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So here is why it became necessary to lock the west doors at the parish center:
Many months ago, I was tasked by the Archbishop to ensure that the parish of St. Bernadette is compliant with safe-environment policies that conform to our Diocesan Insurance provider. Our Insurance provider has warned the Archdiocese that, unless all parishes comply with a safe-environment policy as approved by them, they will cease to cover the parishes and the Archdiocese. They are currently conducting audits at the parish level to ensure that their requirements are being met.
Now when I arrived here a year and a half ago, of the many things I knew I had to quickly deal with was that the parish of St. Bernadette was nearly 10 years behind in conforming to this mandatory requirement. Eight years ago, I had led the parish of St. Timothy toward the development and completion of its safe-environment compliance. So I am familiar with what is needed to make that happen.
Early on, with the parish team, we determined that the entrance where the washrooms are located creates an extreme-danger for our children and vulnerable adults while the community is at worship. This area is completely unsupervised and isolated and it creates an easy opportunity for predators of the vulnerable who seek to use the parish washrooms.
Furthermore, this entrance is easy access for any person who may have nefarious intentions of harming members of the Assembly by entering the building unchallenged … perhaps with a weapon. It is unchallenged, easy and leisurely access for strangers to the working sacristy and to the parish halls.
This extreme vulnerability, most especially to our children and vulnerable people, has finally just been confirmed by an expert consultant who has advised us to shut down this access immediately to avert, insofar as humanly possible, the high potential for a tragedy.
Ever wonder about our
Stained Glass Window?
Designed by Gerald E. Tooke, the window at the west end of the worship space is an outstanding work of sacred art. It shows the manner of our approach to God, and the opportunity given us by Jesus Christ to obtain our salvation through the Church.
The triangular shape is emphasized by the symbols of the Blessed Trinity. At the top, the hands of God reaching from heaven. The symbols of the dove (the Holy Spirit) and the lion (Jesus Christ, Lord of Life) support the bottom corners. The theme of the window moves from right to left, Alpha to Omega, beginning to end. The symbols under the Alpha come from Genesis. They include creation, the earth with day and night, the fall of Adam and Eve, the tablets of the Mosaic law, the tower of Babel, and the burning bush. The symbols under Omega come from Revelations. These include the angel trumpeting Christ (the lamb) atop the New Jerusalem, the book of the seven seals of revealed truth (Word of God), the river of life, the tree of life with the twelve fruit, and the twelve stars (the apostles). The central section draws us to the crucified and risen Lord; the continuing present; and our way to the future.
The main part of the window shows Christ as the Redeemer, glorified but with his wounds. The cross symbolizes his transcendence of the agony of the crucifixion. The church is symbolized by Our Lady and by the twelve apostles, with parted tongues of fire from the Pentecost. Indirect de-scent from Christ and the cross are the seven candlesticks representing the seven sacraments of the Church.
(From artist’s description)
St Bernadette has been placed in our northex as a focal point. She is also facing the Eucharist during mass.