Memo to the Faithful of the Diocese of Bathurst

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This memo is a follow-up to my press release of October 28, 2009. In that release, I offered an apology to the victims of Father Lévi Noël and I would like to reiterate it to them: “We profoundly regret that Father Lévi Noël has abused the trust and innocence of young boys. On behalf of the Catholic Church of Bathurst, I want to extend to the victims our most sincere apologies”.

In that October press release, on the recommendation of the Diocesan Committee responsible for the prevention of sexual abuse, I indicated that we would be offering counselling services to the victims. Effectively, those services were organized. Some v ictims from the various regions:  the Acadian Peninsula, Bathurst, Moncton and Montreal have contacted Father Jean-Claude Nadeau, Mr. André Morais or the Diocese. We have found resources in each of these regions and those victims are receiving counselling. This service is ongoing according to the requests and is offered to all victims who have been abused by a priest. This service is offered in strict confidentiality to protect the identity of the victims.

In a collective effort with other Dioceses, we are also establishing recruitment, screening policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all children, youth and vulnerable persons. These procedures will apply to members of the clergy, diocesan and parish employees, as well as, all volunteers in the parishes. This will require an explanation and training sessions, first with the priests and then with the various groups involved in pastoral activities according to their level of commitment. These policies and procedures will be made public by the end of April.

We continue to pray for all victims and their families. We want to do everything possible to further the  protection of children, the young and those who are most vulnerable. We count on the collaboration and goodwill of all employees and volunteers with these more demanding procedures and different verifications that will be in effect in the very near future. It is important that you, as the faithful, are aware of what we are doing since this is a concern for the whole diocese.

We recognize that the road which leads beyond past hurt is long and strenuous. Now that legal procedures concerning Father Lévi Noël are over, we will be able to walk in a spirit of reconciliation and brotherhood with those victims who have expressed such a desire. May the Spirit of healing and truth be our guide.  God’s blessings upon you.