Archbishop McCarrick Dismissed

The Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Office of Communications has issued the following statement from Bishop David J. Walkowiak in response to the Holy See’s announcement that former Archbishop McCarrick has been dismissed from the clerical state.

I stand in solidarity with our Holy Father in his decision to dismiss former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick from the clerical state based on the former Archbishop’s actions.

Cardinals and bishops, like priests and deacons, must be held accountable for any actions that cause harm to the most vulnerable in our communities. I encourage all individuals to report such instances to both the Church and civil authorities so that the appropriate steps toward justice and healing may be taken.

The Church must continue to seek forgiveness for its previous actions and I pray that this decision will provide a source of healing to the former Archbishop’s victim-survivors. I, along with the Catholic faithful, will continue to pray for all survivors of sexual abuse and provide assistance to promote healing.

As the presidents of the world’s episcopal conferences meet in Rome this week, I pray that the meeting will bear fruit to help cleanse the Catholic Church and restore the trust of the faithful.

Video Message from Bishop Walkowiak

Video Message from Bishop Walkowiak

From Feb. 21 – 24, presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world will meet at the Vatican to discuss the clergy sexual abuse scandal and our global response as a Catholic Church. In a continuing effort to be as transparent as possible, Bishop Walkowiak would like to share an update on this topic and answer some of the questions he has received from parishioners. You can watch his video response at http://bit.ly/DJWmessagefeb2019

14th Annual Building a Legacy Catholic Men’s Conference.

30 second video Men’s Conference

Mark your calendars and register NOW for the upcoming 14th annual Building a Legacy Catholic Men’s conference on March 9 — it will be a day of dynamic speakers, powerful faith development and reinvigorating fellowship. This year’s lineup includes Elvis Grbac, Matt Fradd and Matthew Leonard with Mass celebrated by Bishop David Walkowiak. See www.buildingalegacy.org for details and to register. Questions? Call Deacon Jim at 616-292-0422. (Early registration ends February 22nd and is limited… don’t miss out!)

 

Unbound: Freedom in Christ

UNBOUND: FREEDOM IN CHRIST
LIVE FREE! CONFERENCE

 Co-sponsored by St. Stephen Parish, East Grand Rapids, and Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Rockford

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 22, 7-9 p.m. (free event) and Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Our Lady of Consolation Church, 4865 11 Mile Road NE, Rockford

ABOUT: The Live Free! conference presents the Five Keys to spiritual freedom as taught by Neal Lozano in Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance. Participants not only receive teaching on each of the Five Keys to freedom, but also have the opportunity to pray through each one.

COST: $45 Feb. 1 – 22; $55 at the door. Free for clergy and religious.

TO REGISTER: olcparishrockford.com/ unbound

Unbound Information Sheet

New Adult Singles Ministry

Are you single and looking to meet new people? St. Raphael’s Singles is a new adult singles ministry in the diocese and they’re hosting their second night of cards, games, and conversation.

Join them at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew on Friday, Feb. 15 from 7 – 9 p.m.

St. Raphael’s Singles is a friendship and fellowship group for adults age 40+ who are divorced, widowed, or have never been married.

Contact straphaelssingles1@gmail.com for directions, location and news of future events.

RSVPs are appreciated but not required.

New Website for GR Diocese

Check out the new http://GRdiocese.org!

The Office of Communications is excited to announce the launch of a new website for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Please visit GRdiocese.org to see the new content and layout. Streamlined content means you’ll find what you need faster and the new mobile-friendly design means you can take the diocese with you wherever you go. If you have bookmarked our page on your computer or other device, don’t forget to update your link.

DWELL Catholic Women’s Conference

Diocesan Catholic Women’s Conference

“Dwell”
Saturday, March 16
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

All women, ages 18 and up, are invited to attend the annual Diocesan Women’s Conference

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church
(6390 Belmont Ave. NE, Belmont, MI 49306).

The conference will feature author, speaker and missionary, Colleen C. Mitchell.

The cost, which includes morning hospitality and lunch,
is $30 prior to March 12 and $35 after.

Registration is available on the diocesan website or by contacting
Marianne Verner at mverner@GRdiocese.org; 616-246-0588

Dwell Woman’s Conference
Register: Register for Woman’s Conference

Talking to Children about difficult subjects

Tips for talking to children about difficult subjects/news reports

The topic of sex abuse, particularly child sex abuse, is a daunting one for parents. Every parent must consider many factors including the best age-appropriate way to discuss the topic. Below are some points to consider adapted from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and First Things First.

1. Make sure you are composed before you talk with your child.

2. If you believe your child is aware of news concerning abuse in the diocese, start the conversation. Not talking about a difficult event can make the event even more threatening in your child’s mind.

3. Listen carefully to what your child is asking or talking about.

4. Clarify just what any concerns are before you answer. Sometimes we make assumptions and give far more information than what the child needs.

5. Keep your answers simple and brief. Don’t answer questions that have not been asked. Do not overload your child with information that is beyond his/her level of understanding.

