|Our Lady of Lourdes Parish & Newman Center
Prayer for Vocations
as You once called the first disciples
to make them fishers of men,
let your sweet invitation
continue to resound:
Come, follow Me!
Give young men and women
of responding quickly
to Your voice.
Support your bishops, priests
and consecrated people
in their apostolic labor.
to our seminarians
and to all those who are
carrying out the ideal
of a life totally consecrated
to Your service.
Awaken in our community
a missionary eagerness.
Lord, send workers to your harvest!
do not allow humanity to be lost
for the lack of pastors,
dedicated to the cause
of the Gospel.
Mary, Mother of the Church,
model of every vocation,
help us to say “Yes” to the Lord
Who calls us to cooperate
in the divine plan of salvation.
We ask this through Christ Our
(Pope John Paul II)
See Below for older bulletins...
August 26, 2018
THOUGHTS FROM YOUR PASTOR: Protecting our Parish Children Here in Hardin County
As a faith community, we have a great treasure that we have been granted by our Lord and by the generations of
Catholics before us: the treasure of the apostolic faith of Jesus Christ, our salvation, and our hope of eternal life in
Heaven. This is the treasure that Jesus instituted the Catholic Church 2000 years ago in order to pass on to the
world for generations to come, especially through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the Holy Mass: the most
intense and Real Presence of Jesus possible in this world.
This is the treasure that we want to pass on to the next generation: our children and grandchildren. And it is so
gratifying to see in our Hardin County parishes the wonderful ways that we assist our children, youth, and teens in
their walk with the Lord and their participation in the sacramental life of the Church of Jesus Christ. Things like our
PSR programs, our high school youth groups, our trips to the Steubenville Youth Conference, our pre-school
programs, our altar server opportunities – even Jackie the Cat’s weekly bulletin reflections – etc., help our children
to come to know and to experience the treasure of the love of God for them and His plan for their lives – both on
Earth and more importantly in Heaven – especially given the many unhealthy cultural forces that are already acting
against their souls in our secular society.
As we provide all these opportunities for our children and teens, it is crucial for everyone to be aware of and to
continue to support the many steps and precautions we have long had in place here in our parishes to provide a
safe environment for our little ones. Both Our Lady of Lourdes and Immaculate Conception are required to be fully
compliant with the policies of the Diocese of Columbus regarding “safe environment” practices, which are overseen
by the Bishop and the Office of Safe Environment headed by Ms. Regina Quinn in Columbus. The program is called
“Protecting God’s Children” (PGC). It has been fully in place in our Diocese since 2003. The requirements are
extensive, and each parish is expected to submit a “PGC Self-Audit” every March to the Diocese to document that
we are, indeed, meeting the requirements. Ms. Quinn also visits each parish every three years to do a thorough
“PGC On-Site Audit” of our child protection practices.
The requirements that we observe include the following, which is not an exhaustive list: 1) every employee (including
clergy) regardless of expected contact with children, and every volunteer of the parish who will ever have contact
with children in the course of his/her duties, is required to have a fingerprint background check done, and to
complete the 3-hour course called “VIRTUS” on child protection awareness. Absolutely no exceptions can be made
to this diocesan policy; 2) a certain number of adult chaperones is required for youth trips depending upon the
number of youth involved; 3) adults cannot have one-on-one meetings with any youth behind closed doors; such
meetings must be done “in the open” or with other adults in the vicinity; 4) a “two-deep” strategy is observed as
much as possible with gatherings of youth, such that multiple PGC-certified adults will be in or around groups of
youth for classes, events, etc., and much more. Each parish has a staff member who coordinates our parish
compliance with these diocesan child protection policies, as we make sure that all employees and volunteers around
children are compliant.
Personally, as pastor of several parishes now, and having worked in numerous Catholic elementary and high
schools, I have always taken these requirements very seriously, especially given that youth and teen ministry is
actually one of my specific pastoral interests given the cultural and spiritual challenges facing our youth. I am
personally involved with both the self-audits and on-site audits, and I have always been very careful regarding how I
interact with youth and teens. As some examples, when I have conducted Confirmation interviews, I have done them
outside at a picnic table (and NEVER alone in my personal office); when I have taught the ‘Theology of the Body for
Teens’ course on purity, chastity, and sexuality issues, I have always had a male and a female adult assistant to
attend all classes with me; and just recently when I was asked by a teen for some spiritual direction, I met with the
teen at a time when an adult staff member could be nearby.
Hopefully, awareness of these requirements and practices help all of us to be confident that here in Hardin County –
and in the Diocese of Columbus – the crucial issue of child protection is indeed being taken very seriously as we
minister to our next generation. As is always the case, if anyone has questions, feel free to contact me or contact
Ms. Regina Quinn at the Safe Environment Office at 614-241-2568.
Fr. Ferguson is available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have; please contact him at hamilton.
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 419-634-2626.