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Saint Leo University Offering Transfer Students New Scholarships, 50% Tuition

 

 Open House Planned for May 4 for Those Interested in Study Florida Transfer Scholarship

Saint Leo University is offering a new scholarship to ease the transition for transfer students pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree. The Study Florida Transfer Scholarship, which awards students who have earned an associate degree a 50 percent tuition discount, is available for students transferring to Saint Leo for the Fall 2019 Semester. Classes begin Tuesday, August 20.

Eligible students who complete an associate degree program in the United States can earn their bachelor’s degree for $11,550 a year with this scholarship.

Those interested in transferring and learning more about the scholarship may attend a Transfer Open House on Saturday, May 4. The open house will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the university’s main campus at 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574. The university is located in Pasco County, north of Tampa, FL.

Transfer students and their families are invited to learn more about the scholarship, complete an on-the-spot transfer credit evaluation, receive instant admission, and register for courses for Fall 2019 Semester. To register for the open house, call the Office of Admissions at (352) 588-8283 or visit https://www.saintleo.edu/transfer-students-admissions.

“We understand that cost is an important factor in a student’s college search, particularly as a transfer student,” said Dr. Senthil Kumar, vice president of University Campus Admissions and Center for Global Engagement. “By offering this level of scholarship to U.S. and international students already studying in the United States, we can bring a private university education within reach, in an easy and affordable way.”

Tuition for full-time students for Saint Leo’s 2019 – 2020 academic year is $23,100. The scholarship is applicable for new students enrolling for the Fall 2019 Semester, who plan to attend University Campus. The scholarship also is available to dual-enrollment students who hold an associate degree from a Florida high school. In addition, the Study Florida Transfer Scholarship is automatically renewable each semester until graduation.

Because of the many services Saint Leo offers transfer students as well as its high percentage of course credit acceptance, the university expects a record number of transfer students this fall, Kumar said.

“The scholarship can further encourage students to expand their search to include Saint Leo University and make a decision that’s both quick and rewarding,” he said.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

USF Catholic Alumni Society Launches to Connect the Community

On Saturday, April 6, USF graduates from the last 50 years gathered at Bellarmine Hall, the faith-based housing complex on the campus of the Catholic Student Center. The alumni social was an introduction to the newly formed Catholic Bulls Alumni Society, an organization that seeks to strengthen the future of the USF Catholic community by providing opportunities for faith-based fellowship and service that support current students and alumni. Alumni are invited to attend the next event, the Baccalaureate & Confirmation Mass & Social on Sunday, April 28 at 10:00 AM.

Attendees came from parishes throughout the Diocese, with one alumna traveling from Sarasota to attend the event. Meagan Eastman, an alumna and Chair of the Alumni Society was “impressed by the connections that formed between graduates of different generations,” as attendees bonded about graduating with the same major and discussed the many changes that have occurred on campus in the past several years.

The event focused on fellowship and provided alumni with an opportunity to learn about the recent and planned growth of the USF Catholic Community. Participants learned about the growth USF campus ministry has experienced over the last 18 months. There are now more than 400 students registered as members of the Catholic Student Union and last summer Father Justin Paskert hired recent graduate, Carly Bosse, to serve as the first full-time Campus Minister. At the event, Carly discussed the many ways that the CSU is working to reach students directly on campus, including celebrating Sunday Mass in the Marshall Student Center in the Fall and Spring semesters, and hosting small groups in various locations to help the Catholic community be a visible presence on campus.

The Catholic Bulls Alumni Society is an important component of the intended growth of the community. It seeks to provide a continued home for recent USF graduates, as well as a way for past graduates to maintain a relationship with the university and the CSU. To learn more about the Alumni Society, visit https://catholicusf.org/alumni-society or follow on Facebook @CatholicAlumnus.

 

Parishes Share New Plans for Catholic Impact Initiatives

Our mutually-shared vision of Courageously Living the Gospel calls us to think outside the walls of our churches in pursuit of ministering to families and young people and serving those in need.

That’s why Bishop Gregory Parkes has asked parishes to address local community issues and mobilize cross-parish creativity to make a difference!

These projects are called “Catholic Impact Initiatives” and to date, nine new ideas have been submitted to Bishop Parkes that enable parishes to work together to make an impact and meet a need. The initiatives are in various stages of development and some will take many months to implement. Stay tuned for additional details once they are available.

