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Lay Catholic Voices for Change gather to pray

Under the pavilion on Spruce Street, in the cold drizzle, over 30 members from various Catholic churches in the region joined together for their second annual prayer service for the victims of clerical sexual abuse under former Bishop Michael Bransfield. The service was to pray for healing and well-being.

“It’s letting victims know that they’re not forgotten,” said Frances Brownfield, a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

Brownfield added that the prayer service was a way to “channel anger” and to “get some good out of the way they’re feeling.”

The service was part of a movement hosted by Lay Catholic Voices for Change, a religious organization based in Morgantown.

Patricia Schaeffer, member of St. Luke Catholic Church, felt personally compelled to get more involved as someone of the Catholic faith.

“I’m hoping to promote further steps of healing … that they know there are many of us here in support of them that care about them,” Schaeffer said. “It’s a way to help me come to terms with it.”

Tiffany Morgan/The Dominion Post
Several members of Catholic churches around the region gathered for the Lay Catholic Voices for Change prayer service.

The proclamation of Lay Catholic Voices for Change stated, “We will not let this culture of abuse continue to be swept under the rug, silenced and ignored. We will not stand silent. We will let it be known that this is the age when the laity will rise up in the time of deep crisis to help Christ and His Church.

“We cannot let the Church forget that this is unacceptable. We continue to work towards justice and healing. The damage of these sins ripple through generations and it will take many years of prayer, dedication and action to overcome. We work within our diocese by building initiatives and lay involvement and by joining other larger groups to keep a vigilant eye on church leadership.”

Lori Brooks, member of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, said the prayer service gives those of Catholic faith an opportunity to try to understand what the victims went through.

“We’re holding this prayer service so that we can open ourselves to join in the suffering of those who were abused and harassed,” Brooks said. “Through prayer, we open ourselves to the guidance of Jesus to what compassionate actions we need to take to heal.”

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