Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc.
9 Kinsman Place
Natick, Massachusetts  01760-2732
(508) 650-1811
Fax (508) 650-3621
 

                                  Annual Report 2002

    

In January of 2002, with the work of the Spotlight Team of the Boston Globe investigation into Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston, the "other shoe dropped" (so-to-speak) for the Pastoral Response Assistance Team [PRAT].  The public became conscious of much of what we already knew, and now we all became increasingly aware of the vastness of the problem.

As the days went on a flood of information, revealing just how enormous the problem was, unfolded before the public.

In some ways PRAT had been seemingly shoveling against the tide in dealing with this issue for almost a decade.  Many of the individual victims and parishes that we have been working with for years, in trying to address the problem head-on, were themselves feeling lied to, and re-victimized, as day-after-day and story-after-story revealed how little had been done to address the issue, despite our best efforts.

As has been our policy from day-one, we have continued to reach out to victims of clergy abuse "wherever they are".  We have continued to receive calls from all over the state and the country, and have talked with victims in many forums.  We supported the efforts of groups such as SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), and the newly established Coalition for Concerned Catholics, but there remained victims who felt that they could not reach out to these kind of groups for a variety of reasons including fear that they would be able to pulled into the public eye and the controversy, which they were unable to do.

As has also been our policy, we talk with anyone who wants to talk with us, in whatever forum.  This has included the press at both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, as well as other local newspapers and cable television.  Sister Katherine and Tom Carr appeared on a segment of an hour-long show produced by New England Cable News Network and shown all over New England on April 17, 2002.

We have also been consulted by other professionals, law enforcement and clergy as they struggle to understand some of the issues.  We continued to try and work with the archdiocese to no avail.  In February 2002, we made ourselves known to the committee, chaired by Dr. Michael Collins, and appointed by Cardinal Law to deal with the crisis.

We attended several meetings hosted by the Voice of the Faithful and the Coalition for Concerned Catholics in the early months, PRAT also attended "listening sessions" at several parishes.

While the Pastoral Response Assistance Team fully supports the work of VOTF, and attended their conference in July, and many other VOTF forums, we felt it was necessary to retain our long held independence.

Over the past year we did presentations at several parishes including Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, in the Fall River Diocese (April), and St. Martha’s in East Providence, Rhode Island (May).

We returned to St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Woburn, Massachusetts where we had worked in 1994-95, to help with a forum which took place there, in May.  That Parish still struggles with issues caused by the still unresolved case of Father Paul Manning, which in 1994 lead to a Dateline television expose.  We also conducted a presentation, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in East Boston, in August.  A former priest there had been charged with abuse.  We also did a talk for the local Chapter of VOTF, at St. Eulalia’s in Winchester, in December.  Their Pastor was on leave after an accusation of past abuse had been made.

Over the summer of 2002, we put our limited resources together to develop a program with Merrimack College entitled Developing a Pastoral Response to Sexual Abuse in the Church, which was delivered in a day long presentation which took place on October 26, 2002, at the college.

Speaking of resources, we continue to work mainly on the generosity and time of our volunteers;

Our income for 2002 was $3,922.70

Our expenses were $3,862.00

Our Current bank account has a total of $192.92

Most of our expenses went to printing costs for the various workshops and presentations.  We did purchase a banner this year, which we used on several occasions including our march with VOTF, and various groups, at a candle light vigil in October of 2002, outside the Cardinal’s residence in Brighton.

We would particularly like to thank this year the following people for their time and generosity: Peter Burke, Melinda Carr, Shaun Greenwood, Jack Hagenbuch L.I.C.S.W., Mary Lyons, Tim O’Connell Esq., Jane O’Conner M.Ed., and Ann Whittier.  We would also like to give a special thank you to Will Carr for his work on the Website.  We would like to thank Terry McKiernan of VOTF for all his kindness, and to VOTF for their advertising the Merrimack Conference.

Last, but not least to President Richard Santgati and Dr. Joe Kelley of Merrimack College.

The next annual meeting is April 20, 2003.

Our goals include development of the Board of Directors, and to host a national conference on the issue of Clergy Sexual Abuse.