Safe and Sacred
The following information was given to us by the Most Reverend Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis:
As a Church, we cherish life and seek to protect the most vulnerable among us from harm. One of the most important ways the Archdiocese of Indianapolis demonstrates its commitment to protecting children is through the educational programs it offers employees and volunteers to keep children safe. Our Archdiocese is deeply committed to the well-being and safety of children in our care.
Effective August 1, 2013, all clergy, employees, and volunteers who work with children will be required to complete an online training program called Safe and Sacred, which replaces our current Virtus program. The Safe and Sacred program offers many important advantages:
- Convenient online access in both English and Spanish 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, as well as printed
As of August 1, 2013, our policy requires completion of the Safe and Sacred program before an individual's first day of ministry, employment, or volunteer service. From the very first day, we want every priest, deacon, employee, and volunteer who works with children to understand risks to their safety and how to report concerns. Before anyone is permitted to work with or minister to children, they need to know how to keep children safe.
The Safe and Sacred program can be accessed by clicking HERE.
Circle of Grace
All children and youth are sacred creations of a loving God. However, today's children and youth live in a world in which they are often confronted by persons who pose a threat to them. Recognizing this, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops mandated that Catholic educators in schools, parish religious education, and youth ministry programs be proactive in teaching youth about their value and how to protect themselves from being abused in any way. Responding to this mandate, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis adopted the Circle of Grace program in 2012.
What is Circle of Grace?
The Catholic Church teaches that God 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.
Why is it important to help our children/young people 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/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, as they strive to provide a safe and protective environment, hold the responsibility to help children/young people understand and respect their own dignity and that of others. A truly safe and protective environment is one where children/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.