Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Artwork by Gina Garcia


Abuse survivor offers reflection for healing

By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published April 23, 2019

ATLANTA—Gina Garcia, program assistant for the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, wonders what she as one person can do to help people and a church in need of healing amid the current sex abuse crisis.

Garcia said she has always felt God’s presence in her life, even as a child. She was abused by a priest in a diocese outside of Georgia as a young person.

“It doesn’t take away my value in God’s eyes,” she explained.

The archdiocese offers retreats for victims of abuse, regardless of when the abuse occurred. Garcia participated in one of the retreats and found it helpful in her own journey.

“There’s lots of opportunity for healing,” she shared.

Garcia acknowledged that some days are more difficult than others and anger can resurface, but she recalls the eighth chapter of Romans that “all things work for good for those who love God who are called according to his purpose.”

Garcia felt it important to share a message of hope as the church looks to Easter.

“Evil won’t ever triumph,” she said.

Not long after her traumatic experience, Garcia wrote a poem she calls “Behind the Veil” about how God’s love is always with her.

“This is more an encouragement poem,” she said about her work. The poem and her original artwork are shared here:

Behind the Veil

Thick ancient oaks surrounding my heart,

Twisting, turning and shielding.

Round and round as I turn about,

Sunlight streams in at intervals.

Reflections dappled appear upon my skin,

Silent, serene and soft.

You look in on me with luminous eyes,

Gazing steadily, lovingly.

Go, You will not ever, and stay by

To watch my victory flight.

In the deepest hours of the night,

Great thunder echoes throughout my glen.

Trees shake to the core and my wings

Hold ever long in strength.

With You, I glide through airy

Starlit paths at peace.

-Gina Garcia