As has become the custom each year the Child Protection Sunday, and the preceding week, provides a focus reminding each of us to play a part in protecting our children.
This year our theme is “See Me, Hear Me”.
The question is how do we, St Benedict’s Parish, Inner Newcastle, play our part in listening to children to ensure they are kept safe? This year the National Committee for Professional Standards have commissioned a video and brochure through the Australian Catholic University reflecting on research around what children think about their safety.
In the first reading for the 10th September, Child Protection Sunday, the Prophet Ezekiel speaks of “being a sentry to the House of Israel”. As already stated within our Catholic Communities there is horror, anger and sorrow over the abuse of children. And, as Pope Francis outlined before leading the crowds in the Angelus in March last year, it is important to “Listen: this is the key word. Do not forget, listen to the hurt, sick and marginalised, or among families. As a sentry, each of us plays a part in listening to what the children have to say, making sure that every child is safe and protected from abuse and harm.
One of the specific tasks entrusted to the newly forming Parish Pastoral Council is to assist in developing strategies, processes and procedures that will enable our Parish community to be a ‘Child Safe’ place.
Working with the resources available from the Diocese and other agencies and entities, it is my hope that by the time we mark Child Protection Sunday in September 2018 there will be obvious, real, and effective signs and measures in place that show we, as a Parish community, take the issue of child protection, and our moral obligation to protect our children, seriously.
I invite each and every of you to join me in making this hope a reality.