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Catholics pray together in the midst of scandal

Despite the late hour, Deacon David Medeiros of Mary Our Queen Parish in Omaha and his wife, JoAnn, made it a priority to come to Christ the King Church several nights in a row.
 
It was their small sacrifice to join other Catholic faithful to pray for victims of clergy sexual abuse and in support of their church, as Christ the King, also in Omaha, held a Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows from 9 to 10 p.m., Sept. 6-14.
 
On Sept. 13, they joined Father Benjamin Boyd, associate pastor, Deacon Randy Park and about 50 other people for eucharistic adoration and Benediction, and to pray the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows, including reflections on Mary’s seven sorrows and relating them to the current crisis in the church.
 
“At this point in time, the church needs healing, and this is a beautiful way of expressing that healing,” Deacon Medeiros said before the service.
 
“I thought it was really important for us to be here to pray for the community and to pray to help ourselves through this difficult time in the church and our culture,” JoAnn said.
 
Another parish offering opportunities for prayer is St. Francis Borgia in Blair.
 
On Aug. 22, the parish began a weekly novena, titled a Holy Hour of Reparation for Sins Committed by the Clergy Against the Young and Innocent. 
 
“We hope that, by our prayers, we can join with the people throughout the universal church to kick-start a reform of the church’s handling of these issues and prevent abuses in the future,” said Father James Netusil, pastor.
 
The hour-long services at St. Francis include eucharistic adoration and Benediction, prayer, song and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
 
About 90 people attended each of the first four of nine services. Archbishop George J. Lucas joined the faithful and led a portion of the Aug. 28 service, Father Netusil said.
 
And people are invited to attend the remaining novena services – 7 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, Oct. 2, Oct. 9 and Oct. 18.
 
Father Netusil also is making the novena materials available to other parishes and is encouraging priests throughout the archdiocese to plan similar prayer services.
 
John and Marilyn Hannagan of St. Gerald Parish in Omaha also attended the nightly services at Christ the King.
 
“We’ve been very concerned about the sadness and the impact of all the scandals in our Catholic world,” Marilyn said, “and this was a good way to come together with other like-minded Catholics to do something positive about it, that is, to pray to our Blessed Mother. To be in solidarity with each other is very important.”
 
“The church must recognize what needs to be done and see that it gets done by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,” John said. “The bishops need to step forward and open the records and say, ‘Here, please examine what’s happened,’ so that we can move on and do the right thing.” 
 
Jay Spargo, another member of St. Gerald Parish who attended the Sept. 13 service at Christ the King, expressed support for the faithful priests who are also affected by the scandal. Spargo was there with his daughter, Kathleen Bowers of St. Peter Parish in Omaha.
 
“I just pray and will continue praying for our priests and the victims,” he said. “It brings us closer to God, because we all suffer, not only the victims, but the priests – it affects everybody. This is one limited way that I can come and offer my prayers and be here for them.”