Local young adult group highlighted at national conference

| April 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

A group of young adults gathered at a home in St. Paul in August 2018 to discuss the Church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis in the wake of emerging details of abuse in Pennsylvania and credible allegations against the since-laicized Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal.

Daniel Quinan, 31, was part of the meeting, and he shared some of the fruits of that gathering in an April 6 presentation at a national conference in Chicago on the Church’s response to the abuse crisis.

Daniel Quinan

“It was great. I’m glad I used that opportunity” in Chicago to share, said Quinan, 31, a judge for the metropolitan tribunal in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Quinan, a core team member of the young adult group that grew out of the 2018 conversation, YA (Young Adults) Respond, and a parishioner of St. Mark in St. Paul, described how the group grew from a conversation among friends to working with Archbishop Bernard Hebda to address clergy sex abuse issues in the archdiocese.

Those issues include efforts at healing after a local scandal that culminated December 2018 in a bankruptcy settlement for the archdiocese that included $210 million in remuneration for 442 clergy abuse victims/survivors.

Sixty college students from around the country attended Quinan’s talk at the ESTEEM Capstone Conference, held April 5-7 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Chicago.

ESTEEM — Engaging Students to Enliven the Ecclesial Mission — forms Catholic college students for volunteer or professional lay leadership roles in the Church after they graduate from school. ESTEEM is a program of the Leadership Roundtable, a Washington-based nonprofit focused on developing Church leadership and management.

“It’s really impressive what YA Respond did in Minneapolis to say, ‘Hey, we’re the Church, too,” said Megan Colford, ESTEEM national coordinator, who organized the conference.

Colford brought Quinan in as a speaker via Susan Mulheron, the archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs, after Colford and Mulheron discussed the ESTEEM conference at a Feb. 1-2 Leadership Roundtable gathering in Washington about the abuse crisis. In a Feb. 5 email to Quinan, Mulheron wrote that his experience as a canon lawyer and working with YA Respond made him perfect for presenting at ESTEEM.

During his presentation, Quinan highlighted Canon 212 from the Code of Canon Law, which explains the laity’s right and obligation to make concerns known to the Church hierarchy. He also referenced a 2004 report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York, the largest study of clergy sexual abuse in the country, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. YA Respond studied the report as part of the group’s efforts to advance conversation around clergy sexual abuse.

Quinan highlighted YA Respond’s decision to craft a letter in September 2018 to Archbishop Hebda, asking for “continued efforts and changes” regarding clergy sexual abuse. Archbishop Hebda responded to the letter by hosting two listening sessions with young adults. Quinan said a Dec. 14 letter to the faithful from the archbishop also addressed some of young adults’ concerns.

Quinan encouraged students at the conference to start their own group in their respective dioceses as one way to seek concrete action by their respective bishops.

“I basically just told them … bring your own expertise to the table, sit down, and talk about these things and come up with your own plan,” he said.

Colford said she received positive feedback from students who attended Quinan’s talk.

Quinan’s presentation wasn’t the first presentation about YA Respond outside the archdiocese. YA Respond co-founder Chris Damian, 28, an immigration attorney and member of St. Thomas More in St. Paul, was interviewed by a Canadian radio program Feb. 23. Quinan, Damian and Tucker Moore, 26, a member the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and a musician, co-founded YA Respond.

“I think we’re hoping that if other people have questions for us, they can ask us, but they can also just use our resources that we put out (on YA Respond’s website, yarespond.wixsite.com) and start their own chapter if they want to,” Quinan said.

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Category: Local News