2021 Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse

Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:

2021 Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse

It is our duty as believers to do our best to protect the dignity of life, a precious gift from God. Unfortunately, numerous cases have been reported all over the world of clergy who should be the model in fulfilling this duty but had actually committed acts especially of sexual abuse that cause serious humiliation and violation on human dignity. It has been disclosed that among them are priests who had committed despicable acts of sexual abuse involving minors, the very ones who truly need protection.

In addition, there are also several cases in which the Church authorities, including the bishop, have covered up the abuse perpetuated by clergy. The Catholic Church in Japan is no exception.

Pope Francis urges the entire Catholic Church to take seriously this issue on sexual abuse involving the clergy, to acknowledge these sins, to pray for forgiveness, and to strive to restore the dignity of the victims. At the same time, the Holy Father has called on episcopal conferences throughout the world to institute a special day of prayer. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan has designated the second Friday of Lent as the “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse.”

For this year 2021, the “Day of Prayer and Penance for the Victims of Sexual Abuse” will be this coming 5th of March (Friday).

I would like to call on all the parish communities of the Tokyo Archdiocese to offer the Holy Mass on this day or on the Sunday immediately after that day for this intention of the Holy Father. In the celebration of the mass, the “Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation” will be used. It is also recommended that a special prayer for this intention be offered on the 5th of March, even if the Holy Mass will be celebrated some other day as on Sunday. In order to pray together as one community, we may use the prayer prepared by the Diocese of Niigata.

Moreover, the Archbishop will be celebrating at the St. Mary’s Cathedral Tokyo the 10:00 am Sunday Mass of Sekiguchi Catholic Church on 7 March (Sunday) for this intention. Please join us in prayer.

As we acknowledge the sins of indifference and covering up made by the Church, we sincerely apologize to all the victims of sexual abuse. Renewing our commitment in faith, let us pray and act in charity so that nothing like this would ever happen again.

Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo