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Ezzell Floranina: Reflecting on Pope’s Brazil trip, local theater piece on molestation

To the editor:

As Pope Francis begins his visit to Brazil and spreads his message of reform of church policies, the world listens to see how this will reflect on the many cases of molestation by priests that have come out in recent years. Pope Francis carries a message through his very demeanor of being one of the common folk.

We watch and know that these stories are only beginning to come out and that many went with the victims to their graves. While here in the Pioneer Valley, the community is offered an opportunity to come together to view a theatrical version of one of these stories: “Conversations with My Molester: A Journey of Faith.”

Michael Mack wrote and directed this piece drawn from his own experience: “Like many Catholic boys in the 1960s, Michael Mack wanted to be a priest,” according to promotional material for the show. “That dream ended at age 11 when his pastor invited him to the rectory to help with ‘a project.’ ”

It is a journey that took him, understandably, away from his faith, and remarkably back.

This performance is being hosted by the Ko Festival of Performance in the Holden Theater at Amherst College. It is a brave piece of theater that is part of the season’s theme, courage. Audience members are invited to stay for the conversation with the artist and hopefully a member of a local church, guided by one of our talkback hosts after each performance.

This coincidence of timing with the pope’s inaugural trip to Brazil as the Catholic Church’s new leader is an amazing time to be engaged as a community in this very disturbing issue that has affected so many children through many years of abuse by Catholic priests. I am excited, as a child growing up Catholic, to see the show this weekend, July 26 to 28, at the Ko Festival. For more information, visit www.kofest.com.

Ezzell Floranina

Shutesbury

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