By Fr. Ken Hezel, SJ, for the North Star
This past week Sr Nina Caccam, SJBP attended a conference hosted by the Diocese of Camden in New Jersey on the issue of Child Protection in the church from March 24-27, 2019.The theme of the conference was “Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal.” More than 200 representatives from Dioceses throughout the United States were present. There were also members from VIRTUS, a program which assists Dioceses to train their ministers and clergy to protect children from any form of abuse.
The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa has listed on its website (rcdck.org) the policy and procedures to be used if there is an allegation brought against a member of the staff or clergy within the Diocese. This policy was recently reviewed with various members of the Special Diocesan Committee set up to protect our children. The process includes a designated individual to receive any allegations or calls from alleged victims. The dedicated phone number for this individual is 789-7283.
In addition, another member has been designated as Instructor. The role of this person is to follow up on any accusation and gather pertinent data. There is also a member from Karidat who will be assigned to give care or assistance the person who has made an allegation as needed. A “Promotor of Justice” is named to coordinate the following up on the allegation, bringing evidence together and presenting this matter to the Bishop or his delegate.
He will also call together as Assessment Committee (five members of the laity have been named to this committee). Among other things their role is to make an evaluation concerning the particular accusation(s) and through the Promotor of Justice to notify the Bishop of their opinion. The Ordinary of the Diocese or Bishop in turn will decide what action to take regarding the accused at that time.
During the summer months Sr Nina and her staff will present the VIRTUS program to our Faith Formation and CCD p staff in each of our parish. This has proven to be a valuable program for members of about forty other Dioceses in the United States and elsewhere. Let us continue to pray for the growth and well being of all the children of our island communities.