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Abuse survivors remembered at Edmund Rice Bicentenary Mass

Sunday's Edmund Rice Bicentenary Mass in Dublin celebrated the flourishing of the spirit of the Christian Brothers' founder, but also acknowledged the hurt and abuse perpetrated by some Brothers.

"These are difficult times for our Congregations and for our Church," said homilist Fr Dan O'Connor of the Education Secretariat of the Dublin Archdiocese. "But let us not forget the intense suffering of those who have experienced abuse, nor the challenges we face in bringing about healing and reconciliation."

The Mass took place at the conclusion of the weekend's International Bicentennial Conference organised to mark the founding by Blessed Edmund Rice of the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers. The conference, entitled Share the Vision, offered those in the wider network the opportunity to reflect on the current work of both congregations and explore options regarding the future directions of the worldwide Edmund Rice mission.

Australian Sacred Heart missionary Fr Frank Andersen delivered the keynote address at the conference, which was co-coordinated by another Australian, Br Daryl Barclay.

In his Mass introduction, Br Barclay acknowledged the hurt and abuse perpetrated by some Brothers.

He said: "We accept with deep sorrow the painful fact that some who joined our ranks, also betrayed the vision of Edmund Rice in the most offensive of ways. We reiterate today our apologies to the survivors of child abuse."

The main celebrant was Dublin Archbishop Cardinal Desmond Connell. Alleged victims of abuse by Christian Brothers, who protested outside the Mass, called for Cardinal Connell's resignation.

The Irish Times 8/4/02

International Bicentennial Committee

10 Apr 2002