To provide pastoral care, support and resources to victims-survivors of clerical sexual abuse and their loved ones in their efforts to achieve psychological, emotional and spiritual healing.


The Office of Assistance Ministry was first established by the Archdiocese in 1992 to respond to the sexual abuse of minors by Archdiocesan clergy. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin was instrumental in establishing Assistance Ministry following the recommendations of the first-ever Cardinal’s Commission on Clerical Misconduct. Francis Cardinal George has carried on with his commitment and support to this important ministry. Over the years, we have accompanied many victims-survivors of clerical sexual abuse on their healing journeys.

As we have learned more about the extent of childhood sexual abuse in our society, we have widened the scope of some Assistance Ministry services to include support and healing such as support groups, counseling, family support, prayer and reflection for all victims-survivors of childhood sexual abuse, regardless of who the perpetrators may have been.

Outreach and Response

The Office of Assistance Ministry and its professional staff recognize that for many victims-survivors it is difficult to imagine finding the courage to let officials of the Catholic Church know that they were sexually abused by a priest or church personnel. Therefore after a formal allegation is made, the office offers a variety of services to assist victims-survivors of sexual abuse and their loved ones in their effort to achieve psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing. Some of these services include counseling, spiritual direction, support groups and other social services agreed upon by the victim and the Office of Assistance Ministry. Since its creation as one of the first victim assistance ministries in the United States, it has provided services and support to over 400 victims-survivors and their family members.


Thomas P. Tharayil, LCSW, BCD, Director

Ruth Robinson, BSW, Assistant Director

Victims/Survivors Resources

The Office of Assistance Ministry strives to create programs and identify resources that will support the spiritual and emotional well being of victims-survivors and their families. If you are seeking referrals for counseling, spiritual direction, self help groups, educational information, or more, call (312) 534-8267.

The Healing Voices is an independent newsletter created by victims-survivors who continue to have an interest in finding healing through the Church. thehealingvoicesnewsletter.wordpress.com

Catholic Charities Holbrook Counseling Center offers professional counseling, mental health education and spiritual support. Call (312) 655-7725 or visit www.catholiccharities.net/holbrook for more information about individual, couple, or family counseling; support groups; and educational workshops.
Holbrook Center Brochure

National Center for PTSD
If you are an adult victim/survivor of childhood sexual abuse, it is possible that you may have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD has four types of symptoms: reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event; feeling numb and feeling keyed up. For more information, visit www.ptsd.va.gov/public/

PTSD Coach App:
Together with professional medical treatment, PTSD Coach provides you with reliable information. If you have, or think you might have PTSD, this app may be for you. The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma. Features include: reliable information on PTSD and treatments that work, tools for screening and tracking your symptoms, convenient, easy-to-use tools to help you handle stress symptoms, direct links to support and help always with you when you need it, providing you with facts and self-help skills based on research. Family and friends can also learn about PTSD and coping from this app. For more information, visit www.ptsd.va.gov/public/materials/apps/PTSDCoach.asp