Safe Environment

The Catholic Church of St. Ann and the Archdiocese of Atlanta are committed to helping children and young people learn and grow in a healthy and safe environment. The thousands of children who attend Mass here and are enrolled in our programs are guided and inspired by volunteers, clergy and staff who have been specially trained to keep our young people safe.  

A set of procedures handed down from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 and updated regularly is the foundation of St. Ann’s safe environment policies. Clergy, staff and volunteers at St. Ann work on many fronts to ensure safety here:  

Training: St. Ann proudly offers safe environment training through a program called VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children. Available nearly every week around Atlanta and on the St. Ann campus, this course is designed to prevent wrongdoing in religious organizations and communities and promote “right-doing.” The parish requires all volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults to go through this course every five years. Sign up for VIRTUS Workshops. 

Mandatory reporting: All clergy, staff members and volunteers at St. Ann are required to report to state authorities if they have reasonable cause to suspect a child is being abused. If you think a child is being abused, take action.

Background checks: Staff and volunteers at St. Ann are required to submit to a background check every five years.

Campus security: St. Ann shut down access to the classrooms where our young people gather for religious education and preschool. Only credentialed staff have key cards to pass through these hallways during school hours. 

Launch Children’s Ministry: St. Ann’s religious education program for elementary school aged children has developed policies to ensure the safety of our parish youth.

Social media policy: The Archdiocese of Atlanta and St. Ann recognize the powerful tool electronic media can be to evangelize and educate. St. Ann’s communications department has implemented the social media policies recommended by the archdiocese including having at least two parish employees overseeing every social media account and not advertising or making accessible to youth staff and volunteer accounts.

St. Ann clergy, staff and volunteers are proud of their efforts to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse in their communities. To learn more about our efforts, view the video from our Parish Information Night in September, or contact Communications Director Susyn Ahern, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

FAQs

What is the hierarchy of the church doing in response to the recent revelations concerning the sexual abuse crisis?

Bishops to address abuse at November meeting: http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-172.cfm

Cupich says bishops must cede authority: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/exclusive-cupich-says-bishops-must-cede-authority-allow-lay-oversight

Pope accepts Weurl's resignation: https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2018/10/pope-accepts-cardinal-wuerls-resignation-as-washington-archbishop/

Pope Francis defrocks Chilean priests: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/francis-defrocks-two-retired-chilean-bishops-demonstrated-abuse-minors

Atlanta archbishop responds to abuse crisis: https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2018/10/archbishop-answers-important-questions-from-parishioners/

Bishops set goals for investigation, reporting, resolution: http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-139.cfm

Pope summons bishops to meeting on abuse scandal: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/12/world/europe/pope-bishops-conference.html

Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/charter.cfm

Safe Environment Office: https://archatl.com/ministries-services/safe-environment/

 

How do I contact the hierarchy and make my voice known?

Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory 
Archbishop of Atlanta 
2401 Lake Park Drive 
Smyrna, GA 30080 
Email c/o This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Most Rev. Christophe Pierre, apostolic delegate 
Apostolic Nunciature 
3339 Massachusetts Ave 
Washington, D.C., 20008 
202-333-7121 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

 

Most Rev. Daniel DiNardo 
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 
3211 Fourth St., N.E. 
Washington, D.C. 20017-1104 
(202) 542-3000 
 
 
Pope Francis 
His Holiness, Pope Francis 
Apostolic Palace 
00120, Vatican City 

 

What are the causes of such behavior?

The John Jay College Study http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf

Separating facts about clergy abuse from fiction: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201808/separating-facts-about-clergy-abuse-fiction

Clergy sex abuse not about gay priests: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/09/10/clergy-sex-abuse-not-about-gay-priests-top-psychologist-says/


 

Where can I go to read more about keeping my children safe?  

Create safe environments at school, church, home: https://archatl.com/offices/child-and-youth-protection/resources/

Technology safety through the eyes of faith: https://www.faithandsafety.org

Virtus parent handbook: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ParentHandbook.pdf
     

Where can I go to read more about the sex abuse crisis?

Crux: https://cruxnow.com

National Catholic Reporter: www.ncronline.com

Catholic News Service: www.catholicnews.com

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