Overview of the Diocese of St. Petersburg Catholic Impact Initiatives 

PROJECT: Provide an array of educational classes offered by the local Catholic community to support the daily life needs of individuals and families within our parishes and surrounding communities.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Dade City, St. Anne Catholic Church, Ridge Manor, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, San Antonio, St. Anthony the Abbot, Brooksville, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Zephyrhills, St. Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, Massaryktown, St. Rita Catholic Church, Dade City (East Central Deanery)


PROJECT: Provide counseling services to families and individuals at a convenient location and time to help those struggling with family and divorce difficulties, stress, anxiety or other issues. (Read more here.)

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Espiritu Santo Catholic Church, Safety Harbor; Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Dunedin; St. Matthew Catholic Church, Largo; St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Clearwater; St. Brendan Catholic Church, Clearwater, Light of Christ Catholic Church, Clearwater, All Saints Catholic Church, Clearwater, St. Michael the Archangel, Clearwater, St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Tarpon Springs, St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church, Palm Harbor. (Central Deanery)


PROJECT: Develop a Catholic Youth Sports League with a focus on good sportsmanship, fun and faith.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Temple Terrace;  Epiphany of Our Lord, Tampa; Immaculate Conception Haitian Mission, Tampa, Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Tampa; Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Land O’Lakes; Santa Maria Mission, Tampa, St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission, Tampa, St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Mary Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Paul Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Timothy, Lutz;  USF Catholic Student Center, Tampa (North Central Deanery)


PROJECT: Upgrade the cabins at Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp in Citrus County to better serve youth in the community.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Inverness; Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Beverly Hills; St. Benedict Catholic Church, Crystal River; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Citrus Springs; St. Scholastica Catholic Church, Lecanto; St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, Homosassa Springs


PROJECT: Develop a comprehensive Campus Ministry to the catholic Students at the University of Tampa and those interested in the Catholic Faith.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Christ the King Catholic Church, Tampa; Incarnation Catholic Church, Tampa;  Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Tampa; Our Lady of the Bay Chapel MacDill AFB, Tampa; Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Joseph Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Patrick Catholic Church, Tampa; St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, Tampa   (South Central Deanery)


PROJECT:  Relocate, rebuild the area Food Bank in order to better serve the hungry in southeast Hillsborough County. A new location and a new facility will allow for a more robust response to the 40 (plus) Food Pantries in that geographical area – including seven Catholic parishes.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Tampa; Mary, Help of Christians Catholic Church, Tampa; Nativity Catholic Church, Brandon; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Wimauma; Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Sun City Center; Resurrection Catholic Church, Riverview; St. Anne Catholic Church, Ruskin; St. Clement Catholic Church, Plant City; St. Francis of Assisi, Catholic Church, Seffner; St. Stephen Catholic Church, Valrico (Southeast Deanery)


PROJECT: Establish a Catholic Campus Ministry for University of South Florida-St. Petersburg Campus.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, St. Petersburg; Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle, St. Petersburg; Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Petersburg; Mercy of God Polish Mission. St. Petersburg; Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Gulfport; St. John Vianney Catholic Church, St. Pete Beach; St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Petersburg; St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, St. Petersburg; St. Paul Catholic Church, St. Petersburg; St. Raphael Catholic Church, St. Petersburg; Transfiguration Catholic Church, St. Petersburg (Southern Deanery)


PROJECT: Provide increased assistance to the homeless population of Pinellas Hope to include direct service, education and financial support.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Seminole; Holy Cross Catholic Church, St. Petersburg, Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Pastoral Mission, Largo; Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Pinellas Park; St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Clearwater; St. Jerome Catholic Church, Indian Rocks/Largo; St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church, Seminole; St. Matthew, Largo; St. Patrick Catholic Church, Largo (Southwest Deanery)


PROJECT: Support youth in the community by offering special faith enrichment, social and service events.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES: Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, New Port Richey; St. Frances X. Cabrini Catholic Church, Spring Hill; St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, Port Richey; St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Spring Hill; St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, Hudson; St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Trinity; St. Theresa Catholic Church, Spring Hill; St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, New Port Richey; St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Holiday (West Central Deanery)

 

New Video Helps Students Day-to-Day

Saint Leo University is helping youth and young adults to courageously live the Gospel. They have produced a video called “Day-to-Day Tips for Living Your Faith.”

Sarah Bermudez, a graduate of St. Petersburg Catholic High School and an Education Major at Saint Leo is featured in the video.  This is the first time she has appeared in a university video but she was glad to share her personal experiences as a Catholic college student with others.

