This year’s Worldwide Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Abuse will take place on 24 February, the first Friday of Lent. The Day of Prayer is an initiative of Pope Francis and was first marked in Irish dioceses in 2017. Blessed candles will be lit in parishes across the country as a reminder to the faithful of the need for atonement and to symbolise repentance; light in the darkness and hope. These ‘Candles of Atonement’ will be lit in diocesan cathedrals and churches on the Day of Prayer, and thereafter during the celebration of Mass and other liturgies. The lighting of the ‘Candle of Atonement’, and the following prayer, are based on the very moving Penitential Rite composed and prayed by Pope Francis at the final Mass of the World Meeting of Families on 26 August 2018 at Phoenix Park, Dublin, when the Holy Father implored the Lord’s mercy for the crimes of abuse and asked for forgiveness:
Liturgy for Blessing and Dedication of Candle of Atonement
The following prayer of repentance was given to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin, by a person who had suffered abuse with the intention to share in parishes. In 2012 the prayer was inscribed on the healing stone which was unveiled at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, and its permanent site is now at Lough Derg, Co Donegal, in the Diocese of Clogher.
Prayer of repentance
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.
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.
Prayers of Intercession
Introduction: with humility of heart, we pray to God, whose love and faithfulness endures forever.
We pray for people who have been abused
that the Lord of all tenderness and compassion
will restore them and give them peace.
We pray that we become more and more a community
that actively protects the most vulnerable people of society, particularly our children.
We pray that the Spirit of Wisdom enlightens people
to put an end to acts of violence and abuse.
We pray for the healing professions
who minister to those who suffer violence and abuse,
that God will give them an abundance of wisdom, compassion and love.
God our rock and our strength on whom we lean,
help us to create an atmosphere of trust
which allows the unspeakable to be said.
Help us to live with our painful memories.
May we support each other and be safe places for each other.
Through Christ, our Lord.
To download an MS Word version of the Liturgy of Blessing and Dedication of the Candle of Atonement please click here