Novena to conclude with Brighton procession

BRIGHTON — The novena to the Holy Spirit, meant to promote healing from the clergy abuse crisis and renewal of the archdiocese, will conclude on June 3 with a procession and Mass in Brighton. Participants will gather in front of the chancery building at 6:30 p.m. and process past St. John’s Seminary on their way to St. Columbkille Parish where Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley will celebrate Mass on the Vigil of Pentecost.

As on each of the other evenings, a survivor of sexual abuse will share a personal testimony at the beginning of the evening, followed by a time of prayer. Then the cardinal will lead those gathered to St. John’s Seminary where there will be a second time of prayer.

Barbara Thorp, director of the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, encouraged those planning to attend to park at St. Columbkille’s. Buses will be available to bring people to the chancery, and those who are unable to participate in the procession will be able to take those busses back to St. Columbkille’s, she said.

The novena ends at the chancery, the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Boston, to acknowledge in a particular way the failures in leadership. Both the actions and inaction of bishops and other leaders allowed the abuse to go unaddressed for so many years, she said.

“It’s an important end to our novena and our pilgrimage to gather at the chancery,” she added.

So far the novena has been “very moving” and events have been well attended, said Thorp. Many survivors and their family members as well as parishioners and others from throughout the archdiocese have participated.

“It’s a very important moment for us to come truly penitent before God to acknowledge the gravity of the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children that was perpetrated by clergy and other Church workers,” she said.

The abuse has been so significant that it calls for a public and personal response. That is why this novena is meant to acknowledge the terrible events as well as ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, she added.

“That’s where our hope is,” Thorp said. “That will provide us with the help and the gifts that we need to truly be the people He has called us to be.”