Church communities across the Diocese of Clogher marked Safeguarding Sunday in the diocese on Sunday 24 February.
Safeguarding Sunday is an initiative of the Diocesan Safeguarding Committee and its aim is to highlight the importance of safeguarding in all aspects of the Church’s life as well as re-stating the commitment of the diocese to the care and protection of children and of adults who may be at risk of harm and in need of special care. This year’s marking of this important area in the life of the Church came as the special meeting in Rome on safeguarding, called by Pope Francis, concluded.
At the beginning of every Mass in the diocese, a Candle of Atonement was blessed and lit as the assembly prayed the Penitential Rite based on that used by Pope Francis at the final Mass of the World Meeting of Families 2018 in the Phoenix Park last August.
A lay member of the Parish Safeguarding Committee in each parish addressed the congregation on the ongoing work that is being done at all levels in the Church, especially concerning the many developments in training, vetting of personnel and the care of victims and survivors of abuse over the last number of years. The updating of Standards and Guidance, as well as compliance with the obligations of civil law, were also highlighted.
Speaking about the initiative, Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, said, “I welcome this Safeguarding Sunday and the Candle of Atonement initiative. The accompanying prayer was written by a survivor of abuse in our own diocese, to whom I extend my sincere thanks. I hope that the Candle of Atonement and the accompanying prayer become a permanent feature of our churches, reminding us of the constant need for repentance, for us to seek forgiveness as a Church community for the awful crimes that were committed against vulnerable people and to symbolise light amidst darkness and the Christian hope that we are all called to bear witness to.”
Bishop Duffy thanked those involved in the work of safeguarding in all parishes of the diocese saying, “Their selfless and willing generosity in ensuring that all our parishes and diocesan agencies are safe places for people bears witness to the love of God made visible in our midst. It is at the heart of our Christian mission.”