By Mike Hoffman, Founder
As chairman of the Hope and Healing Committee of the Archdiocese of Chicago and a childhood sexual abuse survivor, it means a lot to me to be able to write about this Healing Mass. Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, each year we have gathered together at this Mass to promote healing for victims-survivors of child and youth sexual abuse, their families and our larger church family. It also serves as a reminder to the Catholic community to honor Christ’s mandate to protect the dignity and sanctity of all of God’s children and young people. There are licensed clinic social workers available at Healing Masses for anyone to speak privately. Survivors of abuse are also present, encouraging others who are just beginning. Every year it is a Mass with more and more hope to share.
Recently, Pope Francis approved a Universal Day of Prayer for survivors of abuse. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said in a statement: “Prayer is one part of the healing process for the community of believers, and public gatherings for prayer also help raise awareness about the issue.” I agree with this statement from the commission and I am pleased the Holy Father has taken this step. On October 29, 2016 abuse survivors, family members, priests and all concerned with the protection of children gathered together to celebrate the 5th annual Mass of Hope and Healing at Holy Family church in Chicago to do just that—to pray for hope and healing.
I attended this Mass. I am grateful for the opportunity to share something in common with other abuse survivors in this heartfelt and prayerful Liturgy. It simply felt healing to me. I hope the others who attended felt the same way.