6. Assure your child that you and other adults that are in charge are doing everything possible to make sure they will be safe. This will give them a sense that adults are actively taking steps to protect those who are currently suffering.

7. Don’t make guarantees that such a thing can never happen again. Words like “never” and “always” should be used very carefully because small children trust that this is a promise from you.

8. Explain that we do not know why people treat other people badly.

9. Try to limit your child’s exposure to media coverage. A child believes what he or she sees on television, or in the newspapers is always true.

10. Let your children know about successful community efforts. You may want to share positive media images, such as reports of individuals helping those in need.

Background information on Safe Environments

Background information on safe environments in the Diocese of Grand Rapids

  • We deeply apologize to anyone who has been a victim of abuse by a member of clergy. We acknowledge the awful, lifetime physical, mental, and spiritual effects of abuse.
  • Public attention on this issue will likely evoke traumatic memories for people, who may then choose to come forward. As always, our victim assistance coordinator is prepared. The Church is grateful to survivors of abuse who have come forward. Their witness has made the Church safer for all families.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids encourages anyone who has been sexually abused as a minor by a priest, deacon or church employee, or who has knowledge of any such offense against a minor or vulnerable adult to contact the appropriate civil authority or the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at 616-243-0491. There is no timeframe for bringing forth such a complaint.
  • After the abuse scandal broke in early 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) created a document that would guide the efforts of the Church in the United States in creating safe environments. The Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People was promulgated in June 2002 and has since been revised three times.
  • Today, the Catholic Church in the United States has the strongest measures in the world in place for protecting children and young people, including safe environment training for children and adults, background checks and a zero-tolerance policy.
  • All members of our clergy, volunteers, staff members, and teachers must complete the following requirements to be around children:
  1. attend the Virtus – Protecting God’s Children Program
  2. agree to compliance with the Standards for Ministerial Behavior
  3. undergo criminal history background checks
  4. Certain staff members must also be fingerprinted
  • Since 2002, the Diocese of Grand Rapids has held VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children training sessions in which more than 23,000 clergy, teachers, staff, volunteers and others have been trained to identify and report abuse of minors. In this past fiscal year alone, 65 sessions were held.
  • Every seminarian, prior to admission, undergoes an extensive psychological evaluation and background check. There is also ongoing evaluation while in formation.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids takes every allegation of clergy sexual abuse seriously. Every allegation is immediately turned over to the appropriate county prosecutor and then to our diocesan review board.
  • Our diocesan review board is made up of two clergy members and seven members of the laity, including a retired judge, a retired FBI agent, therapists, and an educator.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids has participated in annual charter compliance audits since their inception and we have passed every year.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids will temporarily remove from ministry any priest or deacon who is under investigation for a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. The name of any man who is permanently removed from ministry is publicly released.
  • Money given to our parishes or the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) does not fund settlements with survivors of clergy abuse. Since 2002, the diocese has not had a direct settlement with a survivor. Money for our legal defense and counseling for survivors is paid through our insurance policy with the Michigan Catholic Conference.

P R O T E C T I N G  O U R  children and youth

Safe environment policies and practices in the Diocese of Grand Rapids

  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids encourages anyone who has been sexually abused as a minor by a priest, deacon or church employee, or who has knowledge of any such offense against a minor or vulnerable adult to contact the appropriate civil authority or the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at 616-243-0491. There is no timeframe for bringing forth such a complaint.
  • After early 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) created a document that would guide the efforts of the Church in the United States in creating safe environments. The Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People was promulgated in June 2002 and has since been revised three times.
  • Today, the Catholic Church in the United States has the strongest measures in the world in place for protecting children and young people, including safe environment training for children and adults, background checks and a zero- tolerance policy.
  • All members of our clergy, volunteers, staff members, and teachers must complete the following requirements to be around children:
  1. attend a certified safe environment training program
  2. agree to compliance with the Standards for Ministerial Behavior
  3. undergo criminal history background checks certain staff members must also be fingerprinted
  • Every seminarian, prior to admission, undergoes an extensive psychological evaluation and background check. There is also ongoing evaluation while in formation.
  • Since 2002, the Diocese of Grand Rapids has held VIRTUS® — Protecting God’s Children training sessions in which more than 23,000 clergy, teachers, staff, volunteers and others have been trained to identify and report the abuse of minors. In this past fiscal year alone, 65 sessions were held.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids takes every allegation of clergy sexual abuse seriously. Every allegation — even those made against a deceased member of the clergy or reported long after the criminal statute of limitations has run out— is immediately turned over to the appropriate county prosecutor.
  • Our diocesan review board is comprised of two clergy members and seven members of the laity, including a retired judge, a retired FBI agent, psychologists, a social worker and an educator.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids has participated in annual charter compliance audits since their inception and has passed every year.
  • The Diocese of Grand Rapids will temporarily remove from ministry any member of the clergy who is under investigation for a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. The name of any man who is permanently removed from ministry is publicly released.
  • Money given to our parishes or the Catholic Services Appeal does not fund settlements with survivors of clergy abuse. Money for our legal defense and counseling for survivors is paid through our insurance policy with the Michigan Catholic Conference.