Michael D. Hoffman, survivor of clergy abuse, shares his memories and reflections for inclusion in Our Catholic Voices kickoff, October 15, 2021.
Recounting a Process
Where Faith is Part of Recovering
Chicago Archdiocesan Pinwheels for Prevention Prayer Service (Virtual, May 2020)
Michael D. Hoffman is a co-founder and co-editor of The Healing Voices Magazine and edits it column, “Seeds of Hope,” which features success stories on the grassroots level of Catholic healing in the United States and around the world.
In 2006, Mike’s world changed when a news report named the priest who was his abuser, triggering his memories of abuse over a period of four years. That began his own process of reporting abuse and taking practical steps to move through the pain toward healing.
As part of his own process of healing and helping others heal, Mike has served on the Hope and Healing Committee of the Archdiocese of Chicago. This group is comprised of clergy abuse survivors, priests and staff from the Archdiocese who reach out to victims/survivors and their family members as an aid to healing from the pain.
Mike was a founding member of committee of clergy-abuse survivors, diocesan priests and staff from the Chicago Office for the Protection of Children and Youth who, together, created and maintain The Healing Garden, which is “intended to be a place that invites reconciliation, hope and healing, not only for survivors and their families, but also for the larger Catholic Church.” During Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month a service is hosted in the garden annually.
Mike’s increased involvement in the Church following his reporting process reflects his belief both that faith is a great gift adults can give children, and that his own experience of being abused for four years as a little boy can serve others by helping to keep children safe in the Church and in society at large.
As co-founder and co-editor of The Healing Voices Magazine, Mike focuses on child protection as part of survivor healing, and he also focuses on coming to terms with the effects of abuse on his life and on the lives of his family members. He wishes to help others find their voice and discover the depth of their faith. Mike believes that together, if we can find our voices and express ourselves, we will be able to reclaim what was lost to the truth of the abuse.
Mike in the media: featured in the Chicago Tribune, in an article titled, “Former Altar Boy Sexually Abused by Priest Tells Why He Raised His Kids in the Catholic Church,” which may be read here. He is also the Co-Founder of the April 8 world Day for Prevention and Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse
Mike remains a practicing Catholic. He is a devoted husband and father to two teenage children. For many years he has volunteered his time at his local parish, St. Mary of the Woods, where he serves on the Liturgy Committee and as a lector. He is the past President of the school Athletic Board.
To know Mike is to know he is devoted to advancing the cause of child protection within and beyond the Catholic Church. He explains, “I believe our efforts, as survivors, help victims and their families heal, and I pray child-protection measures will, in some way, strengthen us all as people of faith who are striving to do what is right for children, victims and the world.”
Mike has served as the President of the Board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse – Illinois, a nonprofit organization which provides key leadership for child abuse prevention across the state of Illinois (USA) through prevention education and public awareness, community outreach, public policy advocacy, and promotion of effective prevention programs. A visit to its website, or that of Prevent Child Abuse America, leads to a treasury of free resources for parents, educators, and others. Mike currently serves as North American liaison for the World Day for Survivor Healing Project and speaks when work schedules permit.
Mike continues to promote grassroots awareness of child protection, including Pinwheel Plantings, which usually occur in connection with National Child Abuse Awareness Month (in the United States, April). For more information on this growing national movement, visit this Pinwheels for Prevention page at PCA-Ilinois.
Acts of Recovery The Story of One Man’s On-Going Healing from Sexual Abuse by a Priest, is Mike's chronicle, a brief but powerful book of hope we offer to survivors, families, therapists, members of review boards and victim assistance coordinators as an idea of how the reporting process can be part of a greater healing process.
Acts of Recovery follows Mike from revealing his “secret” to family, through reporting to a Review Board and taking unique steps to lay the past to rest. Mike recounts the actions he took to find his own separate peace.
Mike drew on his years of experience starting and running parish and diocesan prayer services and annual Masses for hope and healing and, with Teresa Pitt Green, compiled a Do It Yourself Guide for Prayerful Events to Promote Child Safety and Survivor Healing. Until we post this free book on our site, if you'd like a copy, just let Teresa know.
President John Garvey of The Catholic University of America opened the segment of our broadcast which profiles Mike. For next steps in reflection and action you can consider with our program complete, fellow along below.