SEP Training Program for Access to Vulnerable Adults

A vulnerable adult is a person 18 years or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, physical, developmental disability dysfunction, brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.

This program has been designed specifically for the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion  and Pastoral Care Provider (PCP) who has “unsupervised” access to people in their home, nursing home, hospital, or assisted living facility. Unlike the SEP training for those who work with children, this program has as its focus those who bring communion to vulnerable adults or those who provide services as a ministry such as assistance with errands, praying with, assistance with household chores, etc. EMHCs who assist with communion only at Mass do not have to meet the requirements of this program.

For those who visit vulnerable adults who are shut ins or sick & homebound at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals, the Diocese of St. Petersburg requires that these individuals participate in the Safe Environment Program Training for Access to Vulnerable Adults.  The format for this training has recently undergone a change, for example, the SEP Office will no longer be sending trainers out to parishes to do workshops.   However, the requirements from the Diocesan SEP Office have not changed:

  1. Each individual minister still needs to take the  online SEP Training that covers training for access to children and for access to vulnerable adults.  Please click here to access the training site.
  2.  Each individual minister still needs to be background checked/fingerprinted before being allow access to vulnerable adults.  The fingerprinting process is done through the Diocesan SEP Office.  Please click here to register and schedule a fingerprinting session.
  3. Training for the Church’s ritual Communion of the Sick will now take place at the parish level.  The Office of Worship, in collaboration with the Diaconate Office, is developing a Power Point presentation to train Parish Trainers and that can be used to train the parish’s EMHCs to the Sick & Homebound locally as needed.  In some cases, the Parish Trainer may be the permanent Deacon assigned to the parish or they may be a volunteer lay coordinator.  This Power Point presentation is being offered in English and Spanish.  To discover more about this particular portion of the training, the Office of Worship asks that ONLY the person responsible for this ministry (i.e. priest, deacon or lay volunteer coordinator), contact either Doug Reatini ( or Sylvia Sánchez ( phone number (727) 341-6828.

Pastoral Care Providers (PCPs) are adults who provide services to the sick, shut-in and the homebound as a ministry.  They may drive for them, read to them, visit with them, and do chores for them among other types of service.  PCPs must also receive SEP training and background screening because they, too, may have unsupervised access to or the care, responsibility, and or supervision of vulnerable adults.  PCPs will receive their initial Safe Environment Program training from the online SEP training course by clicking here.

PCPs will receive follow-on training from their respect pastoral care leaders at the parish level.  Pastoral Care Providers are also be required to successfully complete a FBI/FDLE (AFRNP) Level 2 background check based on fingerprints.  Please click here to begin the registration process to submit your fingerprints.