Pastor's Corner

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

04-03-2022Pastor's CornerRev. Robert J. Deehan, V.F.

This weekend begins National Child Abuse Prevention month. And, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Catholic Church’s National Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Cardinal Sean has set aside this weekend, April 2/3, as a time for parishes to pray for continued healing of those who have been abused, to pray for all impacted by abuse, to offer a prayer of thanks for the work of all those who focus on child safety, and to recommit to ongoing practices designed to keep all children free from abuse. Please keep these intentions in your prayers. On this occasion, I share with you a message from an abuse survivor.

Hi. My name is Kathleen, and I am a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston. This weekend is important to me. It’s important for me to let you know that survivors and their families very much want and need your prayers. We are among you and many of us still hurt from the abuse that occurred. However, many of us are also hopeful. I ask you for your prayers this weekend, and to please remember those survivors who are not with us – we miss them and challenge the Church to regain the trust that was broken. We have made a lot of progress with this but our work is not done. We thank you, the clergy and religious in the Church who have supported us. It means everything to us.

Do you know what is happening in the Archdiocese of Boston to protect children? Training is provided for all adults and youth to identify warning signs and develop strategies for maintaining a safe environment for all. A designated Victim Assistance Coordinator is available to receive reports and accompany victims through their journey. A volunteer independent Review Board assists the Cardinal in the review of cases and makes recommendations for moving forward. A Safe Environment Coordinator assists parish and school personnel with training. There is a department that does background screenings for anyone who may have access to children. An audit is conducted by an independent firm to evaluate implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Findings are incorporated with those of other dioceses and made available in an Annual Report. Today, every diocese and eparchy must have in place systems for tending to those who have been harmed, protecting those in our care and seeking restorative justice.

For information and assistance from the Archdiocesan Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection, call 617-746-5995.