Candle of Atonement and Prayer
The bishops of Ireland have blessed and dedicated Candles of Atonement for use in cathedrals and parishes throughout the country on the Day of Prayer and thereafter during the celebration of Mass and other liturgies.
Introducing the Candles of Atonement in 2019, Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “In lighting these candles we will bring to mind our brothers and sisters, and their families, who have been left with a lifelong suffering as a result of abuse, whose trust was so deeply betrayed and whose faith has been so cruelly tested within the sanctity of the Church by perpetrators of abuse.
“I have been privileged to meet with victims and survivors of abuse and members of their families in the four provinces of Ireland. Many have spoken to me about the importance of prayer for survivors, and for the need for the Church to be open to justice, to atone and never forget them. I have been humbled by their courage and overwhelmed by their generosity of spirit.
“I encourage dioceses and parishes to undertake this prayer initiative and to light the ‘Candle of Atonement’ in Cathedrals and churches across Ireland again this year. It would mean a lot to survivors if the ‘Candle of Atonement’ was a permanent feature in our Cathedrals and parish churches. People visiting the church for quiet prayer might light the ‘Candle of Atonement’, pray the prayer, and bring to mind someone they know who has been directly impacted or affected by abuse. I am convinced that prayer and outreach to survivors of abuse is a modern-day corporal and spiritual work of mercy.”
The following text was sent to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin by a person who suffered abuse so that it could be shared in parishes. This prayer was inscribed on the healing stone which was unveiled at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 and now has its permanent home at Lough Derg, Co Donegal.
Lord, we are so sorry
for what some of us did to your children:
treated them so cruelly,
especially in their hour of need.
We have left them with a lifelong suffering.
This was not your plan for them or us.
Please help us to help them.
Guide us, Lord, Amen.
Pope Francis will celebrate the International Day of Human Fraternity on Thursday, 4 February, in a virtual event hosted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, with the participation of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb; Secretary General António Guterres of the United Nations; and other personalities.
On the same occasion, the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, which is inspired by the Human Fraternity Document, will be awarded. The meeting and the award ceremony will be streamed in several languages starting at 14:30 (Rome time) - 13.30 (GMT time) - by Vatican News, the multimedia information portal of the Holy See, and broadcast by Vatican Media.
"This celebration responds to a clear call that Pope Francis has been making to all humanity to build a present of peace in the encounter with the other," stressed Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot MCCJ, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. "In October 2020, that invitation became even more vivid with the Encyclical Fratelli tutti. These meetings are a way to achieve true social friendship, as the Holy Father asks of us," he added. The date is no coincidence. On 4 February 2019, during an Apostolic Journey the Pope made to the United Arab Emirates, together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (Cairo), Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, they signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. The Pope and the Grand Imam spent almost half a year drafting this Document before announcing it together during such a historic visit. A few months later, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was established to translate the aspirations of the Human Fraternity Document into sustained engagements and concrete actions to foster fraternity, solidarity, respect and mutual understanding. The Higher Committee is planning an Abrahamic Family House, with a synagogue, a church and a mosque, on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. It established an independent jury to receive nominations for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity and choose winners whose work demonstrates a lifelong commitment to human fraternity. The 2021 prize will be awarded on 4 February.-
On 21 December 2020, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 4 February as International Day of Human Fraternity. "In this decisive phase of human history, we are at a crossroads: on the one hand, universal fraternity in which humanity rejoices, and on the other, an acute misery that will increase the suffering and deprivation of people," Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, secretary general of the High Committee of Human Fraternity, underlined during his presentation of the encyclical Fratelli tutti on 4 October 2020.
Pope Francis has encouraged the Holy See to join in the celebration of International Human Fraternity Day under the leadership of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In the January edition of the Pope's Video, “At the service of human fraternity,” the Holy Father highlights the importance of focusing on what is essential to the faith of all faiths: worship of God and love of neighbour. "Fraternity leads us to open ourselves to the Father of all and to see in the other a brother, a sister, to share life, or to support one another, to love, to know," Pope
Francis emphasises in the video.
About the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue was instituted in 1964 by Pope Paul VI with the aim of working on relations and dialogue between the Catholic Church and the faithful of other religions. It is currently chaired by Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot.
Among its main activities, it collaborates with bishops and Episcopal Conferences on matters related to interreligious dialogue; it holds meetings, visits and conferences with leaders of other religions; and it publishes various materials to promote dialogue between different faiths.
About the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity
The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity is made up of different international religious leaders, scholars and cultural leaders who were inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity and are dedicated to sharing its message of mutual understanding and peace.
Their main work is to act concretely according to the aspirations of the Document on Human Fraternity and to spread the values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. The Secretary General of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity is Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam.
