The Diocese of Orange and in particular St. Angela Merici Parish has been committed to creating a safe environment for our children and youth. In working toward fulfilling our commitment; all priests, deacons, employees, volunteers, and everyone who works with children and youth are required to:
- Be fingerprinted according to our diocesan procedures by the Department of Justice;
- Be background checked by the Department of Justice;
- Undergo Safe Environment training and certification;
- Renew Safe Environment training and certification every three years.
These requirements have been in place for over ten years and having successfully completed the above process, the individual is deemed “safe” to work and minister in the Diocese of Orange as a priest, deacon, teacher, employee or volunteer. Additionally, seminarians undergo a comprehensive psychological evaluation before entering the seminary and undergo yearly human formation training and education while in the seminary. Likewise, those studying for the diaconate also submit to a comprehensive psychological evaluation as well as human formation training and education before ordination. Priest’s and deacons are required to attend yearly continuing education in human formation throughout their ordained lives.
Should an accusation of sexual abuse of any kind be reported, the accusation is sent to and investigated by law enforcement as well as the Diocese. Victims of sexual abuse by church staff in our Diocese are urged to report the abuse by calling our toll free number: (800) 364-3064. The Diocese of Orange has a zero tolerance policy as it applies to sexual abuse cases regardless of the position of the offender. The safety of our children and our youth is a commitment we must all undertake. As an example of our commitment and vigilance, this past year, windows were installed on our confessional doors. Let there be no doubt that our obligation to protect children and young people is our highest priority and flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve.
I have personally found Bishop Robert Barron’s comments and reflections on this issue to be of great value. You can watch his latest video below.
It’s up to all of us to make sure that our Parish is a Safe Environment for all people, young and old
Blessings in Christ Jesus,