I hope you will be wearing blue tomorrow and Saturday—a blue shirt, a blue jacket, or at least a blue ribbon pinned to your shirt. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Throughout the country, in civil and religious environments, people are raising awareness and showing support for preventing child abuse by wearing blue.
Last week in Salesian News, Fr. Dominic shared with you the important resources from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. He also included a prayer that we can use in our religious communities and in our educational pastoral communities. In addition to these valuable resources, I share with you the Child Abuse Prevention Month Resource Packet from the Archdiocese of Newark. It includes additional prayers as well as basic facts about child abuse, short explanations of some of the national projects to raise awareness of prevention, and handouts for families.
In our religious communities, we may be few, but our educational-pastoral communities are extensive. Think of the impact we can have in the lives of many children and their families when we join the national efforts to prevent child abuse. From morning announcements at school to announcements at Mass and in the parish bulletin. From posters or flyers to social media posts. From completing required training for safeguarding to compassionately listening to a survivor to courageously making a report. Together we can have a significant impact on preventing abuse. This impact grows even more when we partner with other groups concerned about children and families—other schools and churches, youth organizations and government agencies, etc. The theme of this year’s awareness and impact campaign is "Building Together: Prevention in Partnership." Child abuse and neglect are preventable, and all communities benefit when children and families are well supported. We need to do our part.
Besides wearing blue this weekend, I encourage all our works to participate in "Blue Sunday National Day of Prayer." Blue Sunday takes place every year on the last Sunday in
April and has grown in 30 years to include over seven million participants from all over the world. On Sunday, April 30, we can join with these millions of people to pray for abused and exploited children and for those who have rescued them. Sunday, April 30, is also the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday. On that same day, the updated version of the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi enters into force. It replaces the previous version published in May 2019 and confirms the Catholic Church’s desire to continue to combat crimes of sexual abuse.
United with you in prayer, as we enter Holy Week.
Fr. Tim Zak