National Catholic Register
April 19, 2019
By Joseph O’Brien
The faithful who entered St. George Church in Guilford, Connecticut, Feb. 16 were met by a scene full of white roses and blue delphiniums filing the church’s interior with their fragrance.
The burst of blooms was a study in contrast to the somber mood of the occasion, as Catholics from around this south-central region of Connecticut were gathering for a “Mass of Reparation” for the victims of sexual abuse.
Picked from the parish’s St. George Healing Garden, which was established by the parish in 2015 for victims of sexual abuse and their families, the church flowers carried a sobering message. As prayer cards handed out for the occasion indicated, white roses symbolize Mary’s sorrow, purity and innocence, while blue delphiniums symbolize protection and a striving for something greater and more important.
On this day, Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford came to St. George’s to celebrate the second of three Masses of reparation for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Along with two auxiliary bishops, Archbishop Blair celebrated the three Masses in three distinct locales of the archdiocese: St. Bartholomew Church in Manchester, east of the centrally located diocesan see, Jan. 27; at St. George’s in the south the following month; and, most recently, March 26 in the western part of the archdiocese at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Harwinton (which, with its sister church, Immaculate Conception, in New Hartford, composes Our Lady of Hope parish).
The three Masses were announced in a Jan. 2 letter by Archbishop Blair, almost three weeks before the archdiocese’s Jan. 22 release of the names of 36 archdiocese clergy (23 deceased), six religious order priests and six priests from other dioceses working in the diocese who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor since 1953. Of the priests named, 23 are deceased and none are in active ministry. None of the abuse cases took place during Archbishop Blair’s appointment.
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