In response to the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic community at this time, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is calling for prayers and inviting everyone to join a prayer vigil on Friday, Sept. 14 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.

“Have Mercy on Us, O Lord: A Prayer Vigil of Reparation and Petition” is an invitation to fasting and prayer on the Catholic feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

The seven-hour period of prayer in which people may participate throughout the night will begin at 5 p.m. with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

A “holy hour of reparation” begins at 7 p.m. and private devotion will continue until the concluding benediction at 12 midnight.

According to information from the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship, all are invited to the vigil in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament “to ask for his mercy upon his church in this moment of profound crisis.”

“We come to make reparation for our own sins and those of our bishops and priests,” read a flyer announcing the vigil. “We come also in confident hope that from Christ’s super-abounding mercy will come the purification, healing and restoration of holiness for which we long.”


The office’s flyer indicated the prayers are in reparation for “all sins of sexual abuse and sexual immorality, especially by members of the Catholic clergy; all sins of cowardice, deception, sloth and self-protection, especially among those in positions of authority in the church; our collective indifference to Christ’s teachings on human sexuality; (and) all forms of scandal and infidelity, including our own personal sins, through which we have been an obstacle to others finding God.”

Prayers will also seek God’s graces, according to the flyer, of “healing for the victims of sexual abuse; purgation of the church from all evil; rooting out of all compromise, infidelity and lukewarmness in our own lives and in those of our bishops and priests; (and) new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to set the church aflame with radical holiness, fidelity and zeal for the Gospel.”