Bishop David Zubik asked clergy members in the Pittsburgh Diocese to participate in a Year of Repentance. The announcment came one month after a state grand jury report alleged widespread child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
“We’ve always been taught to ask for forgiveness from both God and neighbor,” said Father Tom Kunz, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. “And so this year repentance is directed first at the clergy of our diocese and asking first from God and our neighbor for forgiveness from those who have committed crimes and sins against children.”
Kunz said that the idea for the Year of Repentance came from Bishop Zubik, as well as priests and deacons in the Pittsburgh diocese who collectively felt the need to address the report.
Clergy within the diocese will fast Sept. 19, 21 and 22 in observance of Ember Days, seasonal periods throughout the year often marked by deep prayer and fasting. Zubik asks that clergy abstain from meat and observe an hour of prayer before Mass.
The bishop invited all Catholics to join the clergy in observing the ritual. Services begin Sept. 23 at Saint Paul Cathedral in Oakland.