Pope’s prayer intention for March

 Pope’s prayer intention for March  ING-010
10 March 2023

In his prayer intention for the month of March, Pope Francis prays for victims of abuse, “for those who have suffered because of the wrongs done to them by members of the Church”, that they may “find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering”.

The animated video, created together with Italian artist Hermes Mangialardo, is charged with symbolism. It begins in a dark house, whose walls are covered with pictures of different flowers, each representing a life. The flowers wither due to the lack of light, a symbol of the profound suffering caused by violence and abuse. “In response to cases of abuse, especially to those committed by members of the Church”, the Pope begins, “it’s not enough to ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is necessary, but it is not enough. Asking for forgiveness is good for the victims”, he explains, “but they are the ones who have to be ‘at the center’ of everything. Their pain and their psychological wounds can begin to heal if they find answers — if there are concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again”. In the video, this healing is represented by the curtains of the dark house being torn away, letting the light in and bringing the flowers back to life.

Pope Francis stresses that “the Church cannot try to hide the tragedy of abuse of any kind”, not even “when the abuse takes place in families, in clubs, or in other types of institutions”. Rather, he insists, “the Church must serve as a model to help solve the issue and bring it to light in society and in families”. He concludes by affirming that “the Church must offer safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected”.

Commenting on this month’s prayer intention, Fr Frédéric Forno, sj , Director of the Worldwide Prayer Network, notes that “this prayer space can lead us to reflect on the structural and ideological causes that have led to these abuses and to their being made invisible”, and adds, “Prayer opens our hearts, allows us to listen and see, and leads us to act against these crimes that disfigure the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the face of the Church”.

Available online at www.thepopevideo.org and translated into 23 languages, the video for the prayer intention for March was created and produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, in cooperation with La Machi Agency and the Dicastery for Communication.