Join in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have been victims of sexual abuse by clergy or other trusted adults and with those who accompany them on their healing journey.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 at 11 a.m. all are welcome to the 10th Annual Mass for Hope and Healing at St. Agatha Catholic Church (3151 W. Douglas Blvd., Chicago, 60623). The Mass will also be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/st.agathachicago/. Bishop Mark Bartosic and Father Larry Dowling, pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church, will preside at the Mass. Please join in person or virtually as victims, families and the People of God pray together and seek hope and healing. See the flyer in Parish Bulletin News.
About the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Healing Garden
The Healing Garden of the Archdiocese of Chicago is a place dedicated to the healing, recovery and reconciliation of child abuse victims and their families, a place where the community comes together each year during the month of April which is observed as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"Yes, ours is a Church of many nations and many cultures, a diversity that we must respect, but zero tolerance when it comes to harming children and full accountability are non-negotiable. These are not values to be held in the abstract, or simply codified as a list of procedures to be ticked off as a matter of routine. No, they must be lived values. They must be values that permeate the very air we breathe as a Church—so that everyone from the volunteer tutor to the bishop knows that building a culture of accountability, justice and healing is essential to what it means to be church, to follow Christ’s call.”
Create a banner, pinwheel, poem or other creative display about child-abuse prevention. Send a photo to the Office for the Protection of Children & Youth: we will display images of your projects on our webpage and on the Archdiocese of Chicago social media pages.
Consider creating your own pinwheel garden and hanging blue ribbons (around trees, on fences/gates, etc.) at your parish/school.
Dedicate a moment during Mass or school assembly to child-abuse prevention: make an announcement, say a prayer, read a poem, or have a moment of silence.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has developed resources to be used during the month of April:
Liturgy Resource Guide
Prayer Service for Healing
Child Abuse Prevention Blessing
The USCCB website offers opportunities to participate, and some resources that can be used in your own local diocese, parish, and/or school: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/child-abuse-prevention-month.cfm
Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is part of a national movement by Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) to not only raise awareness to child abuse, but also to promote supporting positive practices to allow healthy child development.
The Archdiocese of Chicago joins PCA America in planting pinwheel gardens throughout the archdiocese to remind each of us of the important role we play in children’s and young people’s daily lives.
The blue ribbon has been a national symbol of child-abuse awareness since 1989 when Bonnie Finney, a grandmother whose 3-year-old grandson died at the hands of his mother’s abusive boyfriend, tied a blue ribbon to her van as a support of her personal commitment to involve everyone in the effort to raise awareness of child abuse.
While the blue ribbon has served the purpose of increasing awareness of the prevalence of abuse and neglect in communities, a new message able to advance the prevention of abuse and neglect in terms of behavior change, societal solutions and policy priorities was needed. The message shifted from the problem of abuse to the solution of effective prevention: Therefore, a symbol that would represent this shift and provide an imagery of healthy child development was identified. In 2004, PCA Florida selected the pinwheel and adopted Winds of Change as the statewide campaign. In 2008, PCA America adopted the pinwheel and created a national signature campaign called Pinwheels for Prevention. [Source: Pinwheels for Prevention – 2011 Pinwheels for Prevention Toolkit]
Every April, we commemorate Child-Abuse Prevention Month to highlight the importance of protecting minors from abuse. This year, we are offering the following activities and resources to dioceses/eparchies.
Rosary for Healing and Protection On Friday, April 6 at 2 p.m. ET, the staff of the USCCB will gather to pray a osary to Our Lady with special intentions for victims/survivors of abuse and the defense of the vulnerable. The Rosary will be streamed live on the USCCB Facebook and Twitter pages to encourage public participation. We encourage you to share these pages on your social media platforms and pray a Rosary in your own dioceses/eparchies. A Rosary is also prayed every month. In March, the Diocese of Savannah will be hosting the Rosary. If your diocese is interested in hosting a future Rosary, please let us know so we can promote it. For more information visit: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/index.cfm
Holy Mass with Special Intentions for Victims/Survivors and the Protection of Minors On Thursday, April 12 at noon ET in the USCCB Chapel, Most Rev. Mario Eduardo Dorsonville-Rodríguez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, will preside at Holy Mass with special intentions for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults, and the healing of victim/survivors. Following Mass, staff will gather in the atrium of the USCCB to plant pinwheels inside (in lieu of an outdoor “pinwheel garden”). These pinwheels will serve as a reminder throughout the month of the importance of protecting children from abuse. We encourage you to host your own Mass in April. A sample Liturgy and Prayers of the Faithful can be found in the Resource Booklet provided below.
Call to Prayer On Friday, April 13, the USCCB will promote a Call to Prayer. Dioceses and parishes can consider promoting that day for prayer and sacrifice for this intention: “We pray that God may grant those affected by abuse in any way the courage to tell their story and seek healing.” More about the Call to Prayer is available at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/call-to-prayer/index.cfm
Op-ed from Dr. Francesco Cesareo, NRB Chair We invite you to share this op-ed from the Chair of the National Review Board, titled "Lessons Learned: A Time for the Church to Lead," with your local media. The article highlights the efforts of dioceses in protecting children, and notes that secular organizations can learn from the practices of dioceses to better prevent abuse. You can find the op-ed here.
Additional Resources The Secretariat has also created resources that dioceses and parishes can use to promote Child-Abuse Prevention Month including sample social-media posts, bulletin inserts, and Prayers for the Faithful. These resources can be found on the USCCB website.
The Resource Booklet is also available, which now includes sample media posts and suggested activities throughout the month.