Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Abuse survivor to speak during Divine Mercy Sunday observance

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the April 12, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

On Divine Mercy Sunday – the Octave of Easter – St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane, will be celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday from a unique perspective.

Said the pastor, Father Dan Barnett, Divine Mercy Sunday “We are invited to contemplate the mercy of God which is powerful enough to raise the dead, and to share that mercy with others.”

April 15 at St. Francis Xavier will see evidence of a journey of hope and the potential of healing.

Kathleen (Stroschein) Hinton, a survivor of abuse, will speak on “Forgiveness as the Path to Hope.” The presentation will be appropriate for all ages, said Father Barnett.

Besides honoring Divine Mercy Sunday, the parish is celebrating its centennial. Through grace, God “has allowed us (as a parish) to achieve many great things … yet it is also true that there has been much pain and suffering – some of which was caused by sin.” Some of that sin involved sexual abuse of children in the school in the 1980s, abuse that “left deep wounds not only in the bodies, minds, and souls of those children, but on those of their parents and families as well.”

The afternoon’s observance will begin with Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 1 p.m. Priests will be available to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation until 3 p.m., when Hinton, one of those abused at the school, will speak, and the congregation will sing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Benediction is scheduled for 4 p.m., followed by a reception in the school auditorium.

“This is part of the jubilee celebration of our parish,” said Father Barnett. As Pope John Paul II did for the Millennium Jubilee, “when he asked for forgiveness for the sins of the sons and daughters of the Church,” Father Barnett also will apologize and ask for forgiveness.

“It is important to address both the good and the pain” of the parish, he said. The abuse “has been a particular source of pain. This young woman, through her testimony, provides hope for healing,” he said.

The focus of Divine Mercy Sunday is not just on receiving mercy, but on sharing it. “That’s one of the greatest gifts of Easter,” he said; “God’s love for us, to go out and give it to others. We have to ask for, and give, real forgiveness,” even when that sometimes seems impossible. “If we are to be who we are (as Church), we have to address that.”

St. Francis Xavier is located at 545 E. Providence in Spokane.

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