Towards Peace

Spiritual support for survivors of abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland

The annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse will take place on Friday 19 February 2021, the first Friday of Lent. The Day of Prayer is an initiative by Pope Francis and was first marked in Irish dioceses and parishes in 2017. 

Candle of Atonement and Prayer 

The bishops of Ireland have blessed and dedicated Candles of Atonement for use in cathedrals and parishes throughout the country on the Day of Prayer and thereafter during the celebration of Mass and other liturgies.

Introducing the Candles of Atonement in 2019, 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.”

The following text was sent to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin by a person who suffered abuse so that it could be shared in parishes. 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.

Paidreacha dIdirghui
A Dhia, tá aiféal orainn
as ucht na rudaí a rinne cuid dúinn dod phaistí:
gur caitheadh leo chomh chrualach,
in am a gátar ach go háirithe.
Dfhágamar iad le cruatan saoil.
Níorbh é seo do scéim dóibh súid ná dúinne.
Cabhraigh linn le cabhair a thabhairt dóibh súid.
Treoraí sinn, a Thiarna, Amen.

ENDS