It all started in a living room with a box of wine. After the news of the Pennsylvania grand jury report broke in 2018, detailing the rape and molestation of more than 1000 children by 300 Pennsylvania priests, as well as the news of Cardinal McCarrick's "open secret" of sexually harassing and abusing seminarians and younger priests, we decided we needed to talk. So we got together with a group of friends to talk about the crises facing our Church. We learned a lot. Among our group were a civil lawyer, a canon lawyer, a woman working in the department of corrections, a mental health therapist, and a seminarian. We all had different perspectives, and we realized that we needed to rethink our approaches to these issues if we are to respond to them in an informed and holistic way.
After that conversation, we decided to have a follow-up meeting. Two of us had read the John Jay report and wanted to share its findings, so we met a week later. As part of that meeting, we decided that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis needed something. So we organized a prayer vigil at the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul. More than 100 young adults came. A week later, we organized a presentation and discussion at the Basilica of St. Mary, again attended by more than 100 young adults.
There is a need here. There is a desire for good information and informed responses. We want to help meet that need and encourage that desire. We have a special focus on the Twin Cities, but we want to help equip and empower Catholics everywhere.
YArespond focuses on providing holistic and informed responses to the clergy abuse crisis and related crises facing the Catholic Church. While our efforts are based in the Twin Cities and our leadership consists of lay Catholic young adults, we seek to provide support and resources for Catholics everywhere. YArespond’s efforts are concentrated in three areas:
1. While we do not engage in ongoing activism, we undertake specific projects for which we believe we are well-situated and which we believe will contribute to promoting transparency, accountability, and healing in the Church.
2. We curate and create resources for Catholics seeking to respond to crises in the Church.
3. When we are not engaged in projects, we host bi-monthly discussions for Catholic young adults interested in education and dialogue, so as to be prepared when a need for a project-based response arises.