SCRANTON, Pa. -- The Diocese of Scranton is calling for the Catholic community to pause this weekend. Parishioners are urged to pray and fast and a number of churches will hold special masses.
A service Friday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Dunmore is one of many being held across the diocese because of the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
We spoke with people heading to mass earlier in the day in Scranton about what this "day of atonement " means to them.
Catholics gathered for noon mass in Scranton on Friday. Tim Carr has been attending service for a quarter of a century and says this weekend's day of atonement is needed for the entire Catholic church.
"The scandal is really hurting the church and the priests need to, and the pope needs to handle this, not try to escape from it," Carr said.
Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton has called for church members to fast and pray during the day of atonement and healing.
Carr says child sex abuse scandals have plagued the Catholic Church and members say it is time for the church to heal.
"It is righteous anger," Carr said. "I do not hate the priests that have been committing sodomy, but I do want the bad priest removed."
"Child abuse is a very serious and I think we need to all look at that," said Ken Quigley of Dunmore.
Parishioners tell Newswatch 16 they will be spending time praying for their church leaders as well as the victims
"As a Catholic as I am you have to figure this out. You have to forgive people," said Billy Nolan of Scranton.
Services for the day of atonement continue through Saturday.
Bishop Bambera will be holding a mass at 12:10 p.m. at the Diocesan Pastoral Center across from St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton.