The Annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse was marked in Ireland on 28 February, the first Friday of Lent.

– Ireland: “One day in the year which is really important”

Candles of Atonement were lit in cathedrals and parishes throughout the country.

On this day, the Bishops of Ireland asked people to remember and pray for all those who carry with them life-long suffering as a result of abuse.

Speaking about the Day of Prayer, the CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, Teresa Devlin said “it is one day in the year which is really important”, but she added that, “every day is important and we are consistently reminding Church leaders of the need to communicate their child safeguarding message.”

“It should be a constant part of safeguarding practice that people communicate and review their communication around child safeguarding”, she said.

The Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse is an initiative by Pope Francis and was first marked in Irish dioceses and parishes in 2017. 

– Irish Candle of Atonement Prayer

Lord, forgive us our many sins.

We grieve and repent with all our hearts for having offended you, for our great failings and neglect of the young and vulnerable.

We place all of those who have been hurt by the Church in any way into your loving hands and under the protection of Our Blessed Mother.

Lord, bring peace to their broken lives and show us all the way out of darkness and into the light of your Word.

May we as the people of God be more fully human, more fully Christ-like and more fully your people, that we may see the errors of the past and go forward with renewed hope and faith in Christ and in our Church.


(Source: Vatican News)

– Poland: “When one person suffers, others suffer together”

Meanwhile, in Poland, the first Friday of Lent also marked in the Church a Day of Prayer and Penance for the sins of sexual abuse of minors.

This initiative of the Polish Bishops’ Conference is a response to the Holy Father’s appeal encouraging the whole community of the People of God to pray and to fast in order to awaken our consciences.

“Standing together for the prayer of reparation, we learn the truth about the community of the Church in which no suffering or sin is a private matter.

“We are one organism for better or worse. When one person suffers, others suffer together, and the sin of each of us weakens the whole organism.

“On the other hand, conversion, penance and prayer of the one, strengthens and raises the whole community”, pointed out the delegate of the Polish Episcopate for the protection of children and youth, Archbishop Wojciech Polak.

On the first Friday of Lent, penitential liturgies for the sin of sexual abuse of minors were to be held in all parish communities in Poland.

Bishops were to personally conduct such liturgies in cathedral churches.

The first such liturgy took place on June 20, 2014 in the Jesuit Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Cracow.

(Source: Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference)

Next on Novena:

Francis delivers on promise to form special Vatican child protection “task force” to assist world’s bishops

Vatican pointman on child abuse insists that with new papal initiatives “silence and cover-ups now a thing of the past”

Irish Church safeguarding head warns “much more to be done” in responding to abuse survivors

Pope sends encouragement to child protection experts: “Evil can always be overcome”

Experts in Dresden warn clerical abuse of power an “existential threat” to Church, call on faithful to “step up” demands for reform

“Devastating”: Catholic ‘saint’ of the disabled accused of sex abuse of women

“Beast left to feed”: “Biggest ever” trial of pedophile priest in Poland again points up national Church’s abuse negligence

Debate continues over Church will to implement “zero tolerance” policy for pedophile priests

German TV accuses Benedict XVI of covering up for, meeting with pedophile priest

Bishops in Spain, Italy, France still not applying “zero tolerance” for priest abusers, enablers: survivors


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.