My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What a year 2020 has become. Who would have thought that a global pandemic would impact every continent and continue to affect our daily lives, eight months after it reached our Diocese? I pray you and your loved ones have been safe during this time.
I am writing to you today as we have reached a milestone in the reorganization process for The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (RCDH). As you may know, November 13, 2020 was established by the bankruptcy court as the last day—or the bar date—for creditors, including survivors of abuse, to file claims against the RCDH. Having passed the bar date, we have received claims on behalf of approximately 59 survivors.
The next phase of the reorganization process, which is already in motion, is mediation regarding the claims asserted by survivors. Through this mediation, the survivors (either individually or through a committee representing their interests), our present and historical insurance providers, the RCDH, and the parishes and schools will work together in an effort to reach a consensual resolution of the survivor claims asserted against the RCDH.
As we explained when this process started in February, the RCDH’s financial situation had been in a challenging position for several years prior to the Grand Jury Subpoena. That investigation and the legal costs we incurred took its toll on our financial situation, leaving us with no other path forward than to file for Chapter 11 protections and seek to reorganize. Once this process is complete, our Diocese will have a much stronger foundation to build, and rebuild, upon.
I fully understand that the past several years have been very difficult on our priests, deacons, religious, employees and most especially, each of you. There is no excuse, there is no justification for the RCDH’s horrific past regarding clergy sexual abuse. I continue to offer my most profound apology to all those survivors of clergy abuse and to pray they will find healing. I also thank each of you for your continued faith, especially when it has been repeatedly tested.
We still have several months of mediation ahead of us and we will do our best to keep you informed of milestone actions, when possible. As we move through this process, I encourage you to visit www.hbgdiocese.org/reorganization-information for the most up-to-date information.
I humbly ask for your prayers for our Diocese as we continue this process. May God grant us every grace needed during this difficult time. May Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother, intercede with Her Son to be our strength and support.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer
Bishop of Harrisburg