Happy Easter! Yesterday is formally known on our liturgical calendar as “Friday within the Octave of Easter.” The Church understands that a single 24-hour period is far too short a time to contain the joy of meeting the Risen Lord, so She offers us an eight day period to honor this awesome mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I hope you’re able to keep this Easter joy alive in your own heart and family.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In the past two decades, in response to the revelation of horrific sins committed by far too many Church leaders and volunteers against children, youth and vulnerable adults, the Church has learned a lot about every aspect of sexual abuse. I feel privileged to be part of an organization that (now) does so much to prevent and combat sexual abuse. At Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School, we’re always monitoring ourselves to ensure that we follow the policies we’ve put in place to create a safe environment for all our parishioners, leaving no opportunity for abuse to occur in our ministries.
I hope you’ll take a brief look at the following attachments which convey helpful and relevant information in just a few sentences. “April is Child Abuse Prevention Month” gives a great overview of the effects of abuse, steps to prevent abuse, and how offenders must be held accountable. “Child and Youth Protection Norms” describes the specific, substantive steps the Church is taking so that abuse is completely and permanently precluded. “Five Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse” and “Keeping Children and Teens Safe Online” are insightful even if you don’t have children or teens in your immediate family. “Watch for these Warning Signs of Abuse in Minors” points out some concerning behaviors which might indicate either victims or perpetrators of sexual abuse. Finally, I invite you to offer “A Prayer for Healing” at least once this month.
Every employee and volunteer (except those volunteering for a ministry which, by its nature, would not bring them into close contact with children or vulnerable adults) is required to take “VIRTUS” training, which spells out the rules and expectations designed to prevent abuse and maintain a safe environment. Of course, it’s not limited just to them—I feel strongly that every parent, grandparent, neighbor and Catholic should be informed and equipped to help identify warning signs, and to eliminate any context in which abuse might occur. If you’d like to take this training, please contact the parish office. If you’d like to learn more about our diocesan response and policies, click here.
Let’s make this our own beautiful prayer from this Sunday’s Collect: “Increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed.”