Safe environment training for youths now available to all parishes, schools
Diocese introduces 'Circle of Grace' program
CHARLOTTE — More than 75 faith formation coordinators, educators and priests from around the diocese gathered recently to learn about a new initiative in creating safe environments for children and teens called "Circle of Grace."
A "Circle of Grace" is the love and goodness of God that surrounds us and others. It is the recognition that God is always with us and is there to help us in difficult situations.
The Circle of Grace program was developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha to educate children and youth about the value of positive relationships with God and with others. It is a program both rich in the Catholic faith and clinically sound, offering lesson plans for children from kindergarten through grade 12.
Mary Beth Hanus of the Archdiocese of Omaha, who is one of the program's creators, conducted the all-day training.
The Circle of Grace program is intended to ensure the safety, well-being and spiritual formation of children and youths in response to Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Through this program, adults assist children and youths to recognize God's love by understanding that each of us lives and moves within a Circle of Grace. This Circle of Grace encompasses each person's body, mind, heart, soul and sexuality. A prayer is used to help illustrate this concept.
Another goal of the program is to teach children and youths to seek help from a trusted adult, reinforcing God's presence in their real-life struggles.
Terri Wilhelm, director of human resources for the Diocese of Charlotte, helped coordinate the training and assists in distributing the materials to interested parishes and Catholic schools.
"It is more of a Catholic program than what we already had," Wilhelm said. "Father (Roger) Arnsparger brought it to me... The response to the training was great, which is a good sign."
The materials are also available in Spanish and the lesson plans are available in Vietnamese as well.
One educator who attended the training commented afterwards that the program is a "great Catholic framework to teach these safety lessons to our youth."
The diocese hopes to see the materials widely used in next year's classes in the parishes and schools.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
A Circle of Grace
Raising your hands above your head and then
bringing your arms slowly down
keeping them outstretched.
Extending your arms
in front of you
and then behind you
embracing all of the space around you
knowing that God is in this space with you.
reach down to your feet.
This is your
Circle of Grace.
You are in it.
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rightsAs a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical ChristianityRecently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrificeSt. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...
Brian Williams:The honest 411 on Vatican III recently had the opportunity to take a class about the Second Vatican Council offered through a diocesan adult education program. While much was covered within a relatively short span of four classes, one subject occupied much of our time...
William L. Esser IV: Love and 'gay marriage'It's always best to get your disclaimer on the table early, so here is mine: I'm a lawyer, I love my Catholic faith, and I love my country. So it should come as no surprise that I have been following the recent "gay marriage" cases before the...
Peggy Bowes: Be the stranger"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." — Blanche DeBois, "A Streetcar Named Desire" I was quietly praying the rosary, holding a "Pray to Stop Abortion" sign outside Planned Parenthood in Winston-Salem, when a delivery truck...
Deacon James Toner: On Christian RealismWe Catholics often find ourselves trying to chart a wise and balanced course between justice and mercy, between solemnity and a touch of appropriate humor, between the classical and the contemporary. So it is with the law of love and the fact...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Warrior saints are found throughout historyRegarding the April 26 letter criticizing St. Nicholas of Flue, I am disgusted that an American would insinuate that a soldier who distinguishes himself or herself in combat is not following...
Who would be worthy?In a letter in the April 26 Catholic News Herald, St. Nicholas of Flue was referred to as someone who "did not follow those teachings" of Christ because he defended the faith with his sword and...
St. Peregrine is a model to followI greatly admire the saints. The stories of youthful saints speak powerfully to me and never fail to captivate me; since I am 15, I can relate particularly to them. When I read the article about...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy