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Pastor's Corner

Pastor’s Corner for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, by Fr. PJ Cassidy (Episcopal Vicar for Safeguarding)

Our Safeguarding Moment

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Safeguarding is becoming more apparent in our society on every level. We as a church are doing our part. Many of our parishes are doing very well and ready to stand up for the cause of a safer environment while other parishes are simply not doing their part which was evident in our Safeguarding Audit.

We have a number of abuse cases associated with Safeguarding in our archdiocese. Some are related to historical cases others more recent and others are related to priests while others are related to the laity. Each case is being adhered to accordingly and responses are different in each case but what is essential is that each case has a voice and a platform to exercise their concerns.

We try to keep each case local, that is within the parish and that is why each parish must have a Parish Safeguarding Team. The parish team assesses the case and decides if it can be dealt with locally or if it needs to be handed over to the Archdiocesan Safeguarding Team. The Parish Safeguarding Team is professional and well-versed in safeguarding practices and can contact our Archdiocesan Safeguarding Team for advice and direction.
Each Child is a treasured gift from God. Each Sunday, we as a parish call our children forward and ask them what they have done in catechism classes. Their responses are real and if anything, they by their responses teach our parents about Christ. This for me along with our parish as a whole is truly a great encounter and moment whereby our children show us the way to God. This is how important our children are to us and to think that a child has been affected in any way by abuse or otherwise whereby they are not free to share the word of God, completely saddens me. Let us try to make our Children live and embrace God through a safe environment at church, at home, and in our society as a whole.

As we approach another Safeguarding Sunday, we are grateful for the support that our parishes give to our endeavors. On the 28th of July 2024, we will hold our Annual Safeguarding Sunday in the Archdiocese. As reflected last year, the parishes introduced their Parish Safeguarding Team to their parishioners. Secondly, we experienced our children celebrating and sharing the joys they have in their hearts by having a fun day and in conclusion a collection dedicated to all our workshops/training along with our vetting process. Our Safeguarding Collection goes towards parishes that may not be able to fund the vetting process. They are welcome to apply for funding which in conjunction with the archdiocese will be approved accordingly.

It is important that we keep up to date concerning Safeguarding but it is equally important that we encourage our parishes who have not participated to contact our Deanery Pastoral Council and arrange a date where we can come and do our Safeguarding Workshop along with vetting.

Let us honour our Children by providing a safe place for them to pray.

Father PJ Cassidy (Episcopal Vicar for Safeguarding)

Bruce Botha SJ
Parish Priest

Fr Bruce Botha SJ was born in Durban, KZN. He received a diploma in education from the University of Natal and then taught physical science for 4 years at Scottburgh High School. He joined the Society of Jesus and did his noviciate in Cape Town. He then studied philosophy in London and theology in Berkeley, California. Between philosophy and theology, in the period of formation known as regency, he worked as the director of counselling for an HIV research centre. After ordination in 2006 he worked in Holy Trinity, Braamfontein until 2010, when he was appointed parish priest of St Martin de Porres, Orlando West. In 2021 he returned to Holy Trinity as Parish Priest and continues to serve as the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation for the Archdiocese of Johannesburg

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