Bishop Richard Pates is inviting all 80 parishes and 17 schools in the Diocese of Des Moines to set aside the four Fridays of September – the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th – as special days for the faithful to enter into prayer and fasting in reparation for the sexual abuse of children.
The bishop suggests parishes may bolster their prayer and fasting with Eucharistic adoration through a holy hour and penitential prayer service. He will lead a holy hour and penitential prayer service on Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral.
The call for these special days comes in response to Pope Francis’s Aug. 20 letter addressing the atrocities of abuse detailed in a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. “The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way,” wrote Pope Francis. “Today, we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit.”
The pope asked the entire Church to take a “position of penance and prayer that will help us to open our eyes and hearts to other people’s suffering…open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled…and a fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will.”
Bishop Pates made several prayer suggestions to parishes including praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary each Friday, having a quiet hour each Friday in homes, and more. His letter, prayer suggestions, and suggested penitential service information can be found at https://www.dmdiocese.org/victim-assistance