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An Open Letter to Parish Voices Regarding the
Hearing the Stories Program
Prepared by VOTF Working Group on Survivors' Issues     


Dear Parish Voice:

Please consider asking a survivor of clerical sexual abuse to address your parish. As a starting point, read the Hearing the Stories document that follows this letter.

Hearing the Stories offers two different formats that bring the voices of survivors into the parish:

1) The PLENARY AGENDA provides a model that allows your individual parish to address Goal #1 together and to begin the journey of understanding the plight of survivors of clergy sexual abuse. It also provides an opportunity for a survivor speaker to explain briefly her/his experience to your group during a plenary meeting.

2) The SPEAKER SESSION is a stand-alone program devoted entirely to understanding the issue of sexual abuse by clergy. ("I think this is a tremendous format for educating the public about the scandal. Informing people first-hand is so much more powerful than anything that is seen on the news." John Sacco, The Linkup)

The survivors come to share their painful experiences of sexually abusive power and betrayal. It is a time of pain, grief and truth. ("Look at me, listen to our stories and let yourself be horrified.... And never let this happen to another child!" Ann Hagan Webb, SNAP)

We know these presentations will be powerful, educational, and transformative both to the individual and the community as you are responding to the crisis in the Catholic Church. Please contact Marge Bean at 781-648-4646 (margebean@cs.com), Betty McGee at 781-894-0186, or Lynne Pollino at 781-237-7276 if you are interested in having a speaker come to your meeting or parish.

Respectfully submitted,
VOTF Working Group on Survivors' Issues


Read Hearing the Stories Program





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