By Mike Hoffman, on behalf of the Founders of Healing Voices Newsletter
In each diocese of the United States Catholic Church a Victim Assistance Coordinator is a resource to survivors of clergy abuse and to their families, aiding healing from the pain.
This position was mandated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in its Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth in 2002 as part of its first efforts to respond to the child abuse scandal in the Church. This job is by all accounts a difficult one. As we found this newsletter, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge and say thank you to Thomas P. Tharayil, LCSW, BCD, Director of the Office Assistance Ministry with the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Tom, with his compassionate, collaborative nature, went beyond the mandates to strive for a larger vision of healing from abuse for individual survivors, and our Church as a whole. A true advocate for victims, Tom helped each of us find our voice. It is Tom who brought many of us together to create a healing fellowship, which has led to the founding of this newsletter. If you find any help for your own journey here, you in part may also thank Tom.
As we, together, work to make our Church and society a safer place for children and adults in all settings, we express our eternal gratitude to him – for his inspiration, encouragement and affirmation of who we each are as individuals and as children of God.