Archdiocese schedules day of prayer for abuse victims

Tuesday, August 13th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma City Archdiocese is planning a day of prayer and fasting Wednesday for abuse victims.

The event is in response to a call for spiritual action at the June meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Archbishops. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran sent letters to priests in the archdiocese's 72 parishes about the designated day of atonement.

``Bishops said there should be some sort of public prayer for victims, priests, ordinary Catholics,'' said the Rev. Ed Weisenburger, archdiocese spokesman.

He said Wednesday's event is a response to the ``abuse of minors crisis.''

Weisenburger said the archbishop chose Wednesday because it is a day before a holy day of obligation _ the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

``I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of bishops are choosing this time,'' Weisenburger said.

The archdiocese is cooperating with background checks of all priests, deacons, school teachers and regular volunteers. It also has conducted seminars for priests and others who work with youths.

The archdiocese created a pastoral response hot line for people who claim they were abused by a priest.

``I think what's undergirding this is that we are doing the FBI background checks and other professional and concrete endeavors,'' Weisenburger said. ``We are doing all those appropriate, secular responses but we also must respond as Christians, which is to respond in prayer.''

Roman Catholics in the Oklahoma City Archdiocese are asked not to eat or drink something they normally consume. They also are asked to perform an act of charity or kindness in observance of the day.