Although small in number, they gathered together with huge hearts for children, at the Candlelight Vigil on Friday, April 27. CASA of South Texas held the event on the Atascosa County Courthouse steps as part of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in April.
It had been 17 years since they last held a vigil.
“We remember those that have been removed from care from their parents’ homes in the first few months of this year and the two children who have died- just to bring awareness that child abuse is real. We need to do something about it,” said Darlene Koons, CASA of South Texas Outreach Coordinator.
Koons led a prayer alongside her mother and others in attendance: Chief Deputy Phillip Bosquez, Atascosa County Constable Pct. 3; Kathy Coronado, CASA of South Texas board member; Pete Garcia; Deputy Marissa Valdez, Atascosa County Constable Pct. 3; Frankie Ellis, CASA of South Texas Program Director, Dora Gonzales, Court Coordinator for Child Protection Court of South Central Texas and Joni Garcia, CASA Executive Director.
Koons prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, Lord, I just thank you for each of these people here that have a heart for the children that have been affected by child abuse. Lord, I ask that you be with the children that have been removed from their home. Lord, that you just give them the comfort and the peace that surpasses all understanding, Lord, that only you as the great healer in a great position can do.”
She continued by asking God to also be with their parents and that they learn to be a good parent and put Christ in the center of their homes.
“I know that without you, there is no hope. Lord, the families that have the children that passed away this year, I ask that you be with them and give them the peace and comfort. I can’t imagine having to bury a child. I just pray that though that child is no longer a part of the family, that they will have learned some things and can pass it on to other people.”
She also asked that the Lord be with CASA, the CPS workers and police agencies that have to go into these homes and takes these children from their families.
“Lord, I ask that you give us a heart for the children and help us always to keep them safe and learn to be at the center of our thoughts,” Koons prayed.