Nearly 600 people of faith attended a Day of Reparation & Healing; a Path to Hope at St. Leo the Great Parish on Friday, Sept. 7. This collaborative effort initiated by the parish with the North Eastern Vicariate was a spiritual response to the current sex abuse scandal in the Diocese of Buffalo and in the Church. Fourteen priests were present throughout the day either as confessors or concelebrating Mass with St. Leo the Great's pastor, Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel, STD, as celebrant and homilist. "The day was designed to reach out and touch many in need of comfort and healing during these emotionally difficult days," said Msgr. Zapfel.
As it was First Friday, Eucharistic Adoration was offered throughout the day with Father Matt Nycz, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Kenmore, and the Ladies of the Lord from St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville, who led the chaplet of Divine Mercy during the 3 o'clock Hour of Mercy. The Queen of Peace Healing Ministry from St. Pius X Church led healing prayers and the Stations of the Cross while Msgr. Zapfel offered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The Sorrowful Mysteries of Mercy were recited by the rosary group from St. Stephen Parish on Grand Island followed by a Mass of healing with organist Gail Shepherd from SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Williamsville and cantor Melissa Herr from St. Leo the Great Church.
Following Mass, a candlelight procession was made to the statue of the Blessed Mother in honor of her nativity, invoking her intercession as mother of priests and mother of the Church. The diocesan consecrated virgin, Kate Hahn, carried the statue of Our Lady of Fatima as a reminder of Our Lady's message to pray for reparation of sins and conversion of sinners.
Msgr. Zapfel said, "I received many comments from those in attendance who expressed how much the day of prayer meant to them and their Catholic faith. They were at a loss as to how to respond to the current climate in the Church. As I listened I gave thanks for God, for this was precisely our intention in providing this spiritual outreach for God's people: to bring consolation, healing and hope. Our prayers were for those victimized, those who hurt others, for priests and our bishop. We came together as God's faithful to pray to God for His mercy, to comfort the sorrowful and implore the Blessed Mother's unwavering and maternal protection as the Church works for deep renewal." Yellow roses were brought up to the outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother by the MOMS ministry from St. Greg's as a sign of reparation and penance.