- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The head of Maine’s Roman Catholics is holding a day of prayer and penance for victims of sexual abuse in the church.

Diocese of Portland Bishop Robert Deeley is having Mass on Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and encouraging clergy members to join in asking for forgiveness.

Deeley says by repenting, he hopes the church can be involved in healing the wounds caused by past scandals and prevent future abuse.

The annual Mass was first held in 2002.

The bishop continues to emphasize the church’s policy of encouraging past victims of sexual abuse to contact the diocese’s Office of Professional Responsibility or police.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests commended the bishop for holding the Mass and stressed continues vigilance.

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