By Vice-Provincial Fr. Dominic Tran, SDB
(New Rochelle, NY – March 23) – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year, on the first day of April, the Saturday before Holy Week, we will be reminded by the Gospel for Mass for that day that Jesus died "to gather into one the dispersed children of God."
To continue this mission of the Savior, it is a part of the mission of the Church to safeguard the dignity and well-being of all God's children, particularly those who are young and vulnerable, so that all might know the fullness of God's love. We also are called to pray for and do what we can to bring healing and peace to those who have been harmed by members of the Church.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors provides helpful resources for the ministry of safeguarding.
For prayer, Pope's Francis prayer for victims of abuse, issued for March 2023, might be useful:
God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth. Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility, and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.