On Wednesday August 29, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s student body, faculty and staff came together for a holy hour of reparation for the sins of abusive clergy of the Catholic Church and for the healing of their victims. This hour of heartfelt prayer and adoration was led by the Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, at 3 p.m. in the hour of mercy.
Christ the King Chapel was filled with a cloud of sweetly scented incense, as voices singing Psalm 103 filled the chapel: “Loving and forgiving are you, O Lord; slow to anger, rich in kindness, loving and forgiving are you.”
After students and faculty poured out their hearts in“O Salutaris Hostia” before the Blessed Sacrament, Sheridan led the congregation in the sorrowful mysteries of the holy rosary.
The Rev. Nathan Malavolti, TOR, gave a moving reflection about the infinite love and mercy of God despite the weakness of man and the Catholic Church’s role as a holy institution on earth. After some moments of silent prayer and the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the friars processed out, and the congregation reverently exited the chapel.
Participants saw this holy hour as a unique event because the university chose to prayerfully unite despite the fear and doubt sweeping across religious and lay alike. “It was beautiful to witness the powerful sense of community,” said freshman Theresa Uhlenkott. “Something really bad happened, and not only are we all willing to immediately hit our knees, but we’re willing todo so publicly.”
“The (victims) need all the prayers they can get,” said John Brotherhood, a sophomore who attended the holy hour. “We need to unite ourselves with them spiritually and be with them in the battle against this evil.”May the prayers and penance of the students and faculty at the university continue to atone for the sins of the clergy and heal their victims.