The Archdiocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will hold special services for survivors of sexual abuse in the coming months.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will lead the first service, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri.
“(Sexual abuse) affects people in so many different ways,” says Carrie Cooper, who oversees the office of child and youth protection for the diocese. “Everyone on their journey to recovery is in a different place, so there are some people who may be ready to come to the church, but I’ve talked to others who’ve said, ‘It’s really hard for me to go into a church right now. I don’t know if I can do it.’”
She says the church has learned a lot about handling allegations of priest abuse. The church has hired an independent ombudsman to review all claims after they’re reported to law enforcement.
“We go to the civil authorities and let them handle it the way they’re supposed to. Then the church reviews it after that,” Cooper says.
Cooper says people who don’t feel ready to come tonight can come to a later healing service. A “Jubilee of Mercy” is planned for next summer.
“We want people to know they can come back to the church and receive our support and our help and our prayers,” Cooper says.