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The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Eighth Annual Prayer Service for Child Abuse Prevention and Pinwheel Planting will take place on Friday, May 3, 2019 at Holy Family Parish

Michael Hoffman, clergy abuse survivor, will provide a reflection at the 11:30 a.m. prayer service

Chicago, IL (April 29, 2019) – The Archdiocese of Chicago’s eighth annual prayer service for child abuse prevention and pinwheel planting will be held at 11:30 a.m., on Friday, May 3, 2019 at the Healing Garden at Holy Family Parish, 1080 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago. The outdoor service will be led by Rev. Michael Gabriel, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Chicago, and will include a reflection from Michael Hoffman, clergy abuse survivor and chairman of the Hope and Healing Committee for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY).  

“We are committed to protecting all children in our schools, parishes, and communities to ensure the archdiocese is a safe place for them,” said Mary Jane Doerr, director of OPCY. “As we gather in prayer, my hope is that together we will raise awareness and inspire healing and light.”

More than 125 students from archdiocesan Catholic schools will participate in prayer and song at the service and pinwheel planting event, including those from St. Mary of the Woods School, St. Ignatius College Prep, St. Sabina Academy, St. John Berchmans School and St. Angela School. As part of the prayer service, students, staff, parishioners and community members will plant pinwheels and tie blue ribbons on to trees in the Healing Garden, both symbols of child abuse prevention.

In 1992, the Archdiocese of Chicago established one of the first offices of Victim Assistance Ministry to provide direct outreach and support to victim-survivors and their families, and created an independent office (now known as the Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review) to receive allegations of abuse of minors by clergy.

In 2003, the Archdiocese of Chicago created OPCY to bring together various ministries within the archdiocese that had been operating to ensure the archdiocese is a safe place for children. These ministries respond to the mandates set forth by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and work together to stay current on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse.

Additionally, through OPCY, schools and parishes provide age-appropriate, research-based training to children and youth enrolled in our schools and parish religious education programs to help them better recognize inappropriate behavior and understand how they should report it to parents and/or caring adults. Over 121,000 students receive safe environment training in Catholic school religious education classes annually.