COVID-19 restrictions proved an unexpected blessing to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ annual novena for healing from abuse, as the online prayer services drew far more participants than in-person liturgies of past years.
One service alone had 850 live views, far exceeding past in-person services, said Heather Banis, the clinical psychologist who serves as victim assistance ministry coordinator. The possibility to pray virtually, it seems, allowed people who are hesitant to spotlight themselves by attendance to participate anonymously. They could also choose to identify themselves and write comments.
“The livestream gives you all the grace and space you need,” Banis said.
“United Together in Prayer – Novena for Child Abuse Prevention and Healing” was livestreamed April 22-30 from eight parishes and St. John Seminary. Every auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese took part, as did all its seminarians.