• Sara Larson

An Update from Awake Milwaukee - Questions for our Archdiocese

This January is a really busy month for Awake Milwaukee, the grassroots organization I am involved with to respond to the abuse crisis in my own Archdiocese. Awake’s Leadership Team spent much of 2019 listening, learning, and building connections throughout the area. Now, in 2020, we’re ready to really get to work. It’s an exciting time for all of us! Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and inspiration as we move forward.

(If you live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, please make sure you’re connected with Awake here. You can also follow us on Facebook: Awake on Facebook. We need the whole body of Christ united in this work!)

As you might remember, Awake’s first public action, back in August, was publishing our Open Letter to Survivors. That letter of apology and support has collected over 220 signatures so far, and we have received a really positive response from many survivors who reached out to express their appreciation. (Wherever you live, if you haven’t signed the letter yet, please do so today by clicking here: Letter to Survivors Signature Form. It’s a small gesture, but every signature makes the letter more powerful!)

Now, Awake is excited to be launching a weekly blog, which will help readers become more informed about the twin crises in our Church. My dear friend Erin, who is serving as the editor of the blog, summarized our plans in this way: “Each week we’ll bring you thoughtful content to help you stay informed and knowledgeable, including ‘explainers’ that explore Church news, stories from abuse survivors, Q and As with Church thinkers and leaders, and personal reflections from Milwaukee Catholics revealing how this moment in our Church’s history is shaping their personal faith journeys.” I will be an occasional contributor to the blog, but there will be a variety of local voices highlighted in upcoming blog posts.

The Awake blog will be published on our website and shared through our weekly email newsletter. So, if you care about the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and would like to hear from other experiences and perspectives (with a Milwaukee flavor), please consider subscribing for notifications here: Subscription Form.


In today’s blog post, Awake shared a list of 35 questions that we recently submitted to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. We've put a lot of time and research into understanding policies and procedures at the local level so we can ask well-informed questions about the nitty-gritty details that make a difference. Here’s what we posted today:

"Since we began talking with people at community gatherings, listening sessions, and one-on-one meetings, Awake’s leadership team has heard many questions from Milwaukee-area Catholics about how our archdiocese is addressing the abuse crisis. And in learning more about these topics, Awake’s leadership team has developed questions too.

This led us to create a list of 35 questions on a range of topics—from support for survivors to formation for seminarians to requirements for religious order priests—that we couldn’t answer with a careful look at the archdiocesan website. On December 10, 2019 we emailed these questions to the archbishop’s chief of staff, Jerry Topczewski, the point person on these issues, asking if we could receive answers by February 1, 2020.

Topczewski responded just three hours later…”

Read the rest, including the complete list of questions, at Awake Asks: How is the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Responding to the Abuse Crisis?

Regardless of where you live, I think you might find it helpful to look through this list of questions and get a sense of some important issues Catholics should be aware of at the local level.

Do you know the answers to these questions for your own diocese? If not, do some research and see what you can find out!


As we move into the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, I invite you to pray with me:

Lord, teach us to sanctify the ordinary days of our lives. As we move into this new year of grace, give us the wisdom and discernment to hear your voice and respond to your call, wherever you are leading us. Help us to have the courage to ask hard questions and face difficult truths, trusting that you will be with us every step of the way.



PS: A huge thank you to those who are supporting me through Patreon! Please know that your contributions support both my writing on In Spirit and Truth and my local work with Awake. These two ministries are a full-time job for me, and it’s very helpful to be able to bring in at least a little income for my family while I devote my heart to this work. Thank you for making this possible!

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