Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse 2021

In consultation with survivors, the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse is observed on the Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter in England and Wales.

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Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) has highlighted the importance of prayer and suggested to Pope Francis that the worldwide Catholic Church should join together in a day of prayer for victims and survivors of Abuse. The Holy Father has welcomed this initiative.

From 2021, in response to a request from the Let’s Be Honest working group, the Bishops chose the Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter as the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse — 4 May 2021. There were two connected reasons for moving the Day of Prayer from Lent to Easter: this is not a penitential day for the failure of the Church and others to respond to the scourge of abuse but a day of prayer for those who have been abused in a season of hope and new life.

It is vitally important for the local Church to acknowledge and respond in prayer when it is able rather than restrict its activities to just one day in the year. Much of the material in this resource has been written by, and with, survivors. Though it is hoped that survivors will be included in any local initiative, that may not always be possible. This should not be a barrier to using the Let’s Be Honest service as it was prepared by survivors so that their voice would be heard – especially in places where it has not yet been heard.

Download

Some of these resources were first put out in 2020 but as the Day of Prayer came at the beginning of the first lockdown there were scarcely used. Hence, these simple resources are intended to be used on Tuesday 4 May or on the surrounding days. They may also be used at other times of the year. Indeed, the Service and the Mass, if offered across the deaneries of a diocese, could be celebrated throughout the year.

The resource for 2021 has four focal points:

  • Intercessions for any Parish Mass
  • Listening with Love to the Word — a series of Conversations by Survivors through hurting, healing and hope
  • Let’s be Honest — A Service of Sorrow and Acknowledgement of Abuse
  • A Diocesan/Deanery Mass

This PDF download contains information and resources to facilitate both liturgies – including preparation notes, guidance on support and additional prayers for the Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse.

Let’s Be Honest

This Service was written by survivors and has been used as a deanery focus for prayer. The Bishops used parts of this service when they met together in Valladolid in 2019 to listen to, and learn from the experiences of survivors of abuse.

Listening With Love

The Let’s Be Honest group has already released a resource called Listening With Love – inviting people to reflect on the impact of abuse on individuals and the Church. Read more.

Diocesan/Deanery Mass

A celebration of the Eucharist can be a powerful sign of the response of the local Church. It can provide a safe space for survivors and an opportunity for the community to show its concern. At the heart of the Eucharist is the broken body of an innocent victim which gives life and hope.

Survivors Advisory Panel

Leaflets prepared by the Survivors Advisory Panel:

Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation

This prayer has been prepared by the Diocese of Northampton. It can be used at Mass and at other times when the community gathers, such as meetings, on the day of prayer and in the days leading up to it. It could begin either on the preceding Sunday or there could be a novena of prayer beginning on Sunday 25 April.

Praise to you Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
the source of all consolation and hope.
Be the refuge and guardian of all
who suffer from abuse and violence.
Comfort them and send healing
for their wounds of the body, soul and spirit.
Help us all and make us one with you
in your love for justice
as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life.
Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating
your praise, both now and forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Additional Resources

You may find these resources, from previous years, useful when marking the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse.

An introduction, a meditation from a survivor, some reflections on selected Psalms from the Liturgy of the Hours for Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent and a Penitential Litany spoken by Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, 2018.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit by the Archdiocese of Boston, a prayer from the Archdiocese of Armagh and prayers from wellsprings.org.uk

Three different sets of Intercessions are offered – one set was composed by the Daughters of Mercy, a community of religious sisters in France, who were praying during the Vatican Summit in February 2019.

The following material could be used at Weekday Mass on Friday 12 April (Friday, 5th Week of Lent). In addition to this Priests may consider using one of the two Eucharistic Prayers of Reconciliation.

Two versions of familiar devotions are offered: Praying the Rosary — the Sorrowful Mysteries and Stations of the Cross.

A reflection on the Passion according to St John. We come before our God, who alone can lead us together in a path towards healing for all our brothers and sisters who have suffered so grievously as a result of our failures as Church.