Saturday, December 4, 2021

Women Religious Throughout the Diocese of Gallup Commit Themselves to Prayer in Response to Abuse Crisis

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Suzanne Hammons
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

Religious sisters in the Diocese of Gallup have joined together in a new prayer effort in response to the latest national abuse crisis.

Sr. Pat Bietsch, an executive member of the Diocesan Sisters’ Council, said the council committee decided to issue a public response to the crisis during their September 8th meeting. Bietsch cited the pastoral letter by Bishop James Wall and a national letter from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) as sources of inspiration for the sisters to take action.

“It’s just so grave, and because of the gravity of it, the impact that it’s making on the people of God, the Church, and also our local Church – I certainly got that from Bishop Wall,” Sr. Bietsch said. “And I think the word ‘reparation’, to make reparation for this, so it’s a matter of prayer, to help the Church – it’s our part, because in some ways, there’s not a whole lot we can do. But we can pray.”

In the letter, the Sisters’ Council commits its members to praying a weekly rosary, in community or alone, and welcomes other professed religious, clergy, and the laity to pray the rosary as well.

“In response to the great wound in the Church, the Body of Christ, the members of the Sisters’ Council of the Diocese of Gallup commit themselves to pray the rosary privately or communally on Wednesdays,” the letter opens. “We invite everyone to join us in this Commitment.”

Many of the sisters plan to gather each Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM at the Sacred Heart Retreat Center, located just south of Gallup on Highway 602.

In response to the great wound in the Church, the Body of Christ, the members of the Sisters’ Council of the Diocese of Gallup commit themselves to pray the rosary privately or communally on Wednesdays.

We invite everyone to join us in this Commitment.

By meeting as a group to pray the rosary each Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart Retreat Center, mile marker 27, Highway 602, Gallup or

By meeting as a group to pray the rosary each Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM in the Chapel of Perpetual Adoration at Casa Reina convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph, 711 S. Puerco Drive, Gallup or

You are invited to pray the rosary, or other prayers of your choosing for the above intention.

The Sisters thank you for joining us in prayer for healing in our Church.

Sisters’ Council
Diocese of Gallup

Other religious communities throughout the Diocese immediately welcomed the idea. The Sisters of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph announced their intention to pray the rosary on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM at their Chapel of Perpetual Adoration.

And Sr. Kateri Lovato, OSB, the subprioress of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Desert in Gobernador, NM, told the Voice that the Benedictine nuns at the monastery also include Eucharistic Adoration in their prayers for survivors of abuse.

“Over the last three years, we have specifically included prayers for those involved in abuse,” Sr. Kateri said. “This past year, we pray especially for the Pope, Archbishops, Bishops, Cardinals, clergy, for their holiness. From 5-6 pm during the week, we have Eucharistic Adoration, reciting the Rosary, for the intentions of the latest abuse crisis and especially for Pope Francis, that he be protected by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Per the request of Bishop James Wall, beginning in September we offer a special Mass once a month scheduled through December 2018, ‘…In reparation for the sins of abuse by cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons.’”

Both Sisters offered advice to Catholics who are frustrated and saddened by the abuse crisis.

“All of us, especially the Sisters, that we’re horrified at this. But we stay in the church because our faith is in Jesus Christ. Not necessarily in the human component of the Church – it’s really Jesus. And he didn’t have perfect people either,” said Sr. Bietsch, adding “In the history of the Church, there [are] other times when the Church was purged, and people had to revolutionize their lives.”

“For those who feel hurt or lost, to speak up and get help,” said Sr. Kateri. “Together, we can make a difference, and apart we tend to waste time. Let us pray for those who have suffered, set good examples to others, especially in public. Let us look to the good of the whole Church.”


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