Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik to offer Service of Apology Monday in Oakland

By Tom Davidson
March 20, 2016

Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David A. Zubik.

PITTSBURGH -- On behalf of the Catholic church, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik wants to say "I'm sorry."

They're simple words, and it will be at a simple Service of Apology that starts at 7 p.m. Monday at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland, where Zubik will say them.

"It's to anybody who's felt in their lives that they have been hurt by the church," Zubik said.

It could be for something as simple as harsh words from a priest at confession or being offended by a homily at Mass, or as complex as the lingering hurt rendered by the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, Zubik said.

"I think the element of hurt is determined by the person who feels they have been hurt," he said. "I think one of the biggest damages we do in terms of our relationships with other people is to be presumptive.

"We do have to say it. As human individuals we need to be convinced that someone is really sorry and asking for forgiveness," he said. "There's something in asking for forgiveness that can be very healing on both sides."

The timing of the service is special, as it's happening during this Jubilee Year of Mercy that was designated by Pope Francis. It started Dec. 8 and runs through Nov. 20, following the Catholic liturgical year that governs worship.

"We looked for various ways in which we could make that a heartfelt year for everybody," Zubik said.

This is the second such service Zubik has held since becoming bishop of Pittsburgh in 2007.

The last service was in 2009.

The service is also being held during Holy Week, the time between Palm Sunday and Easter that marks the zenith of the church's beliefs.

"That's the week our full attention is turned to everything Jesus did on the cross," Zubik said.

The crucifixion of Christ was the ultimate act of mercy, he said.

The service will last about 45 minutes, he said. It won't be a Mass or communion service and instead will include scripture readings, prayer, a homily and a candle-lighting ceremony.




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