Mercy Mondays

Working from Grace and Moving Towards Healing

By Jim Richter and Michael Hoffman | Monday, October 24, 2016

As adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse by clergy, we want to live full and complete lives, integrating the childhood trauma we experienced into the lives we have constructed. In reconciling ourselves to the tragic consequences of our painful past and reflecting on how they affect us today, we know God’s grace and mercy can manifest itself in many ways.

In telling our story to our spouses, family, and friends, we no longer have to keep a secret or withhold our sadness and pain. As we share personal stories with our friends, even some of the most heartfelt stories of our troubled youth, we feel more and more like we can be free to be ourselves, and we don’t have to hold back.

We find grace and mercy in ministering to those who share our experience of abuse. We promote healing and hope by gathering God’s children together, wherever they are on their journey, and offering them company, compassion, and empathy. We heal from our wounds of abuse by sharing our story, and we encourage other abuse survivors to share their stories as well.

In reaching out and participating in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Independent Review Board process, the dignity which was stripped away from us can be restored. By working on a committee with other clergy abuse survivors, priests, and staff of the Archdiocese, we reach out to others who have suffered with the hope of easing some of their pain and despair.

We are planning our annual Mass for Hope and Healing, an event created to promote healing for victims-survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their families.  We hope those who join us may lay their sadness and sorrow at the altar, participate in the liturgy, and share the Eucharist.

All are welcome to the Mass for Hope and Healing on October 29, 2016 at Holy Family Church on Roosevelt Road in Chicago.

Mercy Challenge

A spiritual Work of Mercy is to comfort the afflicted. Take a moment this week to pray for victims and survivors of abuse and their families.

Attend the Mass for Hope and Healing and join in prayer with other victims-survivors and their families.

Jim Richter and Michael Hoffman are clergy abuse survivors and are members of the Hope and Healing Committee of the Archdiocese of Chicago.