Kildare and Leighlin Diocesan Launch of ‘Towards Peace’
Bishops House, Carlow
This day two weeks we celebrate Christmas Day – December 25th, the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Counsellors and therapists remind us of the high demand for support services around these festive times, when the family gathered together can occasion difficult memories of the past. There are none more disturbing than the memories of an innocent victim of abuse by someone who should have cared, by someone who was in a position of respected trust, by someone who represents the Church – a priest, a religious, a parish worker.
Towards Peace, along with Towards Healing and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, is one of the services that form the pastoral response to abuse by the Irish Church. Towards Peace is a spiritual support service for survivors whose faith has been damaged by abuse. As Una Allen and Sr. Mary Whyte have said this new service is being rolled out on a regional and a diocesan basis at this time. It is important that as many people as possible, both survivors and those who come in contact with them, are aware that this spiritual support is now available to those who have suffered horrendous abuse by people who represented the church to them in Ireland.
Yesterday it was the turn of Ferns; today is the turn of Kildare & Leighlin to launch this Spiritual Support Service. Here in Kildare & Leighlin we have 146 Parish Safeguarding Reps; 4 Safeguarding Trainers, the Co-ordinator of Safeguarding is David Dwyer and our Designated Liaison Person is Joan Treacy. Safeguarding is further resourced by Rosie Boyd here at Bishops House. The Diocese has a very active Diocesan Safeguarding Committee. Recently 645 parishioners from the 56 parishes attended Safeguarding Information Evenings. This morning I thank all who give so generously to ensure best practice exists in all areas of safeguarding here in our Diocese.
Towards Peace is a survivor led initiative, in that it is a direct response to what survivors of abuse asked for; a direct response to help them come to terms with, and cope with what has happened in their shattered lives, and we realize each one is on a journey of their own. Each one is in a different place and this initiative accepts wherever the victims find themselves and doesn’t push them further than they are ready to journey. I am delighted to officially launch a service that I have no doubt will be availed of by survivors of abuse here in Kildare and Leighlin and far beyond. As we gather in two weeks’ time to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, may we never forget those whose inner peace was robbed by those who should have known and acted better.