Renewal begins with prayer Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

Renewal of the Catholic Church in the wake of the sexual abuse scandals must start with prayer.

That’s what the leaders of the Knights of Columbus said in promoting a “Novena for Repentance, Renewal, and Rebuilding” in response to the recent Vatican summit on child protection and the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

Nine-day novena

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, supreme chaplain, asked their brother Knights and families to pray a nine-day novena from February 20 to 28. It can be found on the Knights’ website at

“We must stand in solidarity with our priests and bishops and join them and lay Catholics in forging a path of renewal and fraternity that puts Christ at the center. Only then can actions to be taken to end this scourge,” they said. “This effort must start with prayer. Prayer must guide and inform the bishops’ meeting in Rome and the urgent renewal needed in dioceses and parishes around the world.”

I checked out the novena, and each day includes a Scripture reading and a prayer for the intentions of victim-survivors, bishops, priests, seminarians, and for strengthening the Church, along with an “Our Father,” a “Hail Mary,” a “Glory Be,” and a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Even though the prescribed dates are coming to an end, I would suggest people might consider praying this novena during Lent.

More needs to be done

Although the summit has concluded, much more work remains to deal with the issue of sexual abuse in the Church and society. As Pope Francis said, “We want every activity and every place in the Church to be completely safe for minors,” which means taking every possible measure so that such crimes never happen again.

The Holy Father said that despite knowing the sociological and psychological explanations behind abuse, the Church must also recognize this is a spiritual battle against the “brazen, aggressive, destructive” power of Satan.

That is why prayer must be a key ingredient in our efforts to deal with the evil of sexual abuse now and in the future.