Service of healing for Melbourne church destroyed by fire

Lament for those abused

The St James Parish community in Brighton gathered earlier this month for a service of lament for healing and reconciliation as part of the rebuilding of the 123-year-old church which was razed to the ground last year.

The fire has been linked to the crimes of Ronald Pickering, who served as the church's parish priest from 1978 to 1993 before he fled to the United Kingdom, fearing prosecution.

Several people are believed to have killed themselves after being sexually abused by Pickering between 1960 and 1980.

The mother of a 20-year old boy who took his life spoke of her time at the parish.

During the service, Fr Martin Dixon, parish priest of St James and neighbouring St Joan of Arc parish said he was conscious of the past and the actions that had brought the community together.

"Although the actions of one, all of us have suffered to varying degrees, none more so than the victims and their families.

"To every young man who was abused, sexually or otherwise, I am deeply sorry," he said during the service.


TJH Council St James Brighton service of lament

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