23rd Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

1. As part of our safe environment for the protection of children, it is required by the diocese that everyone on our campus, volunteer and employee alike, who has regular contact with children under the age of 18 must receive a background investigation and training through the Virtus program. This applies without exception to any and every activity on church property, and if you have contact with children in any setting at St. Mary’s but have not yet received the background check and Virtus training, please be in touch with me immediately to arrange for both. Until these steps are taken, no one is authorized to have contact with children at any event on our campus.

2. Because we do not have rest rooms in our church, those who need to use a rest room must cross Miller Square and enter Sacred Heart Hall. It is understandable that parents with several children might be inclined to allow older children to make this trip unaccompanied during Mass, but no child should ever be left unaccompanied on our campus, even for a quick bathroom trip. Older siblings or friends making that rest room run together might work, but the best solution of all is for a parent to accompany the child to Sacred Heart Hall.

3. Information about the protection of children can be found on our parish website and on the diocesan website at www.catholic-doc.org. All adults in the parish are invited to be mindful of our common responsibility to protect our children, and if you observe anything that causes you concern, you are always welcome to speak to me, to the school principal, or to anyone on our staff about your concerns. Likewise feel free to speak up if you have suggestions for how we can help create a safe and nurturing environment for our children.

4. When school is in session, no one is permitted on our campus during the school day without permission. You are always welcome, of course, to visit the church by parking in the Washington Street parking lot on the west side of the church, but anyone approaching a school building or crossing the athletic field without a visitor’s pass will be challenged by a staff member. For the same reason, even parishioners may not use our athletic facilities while school children are on campus, including during Late Stay which ends at 6 pm. Please understand that these measures are all designed to help us create the safest possible environment for the children entrusted to our care.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us.

Father Newman