In April, our country concluded the celebration of the annual National Child Abuse Prevention Month to heighten people’s awareness of the need to be vigilant in providing a safe environment for all within the Church and for our communities. Our Church continues to teach us to uphold the value of human life and the dignity of the human person. Throughout the Gospel, Christ calls upon his followers to care for the most vulnerable among us, especially children. Therefore, the safety and protection of children remains the serious responsibility of the entire Church, including all the faithful.
It is imperative that we are constantly vigilant and always observant of the behaviors of those who interact with children. Parents must listen carefully to their children and observe both their children’s activities and the behavior of older children and adults who interact with them. Being aware of what is happening with our children means talking to, listening to, and observing them at every opportunity.
The involvement of parents and guardians also plays a key role in the success of parish and school programs and events for children and youth. They are in the best position to protect their own children, as well as all others, in the parish and school communities. Involvement and communication are important factors in helping to ensure safe environments for all of our children and youth.
Mindful that Jesus’ resurrection transforms all who believe, we embrace our shared responsibility to protect our children and youth, and to ensure that they grow up knowing they are safe and loved. The month of April, dedicated to recognizing child abuse prevention, may have passed, but let us continue to protect our children and youth, as they are our most valuable gift from God.
Our Catholic Church constantly reminds us all to be instruments of justice and love working for the common good of everyone. As Jesus entrusted to Peter the care of the flock, we are reminded that this responsibility belongs to everyone as a matter of charity and justice. Reaching out to all victims of abuse is critical in bringing hope and the love of Christ to the world.
Therefore, in solidarity with those victims who have endured the pain of abuse, we rededicate ourselves to their healing by increasing our own awareness and understanding, and by contributing to the safe environment and practices of our church. As members of our Catholic community, let us contribute to the healing of those harmed by abuse by remembering survivors in our prayers:
God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just:
You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross.
Hear our cries as we agonize over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
soothe restless hearts with hope,
steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy.
Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people’s wounds and transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
so that we may act with justice and find peace in you.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Safe Environment is dedicated to the protection children, youth and vulnerable adults. For information, visit the diocesan Safe Environment page at https://www.dioslc.org/offices/office-of-safe-environment or contact the Office of Safe Environment at safeenv.dioslc.org or 801-328-8641 ext. 344.