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:
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.