Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis has asked that a Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse be held each year. In Ireland this will happen on the First Friday of Lent, 3rd March 2017.
Lent is a penitential season and also a season of hope. It is a particularly appropriate time for us to ask forgiveness for our failure as a society to protect children and also to pray for those who have suffered and continue to suffer because of sexual abuse. Bishop Kevin has asked that suitable prayers and reflections be used at all Masses celebrated in the diocese on 3rd March.
Recognising that sexual abuse continues to be a reality in Irish society, in spite of all that we have learnt over the past twenty years, Bishop Kevin appeals to people to be alert. “In the Buddhist tradition”, he said, “awareness is one of the great virtues. It is the responsibility of all of us to have our eyes open for any lack of good practice or any suspicious behaviour in any area of society which might pose a risk to children or vulnerable adults”.
Bishop Kevin would like to thank priests and deacons, sacristans and, in particular, parish safeguarding representatives, for all that they have done and continue to do to ensure that the Church is a place of safety and welcome for children and vulnerable adults.
The following prayer was sent to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin by a person who suffered abuse. This prayer was inscribed on the healing stone which was unveiled at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 and now has its permanent home at Lough Derg, Co Donegal.
Lord, we are so sorry
for what some of us did to your children:
treated them so cruelly,
especially in their hour of need.
We have left them with a lifelong suffering.
This was not your plan for them or us.
Please help us to help them.
Guide us, Lord. Amen.