Bishop Hopes 'Healing Mass' Will Help Cure Wounds Of Past Abuse

Bishop Hopes 'Healing Mass' Will Help Cure Wounds Of Past Abuse

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They're trying to clean and dress the wounds they caused.

Thousands of cases of sexual abuses by members of Catholic clergy have come to light over the past few decades.

To help heal those wounds, Bishop Terry LaValley of the Diocese of Ogdensburg says he's taking cues from Pope Francis, who calls for the Catholic Church to be a field hospital for those who are hurting.

"How can this local field hospital, really, tend to the wounds that the church itself has inflicted upon our own?"

One way: Bishop LaValley is presiding over a special "Healing Mass."

"It's the Mass, but the Mass with the focus of Divine mercy, and our own sinfulness, and our own failings," he said.

According to, from 1950 to 2004, 37 minors were abused in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, which covers eight counties in northern New York.

Nothing can change the past, but the Bishop says the church wants to restore people's faith.

"We can't ever make a person whole again," he said. "We want to be about the business of not allowing that to disable one's future, to the extent that they find no hope, or their faith is fractured to the point that there is none."

The Healing Mass is at St. Mary's Cathedral in Ogdensburg at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Bishop LaValley says he hopes other churches in the diocese will open their doors as field hospitals this weekend as well. 

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