The First International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Trafficking,
8th February 2015
Individuals, friends, families and communities were united in prayer on the 8th of February, in response to Pope Francis’ invitation to the world, to honour the first international Day of Awareness and Prayer against Trafficking, on the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Here are samples of events that took place, throughout the RENATE Network.
In Albania, Bishop Frendo, OP presided over a very special Liturgy which was prepared in honour of St. Bakhita. The theme of ‘’Light Dispelling the Darkness of Trafficking’’ communicated a very hopeful message to all who attended. Prayer cards were distributed and people joined in prayer together. After the ceremony, there were conversations about how to be more proactive in working against human trafficking.
Press releases with resources have been circulated in countries worldwide, by numerous organisations working to combat human trafficking.
These resources, inter-faith prayer services, prayers, songs and intercessions are readily accessible to all who wish to avail of them, on the public domain of the RENATE website: Resources in Various Languages.
In the UK, members of RENATE marked the day by submitting writing on the life and story of Saint Bakhita that featured in parish newsletters. Prayer cards for the victims of human trafficking were distributed at Churches. Silent vigils were observed and prayer groups convened.
Morning Mass, broadcast from Brentwood Cathedral gave special mention to the day in which Fr. Martin Boland gave his homily on Bakhita’s life: Sunday Worship in Brentwood Cathedral, 8th February 2015 (the text is available on screen, beneath the recording).
Caritas Slovakia organised a prayer service on the occasion of the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.This prayer service took place at the Jesuit Church in Bratislava on Sunday, 8th February 2015.
Caritas Slovakia has been helping the victims of human trafficking for seven years and took this opportunity to join the world in prayer for more than 21 million women, men and children who suffer from modern slavery.
The prayer service, broadcast live on the national radio, was accompanied by the songs of Taize, performed by the professional church choir Chorus Salvatoris. Initial introductory words and opening prayers were followed by Psalms and stories of trafficked Slovak victims. Candles of hope were placed on each continent of the world map symbolizing the global extent of human trafficking. Then intercession prayers were read for particular and all victims, but also for traffickers, pimps, government and church representatives as well as for all of us to be able to face the globalisation of indifference with globalisation of solidarity. All participants then lit candles for freedom and dignity. Images of St. Josephine Bakhita printed on a prayer card, were distributed to all participants.
Together with the Dutch Conference of Religious, the SRTV in the Netherlands, devised inter-faith prayer services, comprising prayers, hymns and intercessions to share with the churches and congregations throughout the Netherlands and also Belgium. The national broadcasting station also featured these services, in the Netherlands.
In Romania, the opportunity was taken on the 1st of February, at the official opening day for the Year of Consecrated Life, to share fliers, prayer cards and information in preparation for the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking, with representatives from all the religious orders present at the official opening. These were then distributed at the parish Masses or prayer services dedicated to the victims of human trafficking in and from Romania.
The award winning Ten Ten Theatre Company in London, premièred a specially commissioned film of the Saint Bakhita story and human trafficking, which was screened in London on her feast day, 8th February. The twenty-six minute documentary film follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of modern slavery and what they can do to stop it. A two minute preview of the film is available on the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
The Ten Ten Theatre Company have worked with The Medaille Trust as well as TRAC UK for the past eighteen months, in the making of this documentary film. Previously, the theatre group produced a one-woman play on human trafficking entitled, This is my Body, written by Martin O’Brien, founding member of the Company.
The Fundación Amaranta in Majorca, Spain, recorded the testimonies of the women they are supporting to recover from trafficking. Through their testimony, their voices will be heard and no-one can turn a deaf ear to their stories.
There are many, many more special events which have taken place and we will feature according as people share their news.
RENATE Communications Person