Mundelein Seminary to conduct special Masses for healing amid global sexual abuse crisis

Special services in response to sex abuse crisis in Catholic Church

 
 
Updated 8/31/2018 8:06 PM
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  • John Kartje

    John Kartje

Mundelein Seminary is organizing a series of special Masses at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

The Masses, running from Friday, Sept. 7, through Saturday, Sept. 15, were prompted by a general call for healing from lay Catholics and priests alike seeking to express their collective pain and sorrow for those who have suffered abuse at the hands of priests over decades, said the Rev. John Kartje, rector of Mundelein Seminary.

"In the midst of the anger and the outrage, we do hear a lot of calls for action and what can we do in terms of retribution," Kartje said. "This is primarily a deep spiritual wounding. ... It's the result of sinful choices. And if there is a sign of hope, it's always going to be grounded in faith and prayer. This prayerful response to the crisis serves as a powerful witness of the hope we find in our faith, even in the darkest times."

The novena is an ancient form of prayer representing Jesus' request for the Apostles to pray for nine days after he ascended to heaven, Kartje said.

Masses will be celebrated at nine sites chosen to represent the demographic diversity and geographically spread throughout the Chicago archdiocese. The first Mass is at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, 1000 E. Maple Ave., Mundelein. Parking is limited, and online registration is required at bit.ly/novena-mass.

All Chicago-area priests receive their training at Mundelein Seminary, which teaches about 200 seminarians over six years at any given time.

"If healing is going to come, it is going to be the working of the (Holy Spirit) throughout the entire diocese," Kartje said. "They were all extremely eager to participate in this. I found that to be very heartening ... to have a solidarity in this process.

"One overarching destructive element of this crisis is that there is a temptation to isolation. It's not just about us as humans. It's about how Christ is present in our midst. That's the glue that really holds us together. Now, more than ever, we need to reground ourselves in our faith."

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will celebrate the final Mass, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at Holy Name Cathedral, 730 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago.

All Masses are open to the public. Opening and closing Masses will be livestreamed on the seminary's website at usml.edu.

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