The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will lead nine days of prayer and reflection for healing from sexual abuse, from April 18-26.

“This novena is offered for those directly harmed by sexual abuse, both in and outside the church,” Heather Banis, Victims Assistance Ministry Coordinator for the archdiocese, said April 17.

“Together we will pray for healing of our Church and communities, as we struggle to understand, atone, restore and re-imagine our church, our schools, and our neighborhoods, in the wake of the scandals that dominate the news, particularly as Catholics.”

April is marked as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States. With much of the world under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence advocates and other groups are warning that lockdowns may make those vulnerable to abuse even more vulnerable.

Many sexual abuse survivors are victimized by a known and trusted adult, Banis noted, and such betrayal is amplified when a shelter-at-home order confines a victim with their perpetrator.

Each day of the novena, a different parish in the archdiocese will host a prayer service or celebrate a livestreamed Mass dedicated to healing from sexual abuse.

During the novena, the archdiocese is asking Catholics to decorate and light a candle at home for the healing of those who have suffered from sexual abuse.

Prayer intentions and intercessions during the novena include the protection of the most vulnerable in our communities, for the healing and comfort of those who have been sexually abused, and for all families strive to provide safe and nurturing environments for children and young people, the archdiocese concluded.