Worldwide Day of Prayer & Fasting
Below you will find suggestions on how to structure a day of prayer and fasting in support of the victims of clergy sexual abuse. This devotion was first done as a worldwide day of prayer and fasting in June 2002, but it can be done anytime by anyone as an individual or group. Simply modify prayers and guidelines to meet your needs and circumstances.
Please note also that not everyone will be able to participate in a larger, communal way. However, your individual participation and devotion unites you with thousands of others, and with the power of the Spirit.
DAY OF PRAYER & FASTING
Gather in your parish church, at your office, or at home. Wear a purple/red ribbon, symbolizing both our sorrow for the abuse of our children and our need for the Spirit of wisdom.
Opening Prayer: (after morning Mass)
We come together in faith and in the Spirit, the Spirit that enlivens each of us and draws us together, the Spirit that unites us. Our unity is our power, the power of the Holy Spirit manifest. May our prayer on this day move heart and minds throughout the world to the reality of the grave wound in our Church, of our movement away from our humble and holy beginnings in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
May our prayer move hearts and minds throughout the world to understand the brokenness and pain of all those abused by clergy and to reach out to heal wounds by demanding justice. May our prayer move hearts and minds to examine the truth of our Church, its wondrousness and its shame, its perpetuation of injustice and its healing and life-giving heart. Amen.
Explanation of Fasting
Distribution of Day’s Program (prayers, meditations, music)
Proceeds from fasting will go to Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP). To calculate the proceeds, add up the money you did not spend on food this day. Send this amount as a contribution to SNAP or to a local chapter of this national survivors organization.
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, come Spirit of our risen Christ, come Holy Wisdom. In our time of crisis, we call out to you. We long for your healing action in our lives, in our Church, and in our world. As you helped form the disciples of Jesus into His living presence in the world, help us, we who are baptized into Jesus’ very own life and death, to truly become the Body of Christ on this earth. Make us powerful disciples of His love, His mercy, and His justice. Come, Holy Spirit, come, Spirit of our risen Christ, come, Holy Wisdom. Amen.
(Listed selections are from Breaking Bread or Music Issue from Oregon Catholic Press, and Ritual Songfrom Gregorian Institute of America)
“Come, Holy Ghost,” OCP/GIA
“Send Us Your Spirit” (David Haas), OCP/GIA
“Spirit, Come” (Gregory Norbert), OCP
MORNING PRAYER (for all) – light candle at all prayer times
Scripture Passage: Isaiah 58.8a and 9a
“Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed.”
A Litany for Healing
What can we do? We cry out to the Lord.
How can we heal? We cry out to the Lord.
Why did they suffer? We cry out to the Lord.
How can they heal? We cry out to the Lord.
How could they deceive? We cry out to the Lord.
How shall we be one? We cry out to the Lord.
“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say, ‘Here I am’.”
Meditation (based on passage): Quiet Reflection
Blessing Over Food
God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer of Life, bless this meal before us. Open our hearts to appreciate the gift of this simple nourishment. Open our hearts to be always mindful of your healing and nourishing action in our lives and in our Church. Bless the hands that tilled the earth, harvested the bounty, prepared and delivered this food to us. Bless, especially, those among us who have been abused and who hunger for healing and wholeness. Amen.
“Bread for the World” (Bernadette Farrell),. OCP
“In the Breaking of the Bread” (Bob Hurd), use original verses, OCP/GIA
“Lord, Who At Thy First Eucharist” (William Turton), OCP
“At That First Eucharist” (William Turton), GIA
Scripture Passage: Ephesisans 4:15
“Rather, living in the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from who the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body¹s growth and builds itself up in love.”
Meditation on Ephesians
Together we are called through our common baptism to function as the Body of Christ in our world. Each must bring their gifts, their holiness, their poverty, their brokenness to this work. Call to mind those ways in which you have acted to function as the Body of Christ to bring about healing, to build up the Body of Christ in love and justice around this crisis in our Church.
