By Liz Sullivan
For the Diocese of San Jose, it is the beginning to what is hopefully a path to healing.
On September 22, at Our Lady of Rosary Hall in Palo Alto, Bishop McGrath convened the first of four Listening Sessions. About 70 people attended.
These sessions seek input from people in the pews on the pathway to reform, listening to those who have been victimized by clerical sexual abuse either directly or in their families.
On October 2, with 90 people attending at Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose, Bishop McGrath convened the second listening session.
Bishop McGrath was joined at both sessions by Anthony Gonzalez, Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (OPCVA), and Griselda Cervantez, Victim Assistance Coordinator and Prevention Advocate (OPCVA) who provided assistance to anyone in the audience.
“I am very grateful for the honesty put forth by the people here today,” said the Bishop after the first listening session. “I learned a lot. To me this is a very good beginning. I hope it leads us to see healing in the Church. I am anxious for the remaining listening sessions to take place, so I can learn more.
In addition, the Bishop announced that in mid-October the Diocese will release the names and status of every priest who has already been found to be credibly accused of abusing minors within the Diocese of San Jose.
Also, the Diocese has retained the services of former FBI Executive Assistant Director, Dr. Kathleen McChesney, and her firm, Kinsale Management Consulting, to oversee an in-depth independent review of all personnel records of priests regarding the sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults committed by any cleric appointed by the Diocesan Bishop to serve in the Diocese.
This investigation is expected to begin in early November and the Diocese expects a full report by the end of the year to publish.
Based on the request from the Saint Martin of Tours Parish community, the Bishop has added an additional listening session on October 12 at Saint Martin of Tours, 7 p.m.
The final listening session will be October 17, 3 p.m., at Santa Teresa Parish in San Jose.
“People have lost faith in the institution. I’m hoping they have not lost faith in Jesus, the Christ. And that’s what I pray for,” Bishop McGrath said after the second Listening Session. “So, yes, it is a long road ahead, but this I hope will be the beginning of that long journey.”