MARQUETTE-- The Catholic Diocese of Marquette is requiring new clergy, as wellas diocesan, parish and Catholic school employees and volunteers whohave regular contact with children or youth, or are in a position toobserve those who do, to attend an awareness session for the preventionof child sexual abuse.
The free session, called "Protecting God's Children for Adults," isbeing offered at various sites and on different dates throughout theUpper Peninsula from September 2007 to January 2008. Anyone who plansto work or volunteer with children or youth in the coming year and hasnot yet taken the training must take it during this time period.
The nine Catholic schools in the diocese will host the workshops.Participants will learn the signs of child sexual abuse, the methodsand means by which offenders commit abuse and five easy steps peoplecan take to prevent that abuse. Although the session is intended forthose who work and volunteer in Catholic schools and parishes, anyonein the local community is welcome to attend.
The awareness sessions are scheduled for:
--Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. CDT at All Saints Catholic Academy in Ironwood.
--Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. EDT at Father Marquette School in Marquette.
--Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. EDT at St. Mary School in Sault Ste. Marie.
--Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. CDT at Holy Spirit School in Norway.
--Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. EDT at Sacred Heart School in L'Anse.
--Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. EDT at Holy Name School in Escanaba.
--Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. CDT at Menominee Catholic Central School in Menominee.
--Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. CDT at Dickinson Area Catholic School in Iron Mountain.
--Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. ET at St. Francis de Sales School in Manistique.
People are asked to register for the awareness session on theInternet. Log on to virtusonline.org, click on the yellow registrationlink on the left hand side of the page and follow the instructions forregistering for a Protecting God's Children awareness session. Thosewho do not have access to a computer are asked to contact their localparish or school safe environment coordinator.
In addition to participating in the three-hour workshop andcompleting online training, volunteers and employees must complete anauthorization form for a criminal history background check.
This awareness session for employees and volunteers is part of thediocese's safe environment program, which has two other components: aprogram for children, which is mandatory, and another for parents andguardians, which parishes are strongly encouraged but not required tooffer.
These measures to help prevent the sexual abuse of children andyouth are required by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charterfor the Protection of Children and Young People that was adopted in2002.