The afternoon session of the Assembly was dedicated to the mandatory participation of men in ministry in the Praesidium program. This was developed by the Jesuits following the USCMA's response to the US Bishops's Dallas Charter in 2002 which, in turn, was a response to the ever-growing child-abuse scandals.
Maryknollers in ministry in the States must participate in the Praesidium program every three years. For the New York archdiocese, this takes the place of the Virtus program and is necessary to continue Maryknoll's accreditation.
I am happy to report that, unlike previous Praesidium programs, this one was informative and encouraging. In other years, the presentations were so graphic and chilling that the overall effect was extremely depressing.
Our membership was divided into two groups, names beginning A-K in the Asia room, and M-Z in the Founders' room. The men in my group were very forthcoming in their observations and questions as we examined the causes and possible solutions to inappropriate behaviors and internet addictions. Accountability and pastoral approaches surfaced as important areas, as well as peer support groups.