For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me… – Matthew 25:35
It is a sad fact that our world is changing. The sanctity of a religious environment is no longer a place that can be assumed to be completely safe. Like our airports and schools, we need to ensure the safety of our Parish Family as well as the welcoming and engaging environment of the Catholic Church. It can be something of a dichotomy for our faith and our church: someone that may not look like they “fit in” or are “odd” may actually be the person most in need of our love, support, and encouragement. We must fight the trend of closing off and distrust, and instead extend the hand of welcome to those that come to our doors. Ushers have been undergoing Crowd Management Certification and Diocesan training to ensure the balance of these needs of our faith and our Parish Family’s safety.
The renewal of our church has gone far beyond new paint and flooring. The leadership of Saint John the Evangelist evaluated every facet of our campus to determine how to best balance the welcoming community of our Parish Family with the realities of protecting ourselves and others while here in our safe place. From on-duty law enforcement to surveillance cameras, new campus lighting to new access control systems, we have embedded safety into our environment without impacting the openness and joy that comes from participating in our Masses and activities.
We are establishing a new Safety Committee for our Parish Family. It will be responsible for understanding the equilibrium of our open Catholic Church that welcomes the stranger and our responsibilities to ensure the safety of all on our campus. If you have experience in public safety, emergency management, or operational security, please reach out to our Business Manager, Jean-Paul Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org or (239) 566-8740 to see if you would be a candidate for our Safety Committee.