A couple of months ago we implemented some safety measures for the parish and in particular for the church on Sunday mornings. The most noticed measure is the request that everyone enters the church by the main front doors. The second safety step is the implementation of “ushers” in the Gathering Area and other places in the church. The request that everyone enter by the front doors has been received in a positive fashion and folks are adjusting. The “ushers” are not really ushers in the traditional sense, but their purpose is to welcome people at the doors as well as keep an eye out for any unusual activity. A third thing we will be implementing soon are security cameras of the property, the Security Committee, a sub-committee of the Buildings and Grounds Committee is presently collecting bids for this portion of the project.
So, you do not think we are alone in implementing security measures I refer you to an article I recently read in the National Catholic Reporter entitled “Mass shootings spur moves toward preparedness in churches, schools” (9/3/19), by Don Clemmer. Here is a brief quote from the article: “When Tom Walsh visited a parish in a small Texas town for Sunday Mass in November 2017, his experience was something out of a how-to guide for parish discipleship. Upon entering the little church, a married couple walked up to him, greeted him warmly and even asked what he — a stranger to the area — was doing in town. It was the sort of greeting one might associate with a faith community that is welcoming and intentional in its outreach. But Walsh — a retired police detective who has helped corporations and public entities implement policies for protecting against acts of violence — saw the outreach for what it was. ‘It was exactly like they used to train people in banks,’ he observed. This incident occurred within a couple weeks of the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting, in which 27 people died. It made perfect sense to Walsh that a parish would be employing such a safety measure. The mass shootings this summer…have once again drawn attention to how just about any gathering of people can be a target. And with churches and schools represented among the list of mass shooting targets going back more than 20 years, the imperative for Catholic institutions to prepare themselves is clear. The small things help! ‘We're going to work with the physical layout and the mission of that organization,’ Dolan said. Many institutions are apprehensive about the resources that might be required to meet the needs of preparedness, but a ‘layered approach’ can ensure that there are numerous simple, low-cost and highly effective measures an organization can implement almost immediately. One example, Dolan said, would be to designate one person to watch the exits "while everyone is looking at the altar." Clemmer’s article can be found at https://www.ncronline.org/news/parish/mass-shootings-spur-moves-toward-preparedness-churches-schools?clickSource=email
I thank you for responding so positively to the implementations of these security measures. There are other measures being implemented that will not be as obvious.
As I have said before, I never thought in my most wild imagination, I would be involved in having to implement security measures, but it is the present reality.
I hope your summer has be good, welcome back to those who have been away at summer homes and traveling.
Let us continue to pray for and take action to bring about peace in our world!
In peace and courage,