…..from the Pastor’s Desk:
Last Tuesday night [August 28th] we had our first open forum meeting about the crises in which we find ourselves. Among the many things people spoke of or asked about were what are we doing here for our children? We addressed this, but I feel that the whole parish community needs to know what we provide.
I’ve asked Megan O’Neill our Faith Formations Director, to speak to you about our ‘Circle of Grace’ presentations [see below]. In addition to that we have 100% accountability and visibility. No child is ever left alone with an adult unless it is a family member. I’ve put windows in all of the classroom and office doors and all our teachers [and staff as well] have gone through the necessary screening, fingerprinting and training to be able to work with our children. This applies to our teens as well. With them we have an ‘open question’
policy in that they can ask about whatever they want and we are open and honest as age-appropriate in answering them. Over the years we have found this to be extremely helpful
in giving them a voice they might not otherwise have.
We do plan on having more ‘Open Forum’ meetings. I am currently researching what time and day of the week are most amenable to having more parents attend. Please contact me with your suggestions.
Circle of Grace
Safe Environment Program
“Respecting All God’s People”
Out of concern for all God’s people and in response to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, we have a program for the safe environment education of children and young people supported and mandated by Bishop Robert F. Vasa of the Santa Rosa Diocese.
This program is called Circle of Grace. It is meant to supplement and be integrated into the excellent programs and curricula for the formation of children and young people in our schools and religious education programs. Circle of Grace aims to equip our children and young people by providing them with essential knowledge and skills grounded in the richness of our faith. This program helps children and young people to understand their own (and other’s) dignity in mind, body, and spirit.
What is a Circle of Grace?
The Catholic Church teaches that God has created each of us as unique and special. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are created “male and female in God’s image” and that God saw this as “very good.” In that goodness, we are meant to respect ourselves and everyone else as persons created and loved by God.
Adults assist children and young people to recognize God’s love by helping them to understand that each of us lives and moves in a circle of grace. You can imagine your own circle of grace by putting your arms above your head then circle down in front of your body including side to side. This circle, front to back, holds who you are in your body and through your senses. It holds your very essence in mind, heart, soul, and sexuality.
Why is it important to help our children understand the Circle of Grace?
God intends our relationships in life to be experiences of divine love. Respectful, nurturing, loving relationships increase our understanding of our own value and
help us to love others. It is never too early to help children and young people understand how very special they are and how relationships in life are called to be sacred. Understanding this can help them to protect the special person they are and to be respectful of others.
Adults, especially parents, as they strive to provide a safe and protective environment, hold the responsibility to help children and young people understand and respect their own dignity and that of others. A truly safe and protective environment is one where children and young people recognize when they are safe or unsafe and know how to bring their concerns, fears, and uncertainties to the trusted adults in their lives.
Please call if you have any questions.
Megan O’Neill 707-539-4495 ext 13
Director of Faith Formation Grades 1-12