Specifically, Bishop Malesic released a pastoral letter calling on people in the diocese to take action against the opioid scourge, by focusing on prayer, education and cooperative efforts with government and social service agencies that are already engaged in the fight against addiction.
An excerpt reads:
Rarely does a day go by that we do not hear about a death that is the result of a drug overdose. The word “crisis” is used to describe the situation as it currently presses down upon us. Our priests have told me of their sadness and frustration at having buried way too many persons as a result of it.
In 2016 alone, more than 300 opioid-related deaths were reported within the four counties of the Diocese of Greensburg.
“This is a plague that has come into the homes and families of every city, town, and even the rural areas of our diocese,” said Malesic. “It has touched the very hearts and souls of our parishioners in the pews and the people living in our communities; it has affected men and women of every age, profession and state of life. Even more tragic is the reality that every one of those 319 deaths was preventable and did not have to happen.”
Bishop Malesic also announced the schedule for a series of seven Summer Diocesan Drug Education Evenings, to be held around the diocese on the following dates:
Tuesday, July 11 — Immaculate Conception Parish, Connellsville
Friday, July 14 — Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin
Wednesday, Aug. 2 — St. Joseph Parish, Uniontown
Thursday, Aug. 3 — Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg
Tuesday, Aug. 8 — St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Kittanning
Thursday, Aug. 10 — Mary Queen of Apostles School, Greenwald Site, New Kensington
Wednesday, Aug. 16 — St. Thomas More University Parish, Indiana
Each session will begin at 7 p.m.
The sessions will include a presentation about the facts of the crisis, a discussion with a question and answer period, and a prayer service.