I wonder how many people in our College community are aware that this week (2-8 September) is “National Child Protection Week”, and that this coming Sunday (9 September) is “Child Protection Sunday”.
After so much publicity about the issue of child protection raised by the “Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse” and by some high profile court cases, as well as by the response of the Catholic Church, I do not intend to add any comments.
But I noticed that in a recent Newsletter from the Catholic Education Office in Melbourne, at the end of an article about child wellbeing and protection, there was a prayer. I reproduce it here below (with some adjustments), hoping that those who read this column will say it, asking God’s protection on all children and on those who feel hurt by abuse and neglect – not just in institutions (schools), but also in families.
Prayer for Child Protection Sunday
Lord, you invited children to come to you,
for it is to such as these that the Reign of God belongs.
Today we entrust our children to the care and protection
of our families and faith communities.
Guide us, as educators and protectors, to ensure
that our Christian communities provide a safe environment
for each child in our care.
We pray especially for all those who have been harmed in their childhood.
Give them courage in facing the past, and grant them healing and protection today and in the future.
In conclusion, at school in these last couple of weeks, we have been celebrating Year Level Masses, with a specific focus on family life.
So, if you are a parent, and you read this article, feel that you have been remembered in the school Masses. May God support and bless your efforts in providing care, protection and a Christian education for your children.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB
PS – For more information on National Child Protection Week, please go to: