GBPG: Green Bay diocese reaches out to church abuse victims
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Gene Van Asten is thankful the diocese has been practicing what it preaches.
After decades of having nowhere to turn, Van Asten has been getting the help he needs from the diocese the last few years.
Molested as a teenager by a Catholic priest in central Wisconsin, the 66-year-old Van Asten credits the comforting support of Bishop David Ricken and others from the Green Bay diocese for easing the enduring pain.
Ricken for the third straight year led a Prayer Service for Healing at two diocesan churches this week. More than 125 people attended those services, including about 50 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in De Pere on Wednesday night.
The solemn services of more than an hour focus on individuals in need of healing from the Roman Catholic Church, including those who have been sexually abused by clergy.
Ricken offered an apology at the service Wednesday.
"It's nothing you did to deserve this," Ricken told those in the pews. "It's not your fault."
Once the lawyers are out of the way, there has to be more of this continual outreach.