Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila is inviting all clergy and the laity of the Archdiocese of Denver to offer prayers and fasting for survivors of sexual abuse on the first Friday of Lent.
Last year, the archbishop designated the first Friday of Lent as a day of voluntary prayer and fasting for the healing of sexual abuse survivors and in reparation for all sins against the dignity of persons and life. All faithful of the archdiocese are invited to partake in this on Feb. 28.
“We have made significant progress in addressing this grave evil within the Church, but we cannot let that progress cause us to forget the psychological, physical and spiritual wounds it has caused,” Archbishop Aquila wrote in a recent letter. “On this designated day once per year, I would urge you to also fast and set aside some extra moments of prayer and penance.”
Archbishop Aquila pointed to a few topics addressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church to consider in personal prayer and penance: The importance of penance, conversion and going to confession (CCC 1434-1435), why we need the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (CCC 2447), the Church’s teaching on the dignity of persons (CCC 1700) and what the Catechism teaches about sexual abuse (CCC 2389).
The opportunities for penance and reflection make the Lenten season the most appropriate time to designate such a day, Archbishop Aquila wrote in a letter last year.
“As we prepare for Lent, let us keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Jesus Christ,” the archbishop wrote. “As we continue to experience hardships in the Church and in the world, we are called to a deep conversion — both personally and collectively. May this archdiocesan day of prayer and fasting open our hearts to grow in holiness, so that every person will come to know the healing love of Jesus Christ.”