Essay, Speech


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

The Survivor's Voice
Op-Ed, Essays, Speeches


Remarks of Mark Vincent Serrano

Dedication Ceremony of the Millstone Memorial

April 25, 2004

Thank you for being here today. Thank you for having the strength and the courage to join on this very special occasion.

Sadly, we are all bonded in trauma and tragedy. Gloriously, we are also all bonded in truth, and in healing, and in some small ways justice.

Earlier today I visited the rectory, the place of desecration for so many of us here today. It was empowering to return there for one last time; feeling that I was in control and that I towered over that room this time instead of it consuming me like when I was a child.

This is a remarkable day of transformation. When many of us joined here in Mendham, New Jersey for the first time as survivors two years ago, we began a journey of healing for the first time in our lives.

By our very presence we transformed this place from hunting grounds to healing grounds. Today we go even further. For some this will now be hallowed grounds.

You see, in the past two years, we have begun not just a journey of personal healing. We have also begun a mission to rescue others from pain, anguish, and darkness.

And we have learned a great deal in the process. We have learned that we no longer have to carry this burden alone. We have learned that when we speak out, others join the journey. We have also learned that when a person first escapes from complete and total darkness, the light that we shine for them can be blinding. Tragically, some fall into the light and are lost to us.

But our light still shines as a light of hope, and opportunity, and renewal. The brighter we light the way, the more we can expose those who spread darkness. The brighter we light the way for others, the more others will follow and reflect the light themselves. Most importantly, the brighter that we light the path, the less God's children can stumble.

Many of us know people on whose necks this millstone might be properly place, both literally and figuratively. But this millstone has a far greater purpose. Like us, this Millstone has a mission to serve.

This millstone will have a far greater purpose serving through the course of time as a touchstone for all survivors of child sexual abuse. This millstone will serve as a reminder of the innocence that was lost on these grounds and everywhere that children have been harmed. This millstone will serve as a warning to those who still refuse to remove the barriers to a safe, healthy, and spirit-filled life for our children today. This millstone will serve as a reminder of the chance we have for hope, opportunity, and renewal in our lives.

Most importantly, this millstone will serve as a reminder to everyone of our responsibility, as defined by Christ Himself, to shine the light of truth, healing, and justice so that we may protect and preserve the innocence of our children today and forevermore.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests