Appendix 4 to Derry Report 2006

Greenhill Road, Coleraine, N. Ireland, BT51 3JE

13th February, 2006

Very Rev Dr S. Hegarty
Bishop’s House
St Eugene’s Cathedral
BT48 9AP

Dear Dr Hegarty,

In the Lenten reflection Towards Healing of February 2005, you and your fellow bishops lamented the estrangement of many of those hurt by clerical child sex abuse from their own church, and declared:

“It is a duty on all of us to help people who have suffered abuse to see the face of Jesus in the life of the Christian community. That means that we all need to learn more about the anguish and harm that child abuse causes and about the need for healing in so many lives. We need to make our communities ones in which the journey towards peace and wholeness can be made.”

Our organisation Voice of the Faithful was first established in the USA in 2002 to assume this very duty, and is now responding to your call in your own diocese. We wish also to forward our second objective – that of helping to restore the confidence of our faithful priests.

Certain that we cannot be effective unless we ground ourselves in prayer, we have approached a number of clergy in the diocese with a view to holding prayer vigils interceding for divine support for these healing causes. Their response has been very positive indeed, and we are hoping that you too could now give this course of action your official approval and blessing.

If you would like to meet with us to help guide us in what we propose, we shall be very glad to do so. We feel that the Towards Healing document needs soon to show positive results if it is to be effective in restoring our church’s reputation for compassionate concern for the most unfortunate members of our community, and feel strongly called to respond to this challenge.

Yours sincerely,
Sean O’Conaill
On behalf of the Committee,
Voice of the Faithful (Ulster)