In honour of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons, The Bakhita Network in Poland, the Inter-Religious Network for the Prevention and Aid for the Victims of Contemporary Slavery, collaborated with two other foundations to organise a night Vigil at the Basilica of the Holy Cross, Warsaw on the 3rd/4th February with the theme ‘Turn night into the POWER of charity.’
Preceded by references to the issue of human trafficking in the Press, on radio, in advertisements on websites and social media, the Vigil was open to all who were touched by the tragedy of our enslaved brothers and sisters. A special invitation was extended to those who made extra efforts to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 03.00 on the first Saturday of every month throughout the year. The Divine Mercy Chaplet focused specifically on praying for the victims of human trafficking, the perpetrators of their suffering and an appeal to bring an end to human trafficking in the world.
Together that night, we listened to the cry of the victims and prayed “Father, they are your children, not slaves.”
Subsequent to the Vigil, the Catholic Press, radio and print media in Poland, published articles about the Vigil and about the problem of modern slavery in the world and in our country.
The Vigil programme (from 21.00 p.m to 5.00 a.m) was as follows:
- Bishop Grzegorz Ryś, Bishop of Krakow, presided over the Eucharist. His touching sermon confronted our attitudes as he emphasised our collective responsibility to take action and gave examples of what each of us can and should do in order to stop this crime, in accordance with the Word of God;
- The Hour of Voices – stories of human trafficking victims followed by marimba music and prayers of intercession;
- The Gesture of Solidarity – the possibility of spiritual adoption of one victim of human trafficking, where a person prays for the victim, for one year. More than 470 people undertook this gesture of solidarity. They each received two silicone wristbands: one to remember their undertaking and the second wristband was inscribed with ‘’I am with you,’’ translated in four languages. The name of the person who will pray, will be shared with the specific victims living in sheltered housing in different countries;
- The Rosary – illustrated with sand painting and music;
- Healing and worship prayer
- The Divine Mercy Chaplet;
- Tea offered an opportunity to meet each other and discuss the night’s theme.
- The documentary ‘Nefarious: Merchant of Souls’ – was shown to those who wanted to stay until the morning.
Joanna Lipowska, fmm.
Reports in Polish: www.siecbakhita.com
Gallery – http://www.siecbakhita.com/index.php/galeria
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.