The Common Good

Prayers for Genocide Victims and Survivors

On the anniversary of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda, I was invited by Miracle Corners of the World to attend a ceremony held at the Church Center for the United Nations to honor the one million lives lost.

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As part of this ceremony, survivors of holocausts and genocides came forth to light candles and say a prayer. Here are snippets from some of the short prayers I captured from the survivors:

I am lighting a candle for my wife, children, sisters and all the children who died. (Rwanda)

I pray for the memory of my parents, siblings, grandmother, aunt, friends and family who died. I also pray for the survivors still living in fear in Rwanda. (Rwanda)

I light a candle to mourn all those who died before I was born and after I was born. (Rwanda)

This candle is in memory of my sister, aunt, uncles, friends and neighbors who died. (Rwanda)

My candle is for the survivors and the future of Rwanda. I also hope for the day when genocide can't happen. (Rwanda)

I pray for the 47 members of my family who died in the Holocaust and all the children who died in the Holocaust and future genocides. (Holocaust survivor)

I pray for all the lost children. (Holocaust survivor)

I hope we can educate ourselves to do what is within our capacity to prevent genocide. (Sudan)

I pray for those who died in Bosnia and Herzegovina whose bodies have never been found so they can have a proper burial.


I remember the 1.5 million killed in the 1915 Armenian genocide. (Armenian priest)

As walk through Holy Week as we commemorate Jesus' dying to new life, what candles will you light to keep the hope of tomorrow alive? Whose prayers are in your hearts?

Becky GarrisonBecky Garrison hopes those living in New York City might want to join her for the Good Friday Blues at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery.

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