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

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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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.”

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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