Liberty Twp. church offers discussion series in wake of sex abuse allegations of its former pastor

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Father Geoff Drew, a Catholic priest who is facing child rape charges in Hamilton County, was investigated earlier this month for alleged inappropriate behavior in Montgomery County, according to the prosecutor?€™s office.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

St. Maximilian Kolbe is offering this weekend to parishioners a “short, yet powerful book” after each mass in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving a former pastor of the Liberty Twp. parish.

Father Jim Riehle is establishing a series of Discussion and Holy Hour for Healing sessions.

In a message to parishioners, Riehle wrote the book “addresses so much of the struggle, the pain, and the anger surrounding the evil of sexual abuse and the stain this has left on our church.”

“I know that one book is not going to ‘solve’ the crisis or answer everyone’s questions. Nor is this book some sort of defense against the terrible evil done by some priests and bishops,” he wrote.

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• ARCHBISHOP: Matter of priest who served in Liberty Twp. handled ‘very, very poorly’  

Caption
Hundreds of parishioners came to the St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic Church in Liberty Twp. on Tuesday evening to hear the leader of the Cincinnati Archdiocese explain why a longtime pastor of the church was recently suspended. Members nearly filled every pew in the massive church with many lining up to question the handling of allegations against their former pastor, the Rev. Geoff Drew. (Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)

Hundreds of parishioners came to the St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic Church in Liberty Twp. on Tuesday evening to hear the leader of the Cincinnati Archdiocese explain why a longtime pastor of the church was recently suspended. Members nearly filled every pew in the massive church with many lining up to question the handling of allegations against their former pastor, the Rev. Geoff Drew. (Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)
Caption
Hundreds of parishioners came to the St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic Church in Liberty Twp. on Tuesday evening to hear the leader of the Cincinnati Archdiocese explain why a longtime pastor of the church was recently suspended. Members nearly filled every pew in the massive church with many lining up to question the handling of allegations against their former pastor, the Rev. Geoff Drew. (Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)

Former Pastor Geoff Drew was indicted on Aug. 19 in Hamilton County on nine counts of raping a boy who recently came forward in the wake of other allegations.

Investigations into Drew’s past behavior — including being ordered into counseling this past May — came to light when drew was suspended in July 23. Drew was a one-time pastor at the parish on Hamilton-Mason Road.

>> RELATED: Former Butler County priest indicted on rape charges in Hamilton County

The book, “Letter to a Suffering Church” by Bishop Robert Barron, directly addresses the issues currently facing the church, wrote Riehle.

Riehle said said he’s “encouraging” parishioners read the book “because I believe it addresses important and difficult topics” and hopes it will spark a conversation. He also hopes the book at the ensuing discussions will be “a small, first step towards the peace and healing and change that we all desire.”

“The idea for these gatherings is mostly to come together, to ask the tough questions, to talk through things together, to hear from others,” he said. “It will also be a much needed time to pray together.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Officials from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati held a news conference on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, regarding suspended priest Geoff Drew, who once was assigned to a Liberty Twp. church.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Discussion and Holy Hour for Healing sessions include:

• 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 (childcare available)

• 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 (childcare available)

• 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8

• 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12

• 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 (childcare available)

People who attend are asked to register onlineClick here for registration.

Also, the church will celebrate a Vigil Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and Riehle said this mass will specifically be offered for Healing and Reparation for the parish and church.

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