News and Events
Pope Francis’ Worldwide Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse will be marked in Ireland on Friday 16th February. This is the First Friday in Lent and the day that the Irish Bishops’ Conference has chosen to mark the annual day of prayer. It first did so in 2017. Click here to see what is happening in various diocese and to see a selection of liturgical resources.
Pope Francis’ idea for the day of prayer came from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors: http://www.protectionofminors.va/content/tuteladeiminori/en/resources_section/day-of-prayer_page.html.
The day is marked around the world: http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-121.cfm.
Happy New Year from the Towards Peace office, now open for 2018. One of our focal points for January is updating the Resources section of this website.
All at Towards Peace wish you a Christmas and New Year full of hope. The Towards Peace office will close 19th December and re-open 8th January.
‘What is Towards Peace?’ … Watch Una Allen, Towards Peace Director, talk briefly about the service on YouTube, here.
Parishes throughout the island of Ireland are helping to spread the word about Towards Peace this month. We are grateful for the teamwork!
The Towards Peace team (Board, staff, spiritual companions) recently gathered for their annual Day of Prayer & Reflection, to focus on how Towards Peace can best be of service to all affected by abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland.
An updated Towards Peace leaflet is now available here.
Core training, Module 4 – Secondary Trauma and Self-Care – Sustaining Wholeness: Holding suffering, seeking integration – was recently offered to Towards Peace spiritual companions.
The Board of Towards Peace has begun an organisational review of the service for the future.
A report about Towards Peace’s activity over 18 months, from January 2016 – June 2017, is now available here.
Core Training, Module 3 – Protocols, Policies & Procedures – Spiritual Accompaniment: Charism, Privilege, Responsibility – was recently offered to Towards Peace spiritual companions.
Marianne O’Connor has announced that after four years of work with Towards Peace, her work with the service, including the role of Chair of the Board, will come to an end in June of this year. We wish Marianne the all the very best with her multiple work commitments, now and in the future. She has been a part of the journey of Towards Peace from the beginning and we are grateful for all of her voluntary efforts to progress the service.
Towards Peace staff, spiritual companions and Board members are in Cork this month, meeting with social services which support survivors of abuse, and speaking at parishes within the region of Cork and Ross.
The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation has released a notice about the findings of a test excavation at the site of the Children’s Burial Ground / Memorial Garden located in the Dublin Road Housing Estate, Tuam, Co. Galway. A Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home operated there from 1925-1961. The notice can be found here.
Pope Francis has requested all Bishops’ Conferences around the world to organise a dedicated Day of Prayer for survivors and victims of clerical sexual abuse on the first Friday of Lent, which is Friday 3rd March. This Day of Prayer will take place in Ireland.
Core Training, Module 1 – Working with Survivors of Trauma – Shattered Wholeness: The Spiritual Impact of Trauma – will be offered this month to Towards Peace spiritual companions.
The Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has issued its report, which can be found here.
Colleen Brown has returned from Leave to Towards Peace as Administration & Development Coordinator. We already miss Jennifer Connor and are very grateful to her for her excellent work over the past nine months.
The Towards Peace team (Board, staff, spiritual companions) recently gathered for their annual Day of Prayer & Reflection, to focus on Towards Peace as a service and how it can best be of service with / to survivors of abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland.
October – November
We have been raising awareness of Towards Peace in the Galway region both within the Church and in the wider community. It is planned to promote Towards Peace in the Cork region in early 2017.
Towards Peace Policies and Procedures are now available on our website.
Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Paddy Carberry has needed to resign from the Board. Paddy has been with Towards Peace since its inception and his compassion and expertise will be sorely missed. We wish him well.
Towards Peace continues to recruit additional Spiritual Companions and Supervisors for Spiritual Companions.
Towards Peace, along with Towards Healing, provided an input to the conference of the SBNI (Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland), ‘Working Together to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children and Young People’, in Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
Interviews are ongoing to recruit both Spiritual Companions and Supervisors for our panels.
Una Allen, Director of Towards Peace, attended a one week training course on ‘Supervision for Spiritual Directors’ in St. Buenos Centre, North Wales.
We are continuing to update our Policies and Procedures.
Jennifer Connor has begun work with Towards Peace, providing Maternity Cover for Colleen Brown, Administration & Development Coordinator.
Towards Peace has begun to recruit additional Spiritual Companions, and Supervisors for Spiritual Companions.
Happy New Year to all. This month has been a busy one for the Towards Peace office and Board as we set our service development goals for 2016. We are in the process of developing our Policies and Procedures and our panel of Spiritual Companions.
All at Towards Peace wish you a Christmas and New Year season surrounded by love and hope. The Towards Peace office will close 23rd December and re-open 11th January.
Una Allen, Director of Towards Peace, spoke at the 10-12 November CSAS (Catholic Safeguarding Service) Conference – “From Darkness to Light: How the Church is responding to the abuse crisis” – at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire, England. Una’s presentation was entitled: “Is spiritual peace possible after abuse by Church personnel?”
On 2 November, the Towards Peace team (Board, staff, spiritual companions) gathered for a Day of Prayer & Reflection. The theme was focused on Towards Peace as a service and how it can best be of service with / to survivors of abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland.
Our leaflet has now been updated: Towards Peace Leaflet Sept 2015 Update. By the end of this month we hope to have distributed it to each of the 26 diocese on the island and to over 30 services for survivors of abuse.
We hope you are enjoying our updated website!
Andrew Fagan has been elected Vice Chair of the Board of Towards Peace.
Sr. Marianne O’Connor has been elected Chair of the Board of Towards Peace.
Events about available supports for survivors, with input from Towards Healing and Towards Peace, were held within safeguarding communities in the Diocese of Kilmore on 12th May 2015, and in the Diocese of Dromore and Down & Connor on 28th May 2015.
An information session about Towards Peace was held within the safeguarding community in the Diocese of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise on 15th April 2015.
An information session about Towards Peace was held within the safeguarding community in the Diocese of Ossory on 4th March 2015.
Three new lay Board members have joined the Board of Towards Peace: Ann Caulfield, Andrew Fagan and Rachel Mooney.
At the request of her congregation, Sr. Mary Whyte has moved on from Towards Peace. Towards Peace is tremendously grateful for the three years of hard work that Sr. Mary gave to the development of the service.
Information sessions about Towards Peace were held within the safeguarding communities in the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin on 3rd December 2014, and in the Diocese of Ferns on 10th December 2014. Click here to read the opening remarks at the Ferns event by Bishop Denis Brennan.
Mrs. Una Allen and Mrs. Colleen Brown have been appointed as Towards Peace part-time staff, as Director and Administration & Development Coordinator.
Towards Peace was launched in the West (Knock, Co. Mayo) on 3rd June 2014. Click here for the address of Mr. Frank McGuinness, Director of Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Elphin. Click here for the address of Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam.
Towards Peace was launched in the South (St. Joseph’s Church, Wilton, Cork) on 25th May 2014, following a Concelebrated Mass for Healing & Reconciliation, organised by the Munster Survivors Support Service and the Safeguarding Service of the Diocese of Cork & Ross. Click here to read the homily of Fr. Liam O’Driscoll during the Mass. Click here to read the address of Mrs. Una Allen, Chairperson of Towards Peace and click here to read the address of Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork & Ross, at the launch.