The First Friday of each month is a time of grace to turn to God and implore God’s divine mercy in this plight that our Church is facing – the abuse of minors.
The Catholic community in Trinidad and Tobago is invited to fast during this First Friday, as the long tradition of our Church used to observe. We are called once more to participate in the Eucharist and to prayer.
Beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows–the Undoer of Knots,’ to guide our Church so that this scourge may be dealt with and that it will never happen again and pray earnestly for the victims who have endured this trauma. Pray also for spiritual renewal in our Church that we may truly experience a conversion of heart and return to the values of Jesus and His Gospel.
Pope Francis called for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse and to be involved in needed change within the Church.
“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God”, Pope Francis wrote August 20, 2018.
In a letter to the entire Church following widespread revelations, the Pope invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command”.
“This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse,” he said. “Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.”
“This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does… to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help,” he stated.
The penitential aspect of fasting will help Catholics to come before the Lord “as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion”, so that actions “attuned to the Gospel” can follow, he explained.
He prayed that fasting and prayer will open people’s ears to the pain of children, young people, and the disabled, that it will make Catholics “hunger and thirst for justice”, and impel the Church “to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.”
“It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable,” he continued.
“Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others,” he said. “An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.” (Adapted from catholicworldreport.com)
Prayer of Reparation
For crimes of abuse committed by clergy
God and Father of Mercy,
We your people come before you today in deep humility,
Aware of our own sins and asking your forgiveness.
Lord, we trust you to take care of us.
Time after time, you have rescued your people from power of their enemies,
You have renewed your covenant when your own people have broken it,
And you have healed the wounds which sin and unfaithfulness have unleashed on your sons and daughters.
Father, today we come before you invoking your mercy,
And offering you our prayers and sacrifices of reparation
For the scandalous crimes that have been committed
By some of those appointed to proclaim your Word and lead your Church.
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
We pray for the victims of these crimes, both known and unknown.
Protect them with your mighty hand,
Heal them with the soothing balm of your Spirit,
And console them with the loving presence of our heavenly Mother.
We pray for those who have committed these crimes.
Give them sincere repentance
And the humility to accept the consequences of their actions.
We pray for those responsible for correcting the abuses that have occurred.
Give them wisdom, a desire for authentic reform, and courage to carry it out.
We pray for those who have been scandalised by these crimes.
As your Son Jesus calmed the winds and waves,
Let Him speak His Word again to calm the confusion and concern in their souls.
Renew the faith of us all—
A faith which acknowledges that you have appointed shepherds to lead us
And a faith that likewise acknowledges that we have only one Master, the Christ,
And all of us are brothers and sisters.
Father, at the beginning of time,
Your Spirit hovered over the darkness and chaos,
And brought about light and life, order and beauty.
After the chaos of Good Friday and the darkness of Holy Saturday,
Your Spirit again breathed on the apostles,
And brought about a new wave of grace for the world.
Send that Spirit now
Upon our souls, upon our Church, and upon our world.
Keep our eyes fixed on you,
And renew our commitment to follow your Son,
In holiness of life,
And with the joy and peace that come only from you,
And that nobody can take away from us.
We pray with humility and with confidence,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
by Fr Frank Pavone, www.PrayerCampaign.org