The Lent of 2011 has been like no other in memory for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The crisis that exploded in February preceded the start of Lent by a matter of days.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, at least judging by the comments received by The Catholic Standard & Times, the faithful Catholics of the Archdiocese have expressed strong feelings undergirded by what is evidently a still-strong faith in our Lord. Comments of anger and disillusionment have given way, largely, to words of prayer and a desire for healing. {{more}}

This Holy Week Christians throughout the world enter the three-day period we call the sacred triduum: holy Thursday, Good Friday and holy Saturday. These three days may be considered as one moment – a single unfolding mystery in which the Church celebrates the suffering and death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

As Catholics entering this paschal mystery on holy Thursday, we also bring to prayer the crisis of this time and place. Below is a prayer developed for this purpose in conjunction with the recent archdiocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by Cardinal Justin Rigali. The video presentation of it appears online at

Almighty Father, we come before you in your crucified and risen Son.

We take our place in the Upper Room.

Listen to our pleas and intercessions for all our priests who are called to imitate in their lives the mystery of the cross celebrated in the Holy Eucharist.

Strengthen them in holiness for service to your people.

We take our place on Calvary.

Hear our prayers and petitions in your mercy for all victims of child sexual abuse who in their innocence and vulnerability are like your Son, the spanine victim of evil and injustice.

Comfort them as we stand with them at the foot of the cross.

We take our place at the empty tomb.

Receive our humble prayer for all your holy people in the Archdiocese, who with faith-filled hearts count on the power flowing from the cross and look to the resurrection in the hope of a new dawn.

May this Paschal event of Jesus, which we celebrate and live, take away our fears and doubts, our anguish and pain, draw us more intimately into your abiding love and fill us with Easter joy.