October 1, 2014
The Diocese of Amarillo is offering the fourth segment of the Safe Environment Program Right Relationships for Children and Young People titled, Communication to all of our parishes and Catholic Schools.
This program was developed by the Office of Safe Environment of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, who generously gave us permission to use this program and adapt it for our use. Right Relationships promotes and models safe environment principles and teaches children and minors to recognize and respond to relationships that are not “right.”
Right Relationship’s curriculum is interactive between the catechist and those students present. Each program has an English and Spanish Language component. Age and grade level appropriate materials, handouts, instructions, dialogue, etc., are available to all teachers, catechists, and those who train children and youth on the Diocese of Amarillo website, www.amarillodiocese.org, under the Safe Environment tab.
Each parish and school may use the four segments in any order that they deem appropriate for their circumstances. They may utilize segments (1) Know the Rules; (2) Rules & Boundaries; (3) Respect and Trust; and/or, (4) Communication singularly or in combination with the others. It is not necessary to use all four segments during any one faith formation year.
No other safe environment program is permitted for use unless it has been approved by the Safe Environment Office. Previously used safe environment programs from 2002 until 2011 may no longer be used. All parishes are now required to use Right Relationships.
Bishop Patrick J. Zurek has declared October as Safe Environment Month.
“The Diocese of Amarillo is committed to ensure that everyone, especially our children, have the right to be safe, secure and protected from harm, whether sexually, physically, emotionally and/or spiritually, in any and all of our religious institutions,” he said.
Beginning later this month through October, all Parishes and Catholic Schools must offer Safe Environment Training to every child and youth (all minors under 18 years of age) who attends classes in Catholic Schools, Religious Education Programs and/or children and youth oriented activities. All appropriate Catholic Institutions must make every reasonable effort, and, if necessary, multiple efforts to provide opportunities for the children to attend Safe Environment classes. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Your Pastor, Faith Formation Director, Youth Director and CCD Teachers are responsible for implementation of Safe Environment Training at the parish level. Every parish has access to the materials and resources necessary to ensure compliance and they must have, provide, offer and document safe environment training classes for every age group. This is for every Catholic Parish in the Diocese of Amarillo: there are no exceptions!
Bishop Zurek wishes to offer a special thanks to all Pastors, Principals, Christian Formation Directors/Coordinators, Youth Directors, Safe Environment Coordinators, Trainers, Teachers, Volunteers and Parents who worked so hard and continue to do so, year after year, to keep our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions a safe place for everyone, and most especially for our children.
For further information regarding Safe Environment please visit the Diocese of Amarillo website, www.amarillodiocese.org., under the Safe Environment tab, or call the Safe Environment Office at 383-2243, ext. 117.
Deacon Blaine Westlake is Director of Safe Environment for the Diocese of Amarillo.