Cardinal Francis George offered a message of healing Saturday to survivors of clergy sexual abuse at the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Mass of Atonement and Hope.
George praised the work of the archdiocese’s Office for the Protection of Children & Youth, as well as survivors, their families and victims’ advocates for their efforts to “bring good out of evil.”
He told the crowd of 60 people that the church’s mission to help survivors is not complete without earning back the trust of families and communities impacted by abuse.
George, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, is also suffering from a painful cellulitis infection in his right foot and used crutches at times to walk. He remained seated throughout his 7-minute homily at the Holy Family Catholic Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd.
George did not speak about his health, but a prayer offered during the service asked “that the Lord’s healing spirit fill and comfort him in the days ahead.”
After Mass the congregation was invited to walk though the parish’s healing garden, an area opened in 2011 and intended as a place of peace for abuse survivors. Volunteers also handed out pinwheels, a symbol of sexual abuse prevention.