Hope you are doing well. We had had a better week. After the start of the spring, we have been having a really better weather and much of the snow is melting away rapidly. It is really pepping up.
The month of April is the ‘National Child Abuse Prevention Month’. The church asks all the members of the church to pray for the victims of the abuse nationwide. There had been rough times in the Church with regard to the unjust and inhuman abuses of children for a long time. While the church might have been handicap in handling such instances, we need to be praying for two intentions. One is for the victims of such abuses primarily and secondly for the church for wisdom and fortitude to handle the situation justly and also to ensure in all possible ways to safeguard the children and their rights.
Apart from praying we need also to be prudent to keep our children safe in the toughest time of life. We need to take some precautionary measures to ensure their safety. Teach our kids to be cautious, tell them what are kinds of safety, physical like taking care not to be hurt, psychological safety, like being bullied, road safety like to remember the traffic rules. Teaching things like this would enable them to be prudent and, in the course, we also need to be careful, not to let those kids become doubtful and negative about the society. That would make them feel insecure. Let us not leave our children unattended by at least a trustworthy adult. This would to some extent avoid the presumed abuses of the children.
Locally in our church, kindly keep an eye on the different places like church, school, religious education classes and wherever the children need to go on their own. While the church in the United states has some procedures and policy with regard to the safety of the children, like Safe Environment training for the employees of the church, schools and any other entities where there may be contacts of adults with the children/minors, background check of the same employees, we need to be prudent at all times. We do not know what happens when.
In this context, I would like to entreat the volunteers in the church, like readers, Extraordinary ministers, and such helpers to come to church in time. Especially the readers should be in the Sacristy fifteen minutes before of the start of the mass. This would ensure the safety of the children and also the priest. This had been in practice here, but the practice has been waning in our churches, may be because they did not know the indirect reason for them to come early to the church and remain in the sacristy. Or maybe they thought that things are going well.
When some thieves break into some churches, we think of how we can protect our church. These precautionary measures are taken not that there are thieves necessarily here, but it is an act of prudence. Better be safe than sorry. It makes only little sense to put up an outcry after something has happened. Kindly pray, once again for the safety of the children all over the world especially those who are prone to such abuses and also pray for the church to handle any such instances justly and promptly, and also for the Ministers of the church in any capacity.
May all the children have a safe world.
Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus,
Fr. A. Antony.