“I have a huge passion for young adult ministry and I personally struggled with my transition into college as a Catholic. This was a topic that hit home and where I believed I could be a good example of a student who balances an active social life in college while still practicing my faith,” said Bermudez.

“Living your faith” video from Diocese of St. Petersburg on Vimeo.

The idea for the video came from a brainstorming session among members of the Saint Leo University Communications Office. The team discussed ideas that could be shared with the local Catholic community and asked the question, “As a university, what resources and expertise do we have to offer others?”

With a focus on serving teens and young adults, they brainstormed with Saint Leo students and came up with the idea of doing a video to provide helpful tips for staying focused on faith during those college years.

The video could help students to take courage on campus!

“I hope that those who watch the video are gifted with the courage to live radically in their faith. I would love others to see that there are other like-minded individuals who want to live a life for Christ, even in college or high school,” added Bermudez.

 

 

Local Parishes Collaborate to Provide Counseling Services to Pinellas County Families

One out of every six adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness each year and Florida ranks 44th in the nation for access to mental health treatment, according to the Florida Behavioral Health Association.

In light of these and other sobering statistics, ten parishes in Pinellas County are joining forces to increase access to mental health services.

“As Catholics, we desire to serve others and reach out to those in need,” said Father Len Piotrowski, pastor of Espiritu Santo Parish, Safety Harbor. “Out of concern for the spiritual and mental health of our community, these parishes will offer an array of mental health services provided by licensed, degreed and certified therapists, counselors and psychiatrists.” (Click here to read the brochure with a list of counselors and contact information.)

Father Len added “Whether people are driving to work or dropping off children at school, our churches are located along the way and hopefully convenient for people who can benefit from family counseling, divorce counseling, or who need help because of stress, anxiety or other issues.”

About 200 people gathered recently at Light of Christ Catholic Church in Clearwater for Mass, Stations of the Cross and to learn about the new Counseling Initiative which has been organized by the Central Deanery of the Diocese of St. Petersburg to align with the diocesan vision, Courageously Living the Gospel. Bishop Gregory Parkes has asked parishes to address local community issues and mobilize cross-parish creativity to establish desired outcomes.

“I commend you for coming together courageously as you have been asked by your bishop to be bold in bringing about new pastoral initiatives,” said Father Len.

Andy Shannon, Director of Campus Ministry, Clearwater Central Catholic High School, spoke at the event. He encouraged attendees to spread the word about the new counseling services because, “it’s important to deal with issues straight on and not sweep them under a rug.”

Shannon has been in the ministry of Catholic education for over 28 years and has earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame. He stressed the importance of self-care.

“Self-care means taking a look in the mirror and considering our emotional well-being, which sometimes requires professional help, known as therapy or counseling,” said Shannon, who throughout the years has benefitted from individual, marital and family counseling.

“All of it has produced goodness, wisdom, compassion in my life and the life of others,” he said.

The new Counseling Initiative seeks to support children, teens, young adults, families and anyone in need of guidance through challenging and stressful situations. The goal is to also provide counseling for coping skills and addictions.

HOW TO GET HELP:

Contact the counselor of your choice and schedule an appointment. Each person requesting an appointment should call or email the counselor directly to discuss any fees. Each counselor is independent and fees/insurance options vary. Office space is provided Monday-Friday at the following parishes:

Safety Harbor: Espiritu Santo Catholic Church
Dunedin: Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Largo: St. Matthew Catholic Church
Clearwater: St. Cecilia Catholic Church, St. Brendan Catholic Church, Light of Christ Catholic Church, All Saints Catholic Church, St. Michael the Archangel
Tarpon Springs: St. Ignatius Catholic Church
Palm Harbor: St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church

 

Chairman of US Bishops Pro Life Committee Issues Statement on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

On April 2, U.S. Representative Steve Scalise filed a discharge petition to force a vote on Representative Ann Wagner’s bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. If the petition receives 218 signatures, House members will vote on legislation ensuring that any child born alive following an abortion attempt receives the same degree of care as would be given to another child born at the same gestational age.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:

“Our nation is better than infanticide. Babies born alive during the process of abortion deserve the same care and medical assistance as any other newborn. To not provide care is a lethal form of discrimination against the circumstances of the child’s birth. I strongly urge all representatives to sign this petition and then vote for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This bill would add specific requirements to help ensure that babies born alive after an abortion attempt can have a fair shot at life.”

