Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
We had the last of three security meetings with local law enforcement officers this past Wednesday at our Antwerp campus. I am so grateful for the very engaging way Sheriff Landers and his team considered each of our campuses and addressed those parishioners who were able to attend the meetings. And, just having those outstanding officers on our premises was in itself a step towards greater security; because they know our facilities now, better than they did before. That comes in very handy, should we ever have to call them.
Our next step in security will be to hold another security committee meeting to process what we heard in these three presentations from local law enforcement. We can come up with a list of actionable items, such as things that still might have to be adjusted regarding the physical building, or specific instructions for ushers and greeters. We also have a sample security document from a church that includes general security guidelines, as well as specific emergency instructions. We can use this document as a bit of a start for our own parish document.
Once we have processed information, as described in the last paragraph, I envision a meeting with ushers, greeters and everybody interested to present more concrete security measures. In the meantime, we are working to install panic bars on all exit doors, so that we never have to worry about any type of obstacle slowing down people’s evacuation, in the case of an emergency.
I hope we never run into a situation in our parish where we have to deal with a dangerous intruder. But, this is one of the signs of our times. Our society becomes more secular by the year. People become more broken without God. We hear more stories of shootings each month.
I hope we can all appreciate how much faith in Jesus Christ provides the only true solution! Hearts need to change, in order to transform people from evildoers into workers of good. And many hearts need to change in order to influence a whole culture. Jesus Christ – by the power of his Holy Spirit working deeply within us – is the One True Heart-Transformer. Let’s love and honor Him still more intentionally in our homes; and let’s help others to know Him.
On another note, you noticed in our last “Leading the Flock” letter from Bishop Thomas that all parishes are being invited to say the St. Michael prayer after Mass. My intention is to have us do this, to be in communion with the Bishop on this idea. I think it’s a “no-brainer”, given the troubles the Church is experiencing currently. I see no conflict whatsoever with the fact that we are already saying the St. Michael prayer at the end of our weekend Rosaries before Masses. I don’t think St. Michael will be agitated that we are bothering him too much!! The prayer will begin right after the priest and deacon venerate the altar (with a kiss), after the closing dismissal. The St. Michael prayer only takes 20 seconds to recite (I just timed it!). So, time will also not be a problem. I want to teach on the St. Michael prayer in my next bulletin letter. Then I will communicate with musicians, so they know exactly how things will work, regarding the timing on any announcement of the recessional song. Then I’ll announce the actual starting date for us to say this prayer at our parish, at the end of each Mass.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,