Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis brings Eucharist to clergy abuse survivors afraid of church Communion

Deborah Scheissl established the program where a fellow survivor could bring the Eucharist to another clergy abuse survivor. Image: Markus Spiske|Unsplash

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis launched a new program to bring the Eucharist to clergy abuse survivors afraid of church Communion. 

According to a report, many survivors are 'hungry' for the Eucharist. Still, they are afraid of the priests due to their trauma. 

Bringing Eucharist at Home

Starting in the fall of 2022, survivors who want the Eucharist will have the option of having a fellow survivor of clerical abuse bring the host to their house. Currently, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of Eucharistic Minister Deborah Scheissl. 

The notion came to her during her time in a church group for abuse victims.

According to The Tablet, Scheissl had previously delivered the Eucharist to the homebound, including Catholics who could not physically, mentally, or spiritually attend Mass.

Scheissl once had a hard time getting to Mass regularly. She struggled to find her place in the Church as an adult survivor of clergy sexual abuse. 

As a result of this healing process, she can now trust others again, but she still has trouble opening up to priests. The man who abused her went to prison and was laicized.

According to Pillar Catholic, because of her background as a Eucharistic minister, she decided that she could bring Communion to other abuse survivors who cannot leave their homes or hospitals.

Scheissl established a new ministry with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in which Communion can be brought to those who have experienced sexual abuse. 

Scheissl is the current minister in charge of administering Communion to the congregation. Other ministers could be hired in the future as the ministry expands. 

She noted that the survivors who minister to other survivors possess a certain kind of empathy and understanding.

Paying $210 Million to 450 Victims of Clergy Abuse

For 450 victims of clerical sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis paid out $210 million in 2018. 

Per The Tablet, employees of religious organizations who have suffered abuse, either at the hands of the archdiocese or dioceses elsewhere, will have access to a new online support group.

Once a month, they host a video conference that focuses on helping victims and survivors move past their experiences.

About the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Founded in 1848, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis can trace its origins back to the first Catholic missions in Minnesota. 

Originally founded in 1850 as a diocese, it was promoted to archdiocese status by the Holy See in 1888, according to the website. 

Established in 1966 as the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, its current boundaries were set in 1957 and include the entire 12-county metropolitan region.

The Catholic population of the archdiocese has grown to almost 720,000 faithful.

Hundreds of clergy, including priests, deacons, and members of the consecrated life, and thousands of lay employees and volunteers serve in the archdiocese's 185 parishes, 91 Catholic schools, and several other ministries.

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