What is the Day of Prayer for victims and survivors of sexual abuse?

INTRODUCTION #

From the beginning of the Commission’s work, the spiritual and pastoral care of all those who have been victims of sexual abuse, together with their families and their communities, has been of primary importance to the members of the TutelaMinorum.

Prayer is a central, important part of the healing process for victims/survivors and for the whole community of believers. Moreover, public prayer is an important way of raising consciousness in the Church.

In the experience of our members, victims/survivors have often expressed a desire for prayer as an important element in their healing process. It was a survivor of clerical child sexual abuse who, in fact, first made the proposal to the Commission for a “Day of Prayer” for all victims/survivors of abuse. The Members then tasked the Working Group on Theology and Spirituality with drawing up the proposal on these pages. The Members accepted the proposal at the February 2016, Plenary Assembly and submitted it to Pope Francis for his approval.

The Holy Father welcomed the initiative and has asked that each episcopal conference choose an appropriate day in their nation or territory to hold a “Day of Prayer” for the victims/survivors of sexual abuse.   Many Bishops’ Conferences have already taken steps to enact this proposal. In this section, you will find examples of prayers with which you can join in this universal initiative, along with links to examples of different episcopal conferences’ Day of Prayer.

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Ireland, explains the importance of this annual Day of Prayer.

SIMPLE PRAYER (I): for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse #

FATHER

Since your mercy has been revealed

In the tenderness of your Son Jesus Christ,

who said to his disciples:

“Suffer the little children to come unto me”,

we pray that your Church may be a secure home

where all children and vulnerable adults are brought closer to your Beloved Son.

May all those who have been abused

physically, emotionally and sexually by your ministers,

be respected and accompanied by

tangible gestures of justice and reparation so that

they may feel healed with the balm of your compassion.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen

SIMPLE PRAYER (II): for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse #

Heavenly Father,

who loves and cares for all of your children, especially the smallest and most vulnerable, we entrust to you the lives of the many children and vulnerable adults, who have been sexually abused, and whose trust and innocence have been destroyed. Help us to hear their cries of pain and to take responsibility for so many broken lives.

We pray that within their communities and families they may find understanding and support so that with the help of your grace their wounds may be healed, and they may again know peace.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who shared our weakness in all things but sin, and lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever.

Amen.

Examples AND DATES of National Days of Prayer #

Senegal, Mauritania , Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau (All dioceses): “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse,” First Friday of Lent

South Africa: “Three Days of Prayer for Victims of Sexual Abuse,” Second Sunday of Advent

Mexico: “Jornada de oración por las víctimas de abuso sexual,” Not a fixed date

United States of America: “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Church,” June 14

Diocese of Arlington (USA): June 14

Diocese of Camden (USA): “Evening of prayer for the victims of abuse and reparation for the sins of the Church,” September 28 2018/ Local prayer services on October 5 2018

Diocese of Phoenix (USA): “Mass for survivors of abuse and their families,” 11 December 2018

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (USA): “Day of Prayer and Penance,” 5 October 2018

Archdiocese of Anchorage (USA): “Day of Prayer and Penance for Healing,” 22 August 2018

Archdiocese of Chicago (USA): “Annual Child-Abuse Prevention Mass,” 7 April 2018

Japan: “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse,” Second Friday of Lent

Belgium: “Journée nationale de reconnaissance pour les victimes d’abus sexuels,” 8 April

France: “Day of Prayer and fast for the victums of sexual abuse,” November 7

Ireland: “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Ardagh and Clonmacnois (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Armagh (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,”

Cashel and Emly (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Cloyne (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Dublin (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Elphin (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Kerry (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Kildare and Leighlin (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Kilmore (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Meath (Ireland): “Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse,” First Friday of Lent

Netherlands: 15-16 September 2018

Poland: “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse, Reparation and Fasting,” First Friday of Lent

Archdiocese of Krakow (Poland): Third Sunday of Lent

Spain: “Jornada de Oración por las Víctimas de Abusos Sexuales,” 20 November (United Nations Universal Children’s Day)

Switzerland: “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse,” December 5

Germany: “Tag des Gebetes und der Buße für die Opfer sexuellen Missbrauchs,” November 18 (European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse)

England and Wales: “Day of prayer for survivors of sexual abuse, “On the Friday of the fifth week of Lent

Australia: “Days of Fasting and Reparation,” September 11 (in conjunction with their National Day for Child Protection)

New Zealand: “Day of Prayer and Penance for Victims of Abuse and Violence,” First Friday of Lent

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