I ask that you take the time to read this important message regarding the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
The Archdiocese of Hartford has joined many dioceses throughout the country in publishing the names of clergy members credibly accused or convicted of this heinous crime since the formation of the Archdiocese in 1953. It is important to note that NO priest, deacon or Archdiocesan employee credibly accused or convicted is currently serving in any capacity within the Archdiocese of Hartford.
This list and other vital information, which can be found on the Archdiocesan website: archdioceseofhartford.org, is comprehensive to date. There is one name that will hit home with many parishioners since he served at Saint Gabriel Church from 1983-1990; that name is Edward Hyland. He was removed from ministry in 2002 and laicized (meaning he is no longer recognized as a priest) in 2016. For many of us, including me, it is difficult to fathom that an individual would take advantage of any young and innocent person. The lasting effects of such a sinful act go beyond our comprehension. I join with Archbishop Blair in asking forgiveness for all affected by the sexual abuse of clergy.
While no one can take away the indelible marks of pain that abuse of this type causes, we should look to both the present and the future. It goes unmentioned that the Catholic Church in the United States is currently one of the safest places for minors and vulnerable adults. Since 2002, the Church has taken many concrete steps in order that crimes such as these will not happen again. Every priest, deacon, and volunteer must submit to a criminal background check and undergo training on maintaining a safe environment. Every child in our Catholic schools and Religious Education programs is educated through the LURES program on protecting themselves. Seminarians undergo rigorous psychological screening. Clergy receive continuing education in order to prevent future abuse.
Sexual abuse is a societal problem. Everyone needs to be vigilant in order to protect the youth of our society. Victims should never feel shame or guilt for the sins of another. Victims should be encouraged to report these matters to the proper authorities so that justice might be served.
I ask that you continue to join me in prayer for the victims of abuse. We also pray, that through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, abuse of this type will never take place again.
Sincerely in Christ,
Saint Damien of Molokai Parish Team