Mass held to remember victims of child abuse

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass for Victims of Child Abuse at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice on April 25, 2023.

This is the 16th year the Diocese has held a Mass to pray for the victims of abuse, which takes place in April to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Mass was celebrated on behalf of the victims of child abuse – to pray that the deep and unrelenting pain and wounds, they still suffer, are healed through the loving grace of Our Lord.

Bishop Dewane remarked that it was appropriate that the Mass was April 25, the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, Co-Patron Saint of the Diocese. St. Mark was a missionary who recorded what he saw in the early Church and today it is the responsibility of all to report what they see and respond to the crime of child abuse, in the Church, in the community or in the world.

“In this Mass we all pray for victims of that scourge that is child abuse. Through our hearts and minds of faith we reach out not only to those present (at the Mass) but throughout the Diocese and throughout the whole world, raising our voices to the Lord, asking Him to place a healing hand on those victims,” Bishop Dewane said.

“The sins of abuse in society and in the Church are toxic in their effect on faith, hope and on the lives of so many. Some victims have been able to hold fast to their faith while many others are no longer involved in the Church or in their faith because of the total betrayal they experienced. This betrayal is a great sin the Church must bear. Many victims have shown great courage in speaking out. To all victims, a loving response must be given, as these voices put a real light on a darkness that has existed for far too long.”

All Bishops, Pope Francis says, must carry out their pastoral ministry with utmost care to foster a protection for minors but also utmost care of those who have been abused.

“We are spurred every day to do more. Is the Church perfect? No. But as our Holy Father says, the Church has a very special role to play, and I as a Bishop certainly do also here in the Diocese. But we all have roles to play. Please be the eyes and ears in the community as we work together to end this scourge,” Bishop Dewane said.

Through a comprehensive Safe Environment program, the Diocese of Venice, and its entities, take very seriously the safety of all young people and vulnerable adults. The Diocese has a zero-tolerance policy, and works to prevent any instances of abuse, particularly against minors and vulnerable adults. This comprehensive program aims to protect the most vulnerable from all types of abuse while raising awareness to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.

Report any abuse against minors to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873. Further, if Diocesan personnel or volunteers are involved, also notify the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Benton, at 941-416-6114.

For more detailed information about what the Diocese of Venice does to prevent abuse or how to sign up for a Safe Environment class, please visit



During April, the Secretariat of the USCCB encourages the faithful to recite the Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse.

God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Courtesy of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Dios del amor infinito, Siempre presente, siempre justo; Tú nos cuidas y nos proteges Y nos diste a tu único Hijo Para salvarnos con su sangre en la cruz.

Jesús manso, pastor de la paz, Dígnate unir a tu propio sufrimiento El dolor de todos los que han sido heridos De cuerpo, mente y espíritu Por parte de aquellos que traicionaron la confianza puesta en ellos.

Escucha el clamor de nuestros hermanos y hermanas Que han sido lastimados gravemente, Así como el clamor de aquellos que los aman. Dales la esperanza que mitigue el desosiego de sus corazones, Dales la fe que calme sus espíritus perturbados. Concédeles justicia para su causa, Ilumínalos con tu verdad.

Espíritu Santo, consolador de corazones, Cura las heridas de tus hijos e hijas Y devuelve la integridad a lo que ha sido quebrantado. Concédenos el valor y la sabiduría, La humildad y la gracia, para actuar con justicia. Sopla tu sabiduría en nuestras oraciones y empeños. Que todos los que han sido heridos por el abuso encuentren paz y justicia.

Te lo pedimos por Cristo, nuestro Señor. Amén.

Courtesy of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.