The Archbishop’s letter to the House and other resources may be found here.

Key Reasons for Passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Catholic Bishops of Florida Honor Raoul G. Cantero, III with Distinguished Catholic Leader Award

Raoul G. Cantero, III, former Florida Supreme Court Justice, was honored on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, with the Thomas A. Horkan, Jr. Distinguished Catholic Leader Award. The award was presented at the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol luncheon attended by the Catholic bishops of Florida, current Florida Supreme Court Justices, state lawmakers, and nearly 400 Catholic faithful from across the state.

The Distinguished Catholic Leader Award is given to a Catholic Floridian whose life and work has deepened respect for life and increased appreciation for the human dignity of the people of Florida. The award is named for and was first presented in 1995 to Thomas A. Horkan, Jr., founding executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference. Cantero is the eighth recipient since the award’s inception.

Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, presented the award drawing several parallels between Cantero and the award’s namesake. “Both are notable for their faith and love for the Lord, mediated through the Church, and a love of their wives and children and the people around them,” said Sheedy. Both also hail from Miami; both trained as attorneys, left successful legal practices and moved to Tallahassee for service.

Raoul G. Cantero, III (left) with Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami

Cantero is consistently recognized in legal directories among the top or best lawyers in his area of practice in Florida and indeed the nation. He was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2002 and served in that capacity until 2008. He is currently a partner at White & Case and leads their Miami Disputes Practice.

In Cantero’s acceptance speech he discussed his vocation as a Catholic lawyer, “Therefore, my vocation as a Catholic lawyer must begin with the vocation of every Catholic. That is, the Catholic must first be faithful to Catholic principles.” He also shared, “Many of us complain about how hard it is for a Catholic to be a lawyer, legislator, physician, business leader or whatever. Sure, it’s hard to be a Catholic lawyer, but mostly because it is hard to be a Catholic…As Catholics, we are called, no matter what our vocation, to be holy, to aspire to sainthood.”

Catholic Days at the Capitol is held annually during the Florida Legislative Session. Catholics from around the state gather in Tallahassee for a legislative briefing before attending scheduled meetings with their elected officials. During a luncheon for participants, selected civic leaders are honored for their contributions to the State of Florida.

 

Bishop Gregory Parkes to Celebrate Annual Chrism Mass on April 16

 

Gathering of all Priests, Blessing and Consecration of Holy Oils

At this year’s Chrism Mass, Most Reverend Gregory Parkes will be joined by Bishop Emeritus Robert Lynch, Bishop Joseph Potocnak, S.C.J. (retired), Abbot Isaac Comacho, O.S.B, approximately 170 priests and 50 deacons, as well as religious sisters and brothers, seminarians, and other representatives from 74 parishes and 6 missions in the counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus. A video stream of the Chrism Mass can be viewed here. You can also listen to a broadcast on Spirit FM 90.5.

What:                  Annual Chrism Mass during Holy Week
When:                 Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where:                Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle, 5815 Fifth Avenue, St. Petersburg

During this Mass, Bishop Gregory Parkes will consecrate the Sacred Chrism Oil that will be used during thousands of Baptisms and Confirmations throughout the coming year in local parishes. The bishop will also bless the Oil of Catechumens that is reserved for adults preparing to be baptized and the Oil of the Sick, that is reserved for those who are seriously ill. After the Mass, leaders from parishes and missions receive vessels of these Holy Oils to take back to their places of worship.

The newly blessed and consecrated Holy Oils from the Chrism Mass will be first used at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, April 20. On this day, more than 350 people will become new Catholics at parishes throughout the Diocese receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.

Additional Information:

At the Chrism Mass, celebrated in churches throughout the world, priests renew their personal dedication to Jesus Christ, promise to unite themselves closer to Christ and renew their commitment to priestly service. It is an expression of unity of the priests with their shepherd, the bishop of the Diocese. In 2019, 25 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate special milestone anniversaries of their ordination. As is our tradition, Bishop Gregory Parkes will honor them during the Chrism Mass. This year’s honorees are as follows:

25th Anniversary
Rev. Erwin Belgica
Rev. Joseph P. Chacko
Rev. Salim Joseph, OFM
Rev. Joel M. Kovanis
Rev. Emery N. Longanga
Rev. Brian J. McColl
Rev. Clement Oyafemi
Rev. Robert H. Young