Invocation of the Spirit (same as Invocation above)
“We Are Many Parts” (Marty Haugen), OCP/GIA
“You Have Called Us” (Bernadette Farrell), OCP
“Sing a New Church” (Delores Dufner), OCP
“They’ll Know We Are Christians” (Peter Scholtes), OCP
NOON (meal can be communal)
Preparation of Meal
Scripture Passage: Isaiah 58:6-9a
“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: ‘Here I am’.”
Blessing Over Food (same as previous blessing)
“Let Us Break Bread Together” (traditional), OCP/GIA
“Beyond the Days” (Rick Manalo), OCP
Scripture Passage: Psalm 46:1-3
“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.”
Meditation (on Psalm 46)
Has God been your refuge and strength and an ever present help in distress? When have you called on God in distress? How were you answered? Now, imagine the vulnerability of a child abused who wonders where God is in the midst of this abuse? Ponder a totally unprotected self. What might it be like to feel unable to see God as a refuge and strength, to have had that also taken from you? As Church, our “earth has been shaken.” Where do we turn? What is our fear?
Reading: “The Fruits of the Spirit”
from Out of the Ordinary by Joyce Rupp
Surprising One, coming in ways I least expect, open me to your dynamic presence.
Awaken me, Surprising One!
Perceptive Guide, always available to direct my ways, advise me in self-discipline and decision making.
Awaken me, Perceptive Guide!
Freedom Bringer, asking for my willingness to surrender, help me to let go, to let in, to let be.
Awaken me, Freedom Bringer!
Source of Power, providing stamina and strength for my soul, support me when I am weak and vulnerable.
Awaken me, Source of Power!
Peacemaker, offering forgiveness and understanding, encourage me to communicate with love.
Awaken me, Peacemaker!
Bearer of love, never-ending font of charity and compassion, may I share my goodness generously.
Awaken me, Bearer of Love!
Prayer in Crisis
Even in our maturity we still feel in need of your protection, wondrous God, who created us out of love, for love. It is so very difficult to imagine the depths of pain and brokenness that await those abused. Help us to become healers of this awful wound. Show us the way as believers, as Church, to become brothers and sisters to those in such grave need. How difficult to imagine a life where you are not a source of “help in distress,” yet this is the truth we must face. Do not let us turn our hearts and minds from this truth. In your name, lead us to those in need. Empower us be the “ever present help” needed at his painful point in our Christian history. Amen.
“Healer of Our Every Ill” (Marty Haugen), GIA
“On Eagle’s Wings” (Michael Joncas), OCP/GIA
“You Are Near” Dan Schutte, OCP
1. At Church
Liturgy: Prayers, readings, petitions of the day
Focus on Eucharist as the meal with which we break our fast
Homily: Fasting, power of Holy Spirit
Offertory: Donations of “food,” money for SNAP
Prayer: Voice of the Faithful Prayer before final blessing
After Mass: Soup and bread
2. At Home
Blessing over food:
God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. We come before you this day to offer our prayer and fasting in hopes of healing the wound in our Church, the wound in the hearts and psyches of all those abused by clergy.
You are the Light, the Truth, and the Way; the Light that will illuminate the secrecy that has prevented those abused from finding healing in the Body of Christ; the Truth, which will free each of us to be genuine and powerful disciples of your love, mercy and care; the Way, to restore your peace and justice in all the works of the Church. Amen.
“Break the fast” Meal
Scripture Passage: Matthew 6:16
“When you fast, do not look gloomy like hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except your father who is hidden. And your Father who is hidden will repay you.” While we want the world to know by our fasting of our support for those abused by priests, our faces are gleaming bright with hope and confidence in God’s saving power.
“Christ, Be Our Light” (Bernadette Farrell), OCP
“We Are Called” (David Haas), GIA
“City of God” (Dan Schutte), OCP/GIA
Voice of the Faithful Prayer
Suggestions: Supportive actions
Send an email of support to SNAP.