‘Protect the Flock’ Church Security Ministry

“Protect the Flock” (PTF) is our new Church Security Ministry. Why does St. John Paul the Great Parish need a church security program? We researched events that occurred in Catholic and Christian churches across the U.S. The magnitude of dangerous events was astounding and is the reason this ministry is needed.

The federal National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) reported that from 2014 - 2020, 94% of church “incidents” took place in Christian churches rather than other denominations. Moreover, according to a Catholic Bishops publication, in just the last two years at least 170 incidents have occurred across 38 states and the District of Columbia. These incidents included arson; destruction of statues by smashing, painting or removing statue heads and limbs; defacing gravestones with swastikas and anti-Catholic language; burning American flags next to the statues; and other destruction and vandalism inside churches. In June 2020, the federal abortion law, Roe v. Wade, was overturned in Dobbs v. Jackson and abortion laws were sent back to the states. Pro-abortion protests were widespread across the country, and Catholic and Christian churches were vandalized, defaced with red paint, scrawled with graffiti and more. All are reasons why it is necessary to plan for emergencies in our own parish.

All churches must remain a welcome and loving environment for people to worship safely with peace of mind. You can have an open and devoted parish and at the same time watch over parishioners for danger and irregularities at liturgies.

PTF volunteers will receive training to look for specific behaviors and how to act on the information. They will also receive training to handle medical emergencies, fires, snowstorms, liturgy interruptions and other irregularities on our parish campus. In the highly unlikely chance of any of these events occurring, the PTF Team will know how to guide parishioners to safety. Knowledge is power. Preparation will reduce mass panic in the event of an emergency.

Anyone with a desire to care for God’s children is invited to join this ministry. We welcome people of all types of different backgrounds to join the team. The more diverse members we have, the more experience we can learn from each other.

Please consider volunteering at one Mass a week to watch over our parish family. More volunteers are needed. Call Robbie Raffa at the parish office 860-482-4433 to have all questions answered.

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.”

1 Peter 5:2-12