40th Anniversary
Rev. Michael T. O’Brien
Rev. Richard Pilger, IC
Rev. Edward Reiter, MSA

50th Anniversary
Rev. James Gordon, IC
Rev. Msgr. Patrick Irwin
Rev. John Kane
Rev. Patrick J. Lloyd, SCJ
Rev. Richard Maloney, SDS
Rev. Steve Pujdak, SCJ
Rev. Kenneth E. Ridgeway, SM
Rev. John Vakulskas

60th Anniversary
Rev. Msgr. Antonio Diez
Rev. Thomas Jones, OFM
Rev. Raymond C. Mann, OFM

65th Anniversary
Rev. Jose G. Gonzalez
Rev. Robert Schindler
Rev. Robert Velten, OSB

About the Diocese of St. Petersburg

The Diocese of St. Petersburg is comprised of over 479,000 Catholics within the five counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus.  It includes 74 parishes, 6 missions, 48 schools and early childhood centers and a variety of social service, health care, housing and pastoral ministries. Mass is celebrated regularly in 12 languages and we are led by Most Reverend Gregory Parkes, who was installed as the fifth bishop of our Diocese on January 4, 2017.

 

 

 

Resources for Child Abuse Prevention

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and is a reminder to all Catholics that the ultimate responsibility of an adult is to ensure that abuse does not occur. Therefore, we should always be vigilant and aware. In an effort to promote education and to assist parishes and families in making child safety and abuse prevention a priority, the Diocese of St. Petersburg offers the following resources:

Child Abuse Prevention Resources  (Safe Environment Office)

Child Abuse Prevention Resources (Department of Evangelization, Formation, Youth & Family Life)

Diocese of St. Petersburg Safe Environment Training

Faith and Digital Safety Information

Anti-Pornography Information

Novena for the Protection and Healing from Abuse

Resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Also, if you ever become aware of sexual abuse, you should always call law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.

If someone should need assistance because of sexual abuse by Church personnel (clergy, a church employee or volunteer) or a contractor/vendor, they should contact our Victim Assistance Minister, John Lambert, LCSW at (866) 407-4505 or by email: jl@dosp.org.

To learn about resources available from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and their Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal, click on the following links:

The Charter for the Protection of Young People
Promise to Protect Poster
Promise to Protect Bookmark
Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal Prayer Card

To learn about how the Church is working to protect children and to learn how you can help prevent child sexual abuse, watch this video.

 

Learn More About Protecting Children During National Child Abuse Prevention Month

In the Diocese of St. Petersburg, the Safe Environment Office oversees a comprehensive program of child abuse prevention that is focused on background checks and training of all adults entrusted with the care, responsibility and/or supervision of minors or vulnerable adults.

“Our obligation to protect minors and all vulnerable persons and to prevent sexual abuse flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve,” said Michael Craig, diocesan Safe Environment Program Coordinator.

Since 1992, the Diocese of St. Petersburg has trained and fingerprinted more than 60,000 priests, deacons, teachers, employees and volunteers as well as contractors and vendors working in close proximity to minors or vulnerable adults. Also, in 2018 alone, the Diocese trained over 24,000 young persons on personal safety and awareness of potential exploitation and boundary violations through the Safe Environment Student Education Program in all parish and Catholic school programs for children and youth.

Throughout the year and especially during National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the Safe Environment Office seeks to encourage all individuals to make the safety of young people a priority. Equipping parents with knowledge, skills, and resources is essential to preventing child abuse and creating strong and thriving children, youth, and families in our communities.  For this reason, the Safe Environment Office in conjunction with the Evangelization, Formation, Youth and Family Life Office provides resources online for parents and guardians. (Click here for resources.) Some of the articles highlight the warning signs of predators and provide precautionary steps to ensuring the safety of our vulnerable population.

“Everyone needs to be vigilant to keep children safe,” said Craig. “It is our sacred responsibility as people of faith.”

The Catholic Church recognizes their enormous responsibility to secure a safe environment for minors and admits tragic failures in certain situations.

“The sexual abuse of children and young people by some priests, bishops and deacons and the ways in which these crimes were not adequately addressed, have caused enormous pain, anger, and confusion. I express great sorrow for what the Catholic faithful have endured,” said Bishop Gregory Parkes.  “We denounce all forms of sexual abuse by any person or any institution as a reprehensible crime and believe that perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

For more information about the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s child abuse prevention programs and activities, click here.