Archdiocese Policies and Procedures
THE PURPOSE OF SCREENING EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS
The members of the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of St. John’s care deeply for the well being of one another and for those to whom they minister. We have become more aware of the possibility of harm being done to those who are most in need of our care and compassion. It is possible that a small number of persons may take advantage of organizations that have no, or lax, screening procedures. To protect as far as possible those whom we serve, as well as those who serve in our parishes and on behalf of the Archdiocese as a whole, we have adopted thorough, appropriate, consistent and ongoing screening measures for our volunteers and employees. The protection and safety of all, including our volunteers and employees, will guide our intentions and actions in applying these measures.
From the office of the Archbishop
March 25, 2010
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The church today, at the parish and the Archdiocesan levels, offers many ministries to meet the needs of its members. These ministries would be impossible without the dedication, skills and talents of priests, lay employees and volunteers.
It is essential that participation in the church’s ministries be a safe activity for all concerned, especially the young, the elderly, and the vulnerable. For this reason, the Archdiocese of St. John’s, in concert with many dioceses across Canada, has adopted the Screening in Faith initiative, a screening resource provided by Volunteer Canada.
At the core of effective ministry is a sacred trust which must be created and nurtured. Like professionals in our society, such as physicians, lawyers and others, trust is given to those who perform ministries in the church. Trust can take time to create, but can be destroyed in a moment. Screening of priests, employees and volunteers will help to reveal instances where trust has been abused in the past. It will help to protect those for whom we care, and to reduce the risk of misconduct from occurring in the performance of our ministries. This screening policy will benefit those who minister by clarifying their responsibilities and by outlining how to perform their ministries appropriately.
I have mandated a screening policy for all clergy, employees, and volunteers at the parish and Archdiocesan levels, to take effect on April 15, 2010. A manual will be given to each parish and Archdiocesan office, which outlines the policy and explains how it is to be implemented. Each parish is to set up its own screening committee to implement this policy at the parish level. An Office of Risk Management has been established by the Archdiocese to provide ongoing guidance and support.
I realize that the implementation of this policy will require significant time and effort on the part of priests, employees and volunteers. But it will help to build trust on the part of those who avail of the church’s ministries and increased confidence and satisfaction for those who provide them. I am grateful to all who work to make this process a part of our parish and Archdiocesan structures.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
MOST REVEREND MARTIN W. CURRIE, D.D.