This weekend, all Catholic church communities across the Diocese of Clogher mark Safeguarding Sunday in the diocese. This is an initiative of the Diocesan Safeguarding Committee and its aim is to highlight the importance of safeguarding in all aspects of the Church’s life as well as re-stating the commitment of the diocese to the care and protection of children and of adults who may be at risk of harm and in need of special care. Today’s marking of this important area in the life of the Church comes as the special meeting in Rome on Safeguarding, called by Pope Francis, draws to a conclusion.
At the beginning of every Mass in the diocese this weekend, a Candle of Atonement will be blessed and lit after the assembly has prayed the Penitential Rite based on that used by Pope Francis at the final Mass of the World Meeting of Families in the Phoenix Park last August.
A lay member of the Parish Safeguarding Committee in each parish will address congregations on the ongoing work that is being done at all levels in the church, especially concerning the many developments in training, vetting of personnel and the care of victims and survivors of abuse over the last number of years. The updating of Standards and Guidance, as well as compliance with the obligations of civil law, will also be highlighted.
Speaking ahead of this weekend, the Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Larry Duffy, said, ‘I welcome this Safeguarding Sunday and the Candle of Atonement initiative. The accompanying prayer was written by a survivor of abuse in our own diocese, to whom I extend my sincere thanks. I hope that the Candle of Atonement and the accompanying prayer become a permanent feature of our churches, reminding us of the constant need for repentance, for us to seek forgiveness as a Church community for the awful crimes that were committed against vulnerable people and to symbolise light amidst darkness and the Christian hope that we are all called to bear witness to.’
Bishop Duffy thanked those involved in the work of safeguarding in all parishes of the diocese. ‘Their selfless and willing generosity in ensuring that all our parishes and diocesan agencies are safe places for people bears witness to the love of God made visible in our midst. It is at the heart of our Christian mission’, he said.
He urged people to remain vigilant and to report any concerns, encouraging them to access the information that is available in every church and via the diocesan website www.clogherdiocese.ie and on www.safeguarding.ie
Bishop Duffy will bless and light the Candle of Atonement and dedicate the accompanying prayer at the beginning of the Vigil Mass in St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan this evening at 6pm.
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.