Pontifical Council for Interreligious dialogue https://www.pcinterreligious.org/
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th - 25th January 2021
FOR THIS YEARS
Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit (cf. Jn 15:5-9)
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021 was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp.1 The theme that was chosen, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15:1-17. Jesus said to the disciples, “abide in my love” (Jn 15:9). He abides in the love of the Father (Jn 15:10) and desires nothing other than to share this love with us: “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father” (Jn 15:15b). Grafted into the vine, which is Jesus himself, the Father becomes our vinedresser who prunes us to make us grow. This describes what happens in prayer. The Father is the centre of our lives, who centres our lives. He prunes us and makes us whole, and whole human beings give glory to the Father.
Abiding in Christ is an inner attitude that takes root in us over time. It demands space to grow. It can be overtaken by the struggle for the necessities of life and it is threatened by the distractions, noise, activity and the challenges of life. In the turmoil of Europe in 1938, Geneviève Micheli, who would later become Mother Geneviève, the first mother of the community, wrote these lines which remain relevant today:
"We live in a time that is both troubling and magnificent, a dangerous time where nothing preserves the soul, where rapid and wholly human achievements seem to sweep beings away ... And I think that our civilization will die in this collective madness of noise and speed, where no being can think … We Christians, who know the full value of a spiritual life, have an immense responsibility and must realize it, unite and help each other create forces of calmness, refuges of peace, vital centres where the silence of people calls on the creative word of God. It is a question of life and death."
When we listen to Jesus his life flows through us. Jesus invites us to let his word abide in us (John 15:7) and then whatever we ask will be done for us. By his word we bear fruit. As persons, as a community, as the entire church, we wish to unite ourselves to Christ in order to keep his commandment of loving one another as He has loved us.
Statement of Solidarity with the Family and Friends of George Floyd and all people who experience Racism, not only in the USA but also here in Ireland and Worldwide.
“Fratelli tutti”: Pope Francis's New Social Encyclical
Fraternity and social friendship are the ways the Pope Francis calls us to build a better, more just and peaceful world, with the contribution of all: people and institutions. With an emphatic confirmation of a ‘no’ to war and to globalized indifference.
Today, with the new social Encyclical Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis shows the concrete way to reach that goal: recognizing ourselves as brothers and sisters because we are children, one another’s keepers, everyone in the same boat, as this pandemic has made even more evident.
The path Pope Francis indicates is founded on Jesus’s message that destroys every perception of the other as a stranger. In fact, every Christian is called to discover “Christ in each human being, recognizing him crucified in the sufferings of the abandoned and forgotten of our world, and risen in each brother or sister who” who gets back on their feet. The message of fraternity is one that can be accepted, understood and shared both by men and women who believe in other faiths, as well as the many women and men who are unbelievers.
The new Encyclical is presented as a summa of Pope Francis’s social teaching. It systematically gathers points that he has offered in speeches, discourses and interventions throughout the first seven years of his pontificate. One of its sources and inspirations is undoubtedly represented by the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, signed on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi together with the Grand Iman of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyib. From that shared declaration, a milestone in the dialogue between religions, the Pope reiterates his appeal that dialogue be the way, that common collaboration be the modus operandi, and that reciprocal understanding be the method and criterion.
It would, however, be remissive to relegate the new Encyclical solely to the sphere of interreligious dialogue. Fratelli tutti’s message, in fact, concerns us all. It contains enlightening pages even in the social and political areas. It may seem paradoxical that it is the Bishop of Rome, a voice in the desert, who is today reinitiating a project in favor of sound politics: politics capable of taking up again its specific role, after having trusted for too long a time in financial interests and the market myth that said they would produce well-being for everyone without the need of being governed.
There is an entire chapter dedicated to politics from the perspective of service and as a witness to charity, nourished by great ideals, that plans for the future by thinking about the common good rather than short-term gains, a future that keeps the younger generations especially in mind. And at a time in which many countries are closing themselves in, it is precisely the Pope who once again is extending the invitation not to lose trust in the international organisms, albeit in need of reform so that it is not only the strong that count.
Among the most powerful pages of the Encyclical are those dedicated to the condemnation of war and the rejection of the death penalty. Along the lines of Pope John XXIII’s Pacem in terris, starting with a realistic assessment of the catastrophic results that so many conflicts in the last decades have wreaked on the lives of millions of innocent people, Pope Francis recalls that it is very difficult today to sustain the rational criteria matured in past centuries underpinning the possibility of a “just war”. Just as unjustified and inadmissible is recourse to the death penalty, which must be abolished in the entire world.
- adapted from Vatican News.