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Law's words frame new play

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Spotlight Report

Law calls for a novena

By Douglas Belkin, Globe Staff, 5/10/2002

Cardinal Bernard Law issued a plea yesterday for Catholics and all ''people of goodwill'' to pray for reconciliation and healing for the Catholic Church, acknowledging that the sexual abuse scandal has diminished the church's moral authority, weakened the faith of parishioners, and created mistrust toward church leaders.

Law called for the nine-day novena between Ascension Thursday, when Catholic doctrine states that Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and Pentecost Sunday, when the church teaches that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples.

The period is traditionally a time of prayer when Catholics seek renewed spiritual sustenance.

Calling the scandal grave and the abuse to the victims harmful, Law said a special prayer was intended for individuals to use during the nine-day period, and should be translated into Spanish and Portuguese and distributed as widely as possible ''so that like the disciples of old, the whole Church of Boston can be gathered in prayer begging the Holy Spirit to renew us at this critical time.''

The prayer is as follows:

''Almighty and merciful God, by the power of the Holy Spirit you raised Jesus Christ, your Son, from death and filled him with new and abundant life.

''Then, in accordance with your loving plan, you sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Pentecost, that by his mighty gifts they might be joined to the Risen Lord in his Body, the Church.

''By a fresh outpouring of the Spirit's gifts give new life to the Church in Boston this Pentecost.

''We beg that the Spirit will bring healing to the victims of clergy sexual abuse and their families.

''We pray that the Spirit will warm the hearts of those whose faith has been weakened by this scandal.

''We ask that the Spirit will bestow mercy and repentance on the abusers.

''We earnestly desire that the Spirit will renew and reform the whole Church in the likeness of Christ.

''Fill every member of the Church with holiness so that, working together as the Body of Christ, we might be built up in faith, hope and love in order to proclaim the Gospel with joy.

''We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.''

This story ran on page A40 of the Boston Globe on 5/10/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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