2023 Restorative Justice Month

Each year in November we observe Restorative Justice Month. This is a time to reflect on and pray for the work of the Restorative Justice Ministry and all those involved in the work that we do – victims, offenders, family members, and the wider community.

Below are reflections and prayers of the faithful to use for each week of November. The information can also be downloaded in pdf form here:

Week 1 – Sunday, November 6, 2023

We pray for crime survivors and for those killed violently.

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time – GOSPEL: Mt 23:1-12

“The greatest among you must be your servant.”

Reflection: Today we honor those holy men and women who have gone before us in faith and for what they have done in representation of our church, and we honor those who have died in violence. Let’s reflect upon who they are and what role they played in our lives, let’s remember them as blessed people.

Suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful. We pray:

  1. For the victims of violence all over the world, especially our friends and loved ones that may have been hurt recently or in the past and still need healing, may God touch their wounded hearts and souls with his healing hands and infuse hope for a brighter future in their lives.
  2. For all victims of violence who struggle with taking revenge into their own hands, turn their despair into hope, their hate into love and their anger into joy, help them seek to be reconciled with those who have caused them harm, and to forgive those who have trespassed against them.
  3. That God empower all doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors who come in contact with people victimized by all kinds of abuse and harm. Pray that those affected by violence overcome all trauma and mental damage caused by violence.
  4. That Jesus the Master of Peace, join all the suffering experienced by crime, and all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit, to his own sorrowful passion.

Week 2 – Sunday, November 12, 2023

We pray for prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families.

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time – GOSPEL: Mt 25:1-13

“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Reflection: The gospel for this Sunday helps us to focus on the here and now. It helps us to learn to live totally in the present, to seek and find God there. If we can do that, then all the rest will take care of itself. Words and wisdom will be given to us when we are put to the test, but we need to know that we are safe with God. Let us try to renew our commitment to God then and build a growing relationship with Him through prayer, reflection and service to prisoners and ex-prisoners and their families.

Suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful. We Pray:
1. For all the incarcerated people in prisons and jails throughout our nation. May God shed his abundant mercy on all the offenders and prisoners behind bars as well as the ex-offenders that have been released.

2. For all the prisoners suffering with a sense of hopelessness, despair, and guilt. May the Lord shine his face upon them and bring them out of darkness so that they can come to a sincere heartfelt repentance and change their evil ways.

3. That the family members of those in prison receive consolation and courage to carry on in life and stay in communication with their friends and family who are incarcerated. Pray that they may seek to get in contact with family members of the victim and strive for forgiveness and mutual solidarity.

4. Lord Jesus, you have said that you have come to set the captives free. Please bring our incarcerated brothers and sisters close to you, stand by them in their trials and give them the strength to rehabilitate themselves.

Week 3 – Sunday, November 19, 2023

Pray for the reform of our nation’s criminal justice and immigration system so that it becomes more open in its solutions to rehabilitating people and family unity.

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – GOSPEL Mt 25:14-30

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Reflection: Today’s gospel makes it very clear that far more is expected of us. We are expected to make an active and positive contribution to the work of the King and to the Christian community as the Body of Christ. In practice, that might mean taking an active part in our Church, in our parish, volunteering for social and restorative justice and practices initiatives, etc. So, it is important for us to spend some time reflecting on what are our unique talents or gifts or abilities and then to ask to what end we are using them. The Gospel suggests there is an urgency about looking at the cross if we want to be in paradise, this means advocating for restorative justice and peace by remembering the incarcerated as we will be remembered.

Suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful. We Pray:
1. For the immediate changes needed in our nation’s criminal justice and immigration system, open the hearts of all who can make this a reality.

2. Father God, grant the grace of healing and understanding to all the ministers who bring hope, love, and faith to those who have been victimized by crime and those who have been locked up unjustly.

3. Dear Lord, we believe that you created all humans in Your image, keep inspiring and transforming the lives of the men and women who volunteer their time in prison ministries so as to become channels of your peace to all detained and prisoners behind bars.

4. God of justice, please stop the fast growing prison industry in the United States of America, in which two thirds of the total incarcerated population are African American and Latino men. Inspire legislators to spend time abolishing unjust laws and focus their energy on improving the education and criminal justice systems towards re-entry programs.

Week 4 – Sunday, November 27, 2023

Pray for communities’ response to violence and their willingness to play their role within the restorative justice and practices lens.

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – GOSPEL: Mt 25:31-46

I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.

Reflection: This message is clear, “Lord, you will judge me on my love and service of others. You are there in the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the strangers. May I recognize your face? Where are the hungry, the naked, the homeless, and the drugged, who would call on me if they could reach me? Or have I so organized my life that the needy never interrupt me? Lord, you have made this the sole criterion of judgment. How will I measure up?” Lord help us to be prepared to stand erect and raise our heads to be redeemed when you come.

Suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful. We Pray:

  1. For the welfare of our families that make up the foundation of our communities. Recognizing that the family is the building block of Godly society, we pray for a return of the role of our families to the divine institution that it once was. We pray that we would prepare our children to love and obey You, seek to live as You command and to fulfill Your will for their lives.
  2. For the return of education and welfare back to the role of the family from where they originated. In addition, we pray that our families would be raised to the level of importance and leadership influence in our society.
  3. That new leaders emerge within our communities with the wisdom and compassion to help restore the lives of all family members affected by violence on both the victims’ side and the offenders’ side of the crime.
  4. For freedom from the bondage of collective fear and prejudice that plague our people. We pray that people today receive the calling to work for social and restorative justice action so that they choose to get actively involved in healing the lives of their neighbors.

Get Involved

Learn more about what we do throughout the year and ways to get involved: