Prayer for victims of childhood sexual abuse on Holy Innocents day (28 December-annually)
Churches are asked to hold a vigil for victims of childhood sexual abuse on Holy Innocents Day. For town centre churches this may mean being open with prayer activities for people to join in as they are able, from 12.00 noon until 3.00pm. Other churches may hold a special evening service. Material on this page is freely available for download and adaptation.
Rebecca M. Hodel-Jones writes …
In 2012, in response to revelations about the heinous crimes of sexual abuse against children a body of material was put together in conjunction with WATCH Membership and the Social Responsibility Network.
Vigils were held on Holy Innocents Day, 28 December 2012. The church’s message of support for the survivors of abuse being made explicit through holding the vigils on that particular day in the church calendar.
Vigils were held again in subsequent years.
The body of material is available. The link is www.srnet.org.uk/liturgy-prayers/prayer-child-victims-sexual-abuse/ and it can be accessed from www.srnet.org.uk by going to the resources tab then liturgy and prayers and then Holy Innocents.
Alongside this is the suggestion that as individuals or at a small gathering in the home a used candle might be taken and re- lit. There will surely be plenty of used candles around after Christmas. As we know much abuse takes place in the privacy of the home. As this act of devotion is carried out and the candle is relit in support of those who have suffered sexual abuse as children the reflection may well be that once re-lit a used candle burns just as brightly as a new one.
I commend to you both holding a vigil and the supportive material and ask that you might consider what could possibly prevent you from carrying out the simple yet powerfully symbolic act of devotion on Holy Innocent’s Day.
Rebecca M. Hodel-Jones Secretary for WATCH in West Yorkshire and the Dales.
Material offered for a town centre church vigil
Notice – About Holy Innocents Day
Notice – Asking visitors to pray
Notice – Buttons as prayers for abused people
Notice – Candle prayer 1
Notice – Candle prayer 2
Notice – Stones as prayers for healing
Notice – Decision to stop abusing
Notice – Collection plate note
A liturgy to use as part of a vigil is available and can be downloaded here.