Diocesan News

Mass of Hope and Healing Returns After 2-Year Hiatus With Message of Contrition, Promise to Help Abuse Survivors

Bishop Robert Brennan delivers the homily during the Mass of Hope and Healing Thursday, Oct. 13, at Resurrection-Ascension Church in Rego Park, Queens. “I know I still have much to learn,” the bishop said to survivors of abuse in the Church. “Please pray for all of us, that we may respond to God’s call to healing and wholeness.” (Photo: NET-TV)

REGO PARK — The Mass of Hope and Healing returned Thursday, Oct. 13, with a multifaceted message of apology, empathy, and outreach to survivors of sexual abuse in the Church.

The Mass, which was held at Resurrection-Ascension Church, Rego Park, was the first since 2019, before the pandemic began, and was celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan, who came to the Diocese of Brooklyn nearly a year ago.

[RELATED: Bishop Brennan’s Mass of Hope and Healing Homily]

At the time, Bishop Brennan pledged to meet with survivors, hear their stories, address their concerns, and build on earlier efforts in the diocese to help them heal. He renewed that promise during his homily Thursday.

Bishop Brennan, quoting an article he read, said, “The Church should have been a sanctuary for you. I am deeply sorry that it was a place of trauma for you.”

“Indeed, what you suffered is not your fault — not your doing,” he said. “I’m so sorry for that. Truly sorry.”

Bishop Brennan invited survivors and Church faithful to encounter Jesus Christ with pleas to heal wounds of trauma and freedom from guilt and self-loathing that survivors unfairly suffer.

He added hope that Christ would challenge everyone “to look out for one another.”

“We call out to Him,” Bishop Brennan said. “But we call out to One who loves us. The One who shows us the way to tenderness, toward peace, and toward healing.”

Before the benediction, Bishop Brennan asked a favor of the survivors’ community.

“Humbly,” he said, “may I ask for your prayers? That I may learn from you. And I may serve you well.

“I know I still have much to learn, but please, I hope you know that I love you very, very sincerely. I want to do the very best — the very best that we can. So please pray for all of us, that we may respond to God’s call to healing and wholeness.”

Joining Bishop Brennan at the altar was his predecessor, Bishop Emeritus Nicholas DiMarzio, who helped establish the Mass of Hope and Healing in 2015. He concelebrated the Mass, along with Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski.

Twenty-four priests from throughout the diocese attended.

Also in attendance were Maryellen Quinn, director of the Office for Protection of Children and Young People, and Elizabeth Harris, who was recently hired as the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the diocese. Harris is a retired NYPD detective who worked for more than a decade with the Manhattan Child Abuse Squad.

Following the Mass, survivors had the chance to speak with members of the Office for Protection of Children and Young People.

For information, go to the Diocese of Brooklyn’s website and click “Protecting our Children.” 

Anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse within the diocese is encouraged to call the confidential reporting line (888-634-4499). The call connects directly to law enforcement authorities.