Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston will hold a special Mass today commemorating Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The service is planned for 5:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, 120 Broad St.

"Every child is a gift from God, and the abuse of any child, whether physical, sexual or emotional, is unacceptable," Guglielmone said in a statement. "This special Mass will be an opportunity for the Catholic community to pray for all victims of abuse and to remind everyone about the importance of protecting God's children."

Guglielmone's comments come as the Catholic Church contends with an ongoing sexual abuse scandal. Claims of abuse by priests and church officials have led to inquiries in Canada, Ireland, the U.S., England, Mexico, Belgium, France and Germany.

Most recently, in February, new charges were issued against church officials by a second grand jury in Philadelphia.

Catholic officials in Charleston settled their own multi-million-dollar abuse case in 2007.

"The Diocese of Charleston is continually making efforts to keep children safe," it said in a statement.

"In accordance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, diocesan officials have diligently enforced their policy of performing background screening and conducting safe environment training for church staff and those volunteers who work with children. Since 2005, the diocese has screened and trained more than 20,000 people."

Diocese officials also said they continue to provide educational sessions for adults and young people on recognizing the signs that may lead to abuse.

"We are very proud of the steps we have taken to ensure children are safe in our schools and in our parishes," Guglielmone said. "The April 2 Mass is part of the diocese's ongoing commitment to follow the charter and to protect all young people."