Kathryn Kramer, MSW, LCSW
In 2006, the Diocese of Arlington started holding prayer services to pray for healing for those who have been abused. We learned from some survivors of abuse that it can be very difficult to sit through a Mass, but many people longed for a spiritual component to their healing.
Tonight, April 29, the Office of Victim Assistance will offer a prayer service to pray for healing from sexual abuse and all are welcome to attend. The prayer service will be held at 7:30 p.m. at St. Timothy Church in Chantilly.
The prayer service consists of a reading and psalm, Gospel and a brief homily. After the homily, a survivor of abuse speaks to the group about his/her struggles and efforts to heal. These individuals have worked in therapy and in our program and are willing to share their efforts to heal with others.
One amazing feature of the survivors’ testimony is how the story evolves. The survivors who choose to speak at the prayer services have made great strides in their healing. As they continue to progress, the focus of the survivors’ testimony often changes and reflects their growth and all of their efforts. Healing is a process, and these survivors’ testimonies echo that.
Just before the prayer service concludes, one of the Victim Assistance Coordinators gives a brief talk about the Office of Victim Assistance and its services. The prayer service then concludes with prayer and a song, and all are invited to a small reception, generally with punch and cookies. At the reception, participants can talk with each other, Fr. Mealey, and the Victim Assistance Coordinators. People can also take a card and contact one of the Coordinators via telephone or e-mail.
Please join us to pray in solidarity for those who have been abused!