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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pennsylvanian dioceses are beginning a full year of repentance as survivors and advocates prepare to rally in Harrisburg for statute of limitations reform.

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Bishop David Zubik presided over the holy hour of repentance service at St. Paul Cathedral on Sunday to apologize to victims who were sexually abused by priests.

“You and I are here today to first and foremost open our hearts to those who were betrayed most, to the victims,” Zubik said.

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The Pittsburgh Diocese and other dioceses across the state are beginning a full year of repentance in response to a grand jury report into the Catholic church child sex abuse scandal and alleged cover-ups by church leaders.

“It’s a time for us to recognize the deep hurt that so many people have as a result of the abuse that’s been done to those who have been offended, to the victims and to the survivors,” Zubik said.

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The grand jury investigation names 20 predator priests who worked in Greensburg and 99 in the Pittsburgh Diocese accused of sexual abuse.

The bishop says the year of repentance calls for fasting during the process of healing.

“It’s an opportunity for us to come to receive the strength that god can in fact give us so that we can be an important part of the process of healing,” Zubik said.


Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania issued a statement Friday pledging their support for an independent sex abuse survivors’ compensation program. Zubik responded to the statement, saying the Diocese of Pittsburgh is prepared to cooperate and contribute financially if the legislature creates a compensation program.

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The announcement came ahead of a rally scheduled to take place in Harrisburg on Monday to press lawmakers to approve the grand jury recommendations along with creating a two-year window for victims to file civil lawsuits after the statute of limitations on their cases runs out.