.)
  • Ask each parish if a committee could be established to begin to decide how to address this topic and open discussion.
  • Parishes need to become involved in addressing the issue, keeping the dialogue going.
  • Continue follow-up gatherings in the parish to dialogue on how we can build up trust and beginning the healing process in the church addressing clericalism and empowering the laity.
  • There is an underlying attitude change that needs to occur – it’s not just about going to church, it’s about living a life where we are compassionate and thoughtful toward others- focus on contributions from all, including youth.



  • Diocesan Mass for “Healing the Church”
  • Bishop to encourage open dialogue within all parishes.
  • Services offered by Archdiocese when painful experiences/sexual abuse
  • Set up a diocesan-wide series of seminars on “Abuse Awareness & Healing Information Seminars.” That would be given in all parishes – over the next 1-2 years
  • Educational component to parishes through Archdiocesan support and dialogue
  • Request bishop increase dialogue among priests and have priests acknowledge/address issue at parish level.
  • Request Archbishop designate a date for healing Masses in all parishes
  • Is there a diocesan parish council? If so, how can we participate? If not – how can we begin/initiate one?
  • Bishop invites the priests to use Nuala Kenny’s presentation on Healing the Church as a tool for study and reflection during the priest annual retreat.
  • Have a diocesan committee compose a healing prayer for distribution in churches to be used especially during this year of Mercy.


Youth and Students       

  • Speak to the young people in our parish and in our high schools. We need to bring the younger people back to the fold
  • High school chaplains gather together for a plan of action for talks with students
  • Look at possibility of contributing to the new Sex Education Program in the schools: a section on protecting self and other young people from victimization (including social media harassment)



  • Continue the dialogue through further workshops/groups meetings
  • More gatherings!
  • Healing the church – workshops in parish setting
  • Yes, more gatherings! With more personal confidential sharing led by sensitive group leaders
  • Follow-up workshop on how to dialogue in the church
  • Follow-up with a further workshop to dialogue with those who wish to embrace the church