20 February 2018

Dear Members of our Catholic Community,

All members of the Catholic Community, including the bishops, have ben invited to participate in days of fasting and reparation in sorrow for child sexual abuse and for the healing of victims.

The Royal Commission has revealed shocking stories of sexual abuse by priest, religious brothers, sisters and lay personnel plus failures by church leaders to deal with this issue and a lack of ability to listen to those who were victims of abuse and their families.

As People of Faith, we do recognise there are moments and times for lament, expressing sorrow and seeking healing from our God. Many of the Psalms are psalms of lament. Even if we are not personally responsible for what has happened, these days of fasting and reflection let those who have suffered so much know that we do care and are sorry for what cannot change from the past.

Finally we all would like our church to continue to change and strengthen policies and practices ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our children and vulnerable people in our community and church.

The Australian Catholic Bishops have issued a joint letter and produced resource material (found below) for you to use within your parish and school communities, to encourage us in our days of fasting and reparation.

How to use this material?
Given that Lent occurs and starts very early this year, with Ash Wednesday next week, February 14th, there is little time for everyone to prepare for these days of reparation. I would like to suggest over the weeks of Lent, you develop a way of using this material. As a parish community, you might choose say, week 4 of Lent to hold these days of fasting and reparation. The material is in Word format which can be easily printed or modified for use.

Holy Hour
One of the Liturgical activities easy to organise and use during our time of Lent would be a Holy Hour based on the resources found below. It might be early evening or late afternoon, when it’s best for people to be able to come if they wish too.

Message from the Bishop’s Conference
This can be placed on your church noticeboards or in your bulletin if there is room at the beginning of Lent.

If you are able to do what is possible in your parish community or even your school, agency or community, I would appreciate your commitment for this acknowledgement within our Catholic community.

The Truth Justice and Healing Council is finalising their response to the Royal Commission’s Recommendations and as soon as that response becomes public I will forward it to you all for your information.

Yours sincerely in Christ

The Most Rev. Michael Morrissey DD
Bishop of Geraldton

Evening Prayer

Prayers for use at home

Holy Hour & Benediction

Pentitential Celebration

Sample Prayers & Litany

All Resources

Australian Catholic Bishops Message