Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin has called all faithful to join in a Novena of Reparation starting Tuesday, October 9th through October 17th to pray for victims of abuse and offer prayers of reparation.
In an interview from August, when the Pennsylvania grand jury news broke, Bishop Joe said the following:
Editor: Are you calling for any special Masses or novenas for the reparations of the sins of sexual abuse?
Bishop Vásquez: Yes, in the next month, I will be asking the priests, deacons, religious and lay people of the Diocese of Austin to join together in a prayerful act of reparation. Please watch our website (www.austindiocese.org) and your parish bulletin for announcements. My intention is for all of us to come together to ask God to console and help the victims begin to heal from the tragedy of sexual abuse. We will also come together to challenge the church to be proactive in defending our youth and children. (Read entire interview here)
The Diocesan website offers many ideas for how to participate in this Novena of Reparation, including attending the special masses being celebrated around the Diocese Tuesday evening the 9th (check with your parish for specific information), offering daily prayers for the victims of abuse, fasting, offering prayers for the Church and her ministers, acts of penance, mercy and service, praying the rosary on your own or with a group, and praying daily the “Prayer for Our Church” – shown at the bottom of this post. For more ideas for acts of reparation, see the Diocese’s page here.
How will you respond?
This is a beautiful invitation to each of us to come together in solidarity to support victims of abuse, and to proclaim that we want to be a part of the solution to this crisis, that we want to give an answer to our times.
The Church cannot heal without the involvement of the lay members, and each and every one of us is an essential and irreplaceable part of the Body of Christ – as such, I think we are each faced with answering the question of how God is calling us to respond to the current situation. This novena is a powerful opportunity to intercede for the victims – and for our shepherds – that God’s healing mercy and purifying grace may be poured all the more richly upon all those who need it most – and upon us all.
Bishop Joe ended the interview with sharing his prayer for these times:
Bishop Vásquez: At this point of tremendous pain and suffering in our church, my prayer is that all victims of abuse may be consoled and wrapped in the loving arms of Christ. May we hold the leaders of our church, including myself, accountable for our actions and our errors. And may all of us, clergy, religious and laity, work together to end sexual abuse in the church and beyond.
What if today was Day One?
To close, I’d like to offer an anthem for us this week: Day One by Matthew West. This song is about how today can be Day One of the future – Day One of things being different. He also sings “Every morning, new mercies”, referencing the verse from Lamentations, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).
So, on Day One of this Novena of Reparation, and indeed in this spirit each morning these 9 days, let us pray for God’s new mercies and steadfast love to heal all those harmed by the sin of abuse, and open our hearts in His grace with childlike trust that God will use this moment to cleanse and renew the entire Church. And may our Blessed Mother, the one in whom natural and supernatural life exist in perfect harmony, intercede for us all to educate, order and transform our minds, hearts and bodies, that we – the Mystical Body of Christ – might become a more faithful living portrait of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Read more: Matthew West – Day One Lyrics | MetroLyrics
A PRAYER FOR OUR CHURCH
In every age, you have been our refuge.
Yet again and still, we stand before you
asking for your protection on your holy Church.
For the victims of abuse and their families,
pour out your healing and your peace.
For the Bishops of this country,
continue to inspire their decisions,
and guide them with your Spirit.
For the thousands of good and faithful priests,
who have followed your call to serve you and your people in holiness,
sustain them by your grace.
For the faithful who are angry, confused, and searching for answers,
embrace them with your love,
restore their trust,
console them with your clear Gospel message,
and renew them with your sacraments.
We place our Church in your hands,
for without you we can do nothing.
May Jesus, our High Priest and true compass,
continue to lead her in every thought and action –
to be an instrument of justice,
a source of consolation,
a sacrament of unity,
and a manifestation of your faithful covenant.
Grant this through that same Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
~ Rita Thiron
Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions