Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced two evenings of prayer for survivors, their families and their friends to “advance the cause of protecting children and vulnerable adults.”

The first evening of prayer will be on Friday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. at All Saints Church in Albany, and this will be followed by a prayer service on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Bishop Scharfenberger announced the even­ings of prayer in a Sept. 27 letter to the faithful.

“We will pray together for victims of abuse, their families, our parishes, clergy, religious and laypersons, and especially for those who have lost heart because of the darkness of sin and evil,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. “We will also pray for your intentions and for the graces to grow together spiritually as we advance the cause of protecting children and vulnerable adults, extend pastoral care to those who suffer from abuse or trauma, and serve the Church in our respective roles during current challenges. All clergy and members of the Diocese are invited to join us.”

The Diocese of Albany, like all in the state, has been named in lawsuits after the passing of the Child Victims Act (CVA) on Aug. 14, which lifts the statute of limitations that precluded victims of child sexual abuse from bringing allegations before the courts. This “window,” as it is known, will be open for one year. 

Since the CVA went into effect, the Diocese and its entities have been named in over 40 lawsuits. 

“Our prayer service will offer Scripture readings, prayers, and my own reflections. We will also hear a survivor’s testimony and pray the Healing Voices Litany of Love, which is a prayer written and prayed regularly by Catholic survivors of clergy abuse from across the United States and Canada,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. “Special candles will be blessed and presented to parish representatives during the service so they may be included whenever a parish or small group gathers to pray for all who are ­affected by abuse and trauma.

“Please do your best to attend both of these gatherings as a visible sign of our dedication to Christian witness and service for those who are suffering and alienated and for all in our Diocese to find the courage to gather together in prayer.

“The best support we can offer the survivors in our parish families is to accompany them personally by our presence and prayer, as Pope Francis has exhorted us — corporal and spiritual works of mercy!”