Bishop Salvatore R. Matano has asked that a day of penance by priests be observed by all clergy in the Diocese of Rochester in union with him on Sept. 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Bishop Matano called for the day of penance in response to Pope Francis’ Aug. 20 Letter to the People of God, in which the faithful were invited to prayer and penance in light of new reports of clerical sexual abuse of minors. Also on Aug. 20, Bishop Matano issued a letter to the faithful, in which he addressed the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing clerical sexual abuse of minors and reports concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
“I ask that as we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on that day (Sept. 14), we plead the Lord’s mercy for the grave offences committed and remember especially the innocent victims of clergy sexual abuse, the faith of our people, the purification of the Church and the renewal of the clergy,” Bishop Matano said in a Sept. 5 statement regarding the day of penance. “On this day and in all the days that follow, we must ask the Lord to grant us healing, reconciliation and conversion of heart. I ask that you extend an invitation to the faithful to attend these Masses, as we unite the sufferings of the victims, Church and all God’s people to the one perfect sacrifice of Calvary, where the heart of Christ visibly embraced humanity.”
The bishop has encouraged parishes to provide opportunities on Sept. 14 for adoration, the sacrament of reconciliation, or praying other devotions such as the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or the Stations of the Cross.
The bishop also has asked priests to remember each other in prayer, that the Lord strengthen their resolve to serve God’s people faithfully so that their priestly ministry may help heal his people, restore their trust and they be uplifted “by our own personal examples of priestly commitment.”