The annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse will take place on Friday 28 February 2020, the first Friday of Lent.
The bishops of Ireland have blessed and dedicated candles of atonement for use in their Cathedrals and parishes throughout the country on 28 February and thereafter during the celebration of Mass and other liturgies.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “In lighting these candles we will bring to mind our brothers and sisters, and their families, who have been left with a lifelong suffering as a result of abuse, whose trust was so deeply betrayed and whose faith has been so cruelly tested within the sanctity of the Church by perpetrators of abuse.
“I have been privileged to meet with victims and survivors of abuse and members of their families in the four provinces of Ireland. Many have spoken to me about the importance of prayer for survivors, and for the need for the Church to be open to justice, to atone and never forget them. I have been humbled by their courage and overwhelmed by their generosity of spirit.
“I encourage dioceses and parishes to undertake this prayer initiative and to light the ‘Candle of Atonement’ in Cathedrals and churches across Ireland again this year. It would mean a lot to survivors if the ‘Candle of Atonement’ was a permanent feature in our Cathedrals and parish churches. People visiting the church for quiet prayer might light the ‘Candle of Atonement’, pray the prayer, and bring to mind someone they know who has been directly impacted or affected by abuse. I am convinced that prayer and outreach to survivors of abuse is a modern-day corporal and spiritual work of mercy.”
Archbishop Eamon continued, “The simple prayer ritual for the dedication and lighting of the ‘Candle of Atonement’ in Cathedrals and parish churches is based on the very moving Penitential Rite composed and prayed by Pope Francis at the final Mass of the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Phoenix Park last August when he implored the Lord’s mercy for the crimes of abuse and asked for forgiveness.
“The ‘Candle of Atonement’ and accompanying prayer are offered as a reminder to all of the need for us to atone, to ask forgiveness as a Church for the suffering caused by abuse. My hope is that these candles will be lit in Cathedrals and parishes across the country as a reminder of the need for atonement and that they will symbolise repentance, light in the darkness and hope.”
The Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse is an initiative by Pope Francis and was first marked in Irish dioceses and parishes in 2017.
PRAYER OF ATONEMENT:
Lord, forgive us our many sins.
We grieve and repent with all our hearts for having offended you, for our great failings and neglect of the young and vulnerable.
We place all of those who have been hurt by the Church in any way into your loving hands and under the protection of Our Blessed Mother.
Lord, bring peace to their broken lives and show us all the way out of darkness and into the light of your Word.
May we as the people of God be more fully human, more fully Christ-like and more fully your people, that we may see the errors of the past and go forward with renewed hope and faith in Christ and in our Church.
Towards Peace is a spiritual support service for survivors of physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse. Funded by the Irish Catholic Bishop’s Conference and the Association of Missionary and Religious in Ireland (formally CORI and IMU), the vision of Towards Peace is to provide a safe supportive space for people and their families, whose spiritual life has been damaged by abuse. Through spiritual accompaniment with a qualified spiritual director, Towards Peace endeavours to accompany people as they seek their own experience of spiritual peace, one step at a time. The service is free of charge. Towards Peace is also a response to the continually growing understanding of the spiritual impact of the trauma of abuse and seeks to raise awareness about this within the Church. It has collected a number of publications and online resources about the research in this area, which can be found here: https://towardspeace.ie/resources/.
“Towards Peace has given me the opportunity to address the impact that abuse by a Catholic priest has had on my life – particularly my vocation, faith and relationship with Jesus/God. I have felt heard, respected and understood as I work through the spiritual consequences of the abuse in my daily life. In working with a spiritual companion, I hope to come to a place of peace and acceptance in my spiritual life and faith journey and hopefully come to believe and feel that there is a loving God in my life as I have lost all sense of this over the years because of the abuse.”
– Towards Peace Client
For further information please contact the Towards Peace office: Phone: 00353 (0)1 5053028 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.towardspeace.ie