Some Recent updates from
Bernadette Fahy presented our second workshop for the spiritual companions, Towards Peace Challenges and Possibilities. In a hard hitting and thought provoking contribution and building on Hugh Lagan’s day in April, Bernadette explored the issues facing the survivor raised in institutional care. Again the companions were moved and challenged in equal part.
In person training resumes for the spiritual companions for the first time since COVID with an excellent thought provoking workshop facilitated by Rev Hugh Lagan SMA entitled A Unique Betrayal – a call to listen, a call to action, a call to change. Those who were able to attend were both moved and challenged in equal part.
Bernadette Fahy and Una Allen interviewed by Monica Morley on Midwest Radio Faith Alive . Listen to the podcast here:
The worldwide Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Abuse takes place on the first Friday of Lent, which is next Friday, 24th February. At the Continental Assembly of the Synod in Prague, Fr Éamonn Fitzgibbon and Julieann Moran general secretary to the National Synod addressed those gathered. They shared with the delegation how “during the diocesan phase of the Synod, the Pobal Dé – the People of God in Ireland – listened deeply and heard many testimonies from those who, sadly, have been wounded within the Church.” They shared how women and men courageously came forward to speak about the sexual, institutional, emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual abuse by members of the Church in Ireland .The full address given by Fr Éamonn and I can be found HERE
Towards Peace also provided a reflection on the experience of accompanying some of the survivors and victims of abuse when they took part in the diocesan phase of the Synod and how the subsequent submission from this group, which goes to the heart of our own need for conversion, was a call to the Church to hear their prophetic voice and to act on the wisdom of their experience. The recording can be heard here: HERE
Further material for the day of Prayer can be found Resources section of the website – HERE
At the request of the Safeguarding Designated Liaison Person, Towards Peace provided an in-house workshop to Dominican student seminarians as part of their formation training.
The Towards Peace Coordinator addressed the priests of the archdiocese of Tuam at their in-service training days on Caring for the Spirit.
The Towards Peace Coordinator was invited to be a guest at part of the AGM of AMRI, as they launched their national strategic plan, A Future with Hope
At the launch of the National Synthesis Report in August 2022, the Towards Peace submission outlining the experiences of the Survivors in their treatment by the Church, was sent to Rome as a separate appendix to the main report.
Towards Peace was represented at the Synodal Gathering in Athlone and was also part of the prayer service in Clonmacnoise.
Towards Peace was invited by the National Steering Committee to participate in the Synodal Process and responded to the invitation in two ways: by consulting with eight survivors and by reflecting on its own experience of working with survivors. This following submission is the culmination of that work
The fourth webinar in our promotion and awareness raising for Towards Peace was held for the Safeguarding Community on March 29th 2022. Given that members of the Safeguarding Community are very often the first person a victim or survivor of abuse may encounter, the webinar proved to be a very valuable awareness raising exercise as to what is involved in the service of Towards Peace and how the Safeguarding Community can serve to direct people towards the service.
On December 6th we held our annual half day of prayer and reflection for the spiritual companions and members of the Oversight Committee. Entitled ‘Coming Home – a reflective Space for Advent, due to Covid restrictions this event took place virtually and was facilitated by Dee Hennessy a spiritual companion on the Towards Peace panel.
Feedback from those who attended was universally positive and Towards Peace is grateful to Dee for giving so generously of her time and expertise to raise awareness of the importance of self- care, particularly with regard to the ongoing work of Towards Peace.
Webinar for Bishops and Congregational Leaders
Continuing our webinar programme, Bishops and Congregational Leaders were invited to attend a webinar entitled: Towards Peace – healing woundedness one soul at a time. The aim in hosting this webinar was to seek to empower Church leaders to understand at a deeper level the importance and ongoing relevance of Towards Peace.
Upwards of fifty people logged on to Zoom to hear powerful inputs from the two main contributors, Bernadette Fahy, a member of the Towards Peace Oversight Committee and a survivor of institutional abuse and Sister Margaret Mary Joyce SSL, a spiritual companion and a member of the Towards Peace panel. Although both had spoken previously at our webinar for the Towards Healing therapists, this was a very different experience and given the feedback both on the evening and subsequently, it appeared to have a profound impact on those who participated. The webinar was recorded and a copy was made available to the AMRI leadership teams.