Protocol for Responsible Parish Ministry

Responsible Ministry Binder

Catholics believe that our baptism makes us members of the People of God and members of the faith community we know as the Church.  The protection of children and vulnerable persons is part of the very mission of the Church.  We are all called to insure that all members of our church community are able to practice their faith in a safe environment, confident that all the faithful are committed to their protection and well being.

To insure the protection of all members of our church community we as a community must insure that there are procedures in place to protect the vulnerable persons in our community.  We are called to formalize this procedure to insure that all parishes in the Archdiocese of Regina are providing the same level of protection to the members of their community.  The manual is intended to increase the security of those participating in parish activities or receiving services through a ministry, by insuring that the individual providing the service is an appropriate candidate to serve in that ministry.

The Archdiocese of Regina confirms its commitment to oppose (i) sexual abuse in all its forms, (ii) financial abuse, and (iii) the exploitation of vulnerable persons.  Our primary concern must be for the victim.  The development and implementation of this policy has as its goals, the prevention of sexual abuse, the protection of vulnerable persons, the pastoral care of those wounded by sexual or other abuse; along with the acknowledgment of the legal rights of the accused and the appropriate action toward those who have committed abuse.

In particular, the Archdiocese of Regina, through appropriate intervention and education and the establishment of procedures for risk management, will work toward eliminating sexual abuse, financial abuse, and exploitation of children and vulnerable persons that arise out of positions of trust.  Positions of trust can include the relationships that priests, parish ministers, religious, members of the pastoral team, parish employees and volunteers have with parishioners.

The Archdiocese of Regina expects its bishop, priests, deacons, lay personnel and volunteers to live chaste and moral lives; respecting in every way the integrity of others.  Sexual abuse, financial abuse, and exploitation of children and vulnerable persons abuse the power and authority of the pastoral role of all who work for and serve the People of God.  The primary aim of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan is for all to grow in personal holiness. 

The Archdiocese of Regina supports open and frank discussion of the social tragedy of sexual abuse and holds that it is not acceptable to ignore, minimize or cover up instances of sexual abuse.  Whenever sexual abuse is reported, appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that it will not reoccur, and to prevent other similar cases.

The Archdiocese of Regina will co-operate with the criminal and civil judicial systems, subject to the inviolability of the Sacramental Seal of Confession.

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Our Protocol manual below can be downloaded in segments - forms can be downloaded individually.

If you wish to be able to fill in the form on your computer, download the Editable Form in Word version, fill in and print it off. 

If you wish to be able to print off mulitple copies of the form for your parish, use the PDF version. 

Section I

Section II

Section III

If you wish to be able to fill in the form on your computer, download the Editable Form in Word version, fill in and print it off. 

If you wish to be able to print off mulitple copies of the form for your parish, use the PDF version. 

Section IV

Section V

  • In Progress

Section VI

Section VII – Children and Youth Ministry

What's New

The questions you ask should be open-ended questions.  That means questions that require the volunteer to give an answer more involved than “yes” or “no”.  For example, instead of asking “So, you want to be involved in children’s liturgy?” you might ask “So, why do you want to be involved in children’s liturgy?”  As much as possible be affirming of their answers.  For long term volunteers, it is more of a conversion so you can affirm what they do.

You don’t want to ask more than 3 or 4 questions.  You may need to ask clarifying questions especially when dealing with people new to the ministry. 

Remember, if you have enough volunteers, you do not have to take everyone who applies for a ministry.

Some general questions you might ask, include the following (remember keep the interview short but to the point.)

Sample questions for long term ministry volunteers:

What have you learned from doing this ministry for so many years? What would you share with... Read More

Valid question especially for the long term parishioners who have been involved in the parish forever.  So interview committees must be very careful with this.  First, create a very comfortable atmosphere.  It can be over coffee.  It can be after mass on Sunday or even before mass. 

The purpose of the interview is to be sure that the volunteer has the skills to carry out the ministry.  So twenty years of experience probably is an indicator that they might know what they are doing – although not always.  Plan a few questions.  Use the interview as an opportunity to thank your volunteers for what they have done and continue to do.  The interview is an opportunity to celebrate the people who volunteer their time.

For new volunteers, you use the interview to be sure they understand what they need to do and what the commitment is.  It is also a time to affirm the volunteer that they are welcomed and appreciated.

Next blog “What kind of...

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What do you mean, I need references?

Last updated on November 20, 2013

People involved in High Security ministries, such as Children’s Liturgy or Collection Counters, need to give two references.  The Screening committee is responsible for checking the references. 

In the binder, there is a Reference Letter Form (Section 3 page 11-12).  There is also a Telephone Reference Form (Section 3 page 9-10).  We are recommending the letter rather than the phone call. 

When gathering reference information some tips can help the process.  If you are giving volunteers the information about their ministry, you can give them the reference form in an envelope with the Screening Committee Coordinator’s name and address on it.  We recommend the address of the church be used, if possible.  It is more business-like and often more comfortable for the volunteer.

If the Screening Committee is meeting with a group such as attending the training session for Collection Counters, they can bring the Volunteer forms and the reference...

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How do volunteers get a Criminal Record Check?

Last updated on November 13, 2013

Getting a Criminal Record Check (CRC) is not hard to do in the vast majority of cases.  A Parish Volunteer Screening Committee member should contact their local police station or RCMP detachment to find out the process followed in your area.  In most cases CRC’s are free for volunteers but there are some detachments who charge a small amount.  Once you have the process, share it with your volunteers.

When going into the police station, remind volunteers that they need two pieces of government identification such as a driver’s license (picture and address) and a health card. 

The police compare volunteers’ birthdates against criminals’ birthdates.  If a volunteer has the same birthdate (day, month and year), they will have to be finger printed.  This happens very rarely but it can happen.  The key is to reassure the volunteers that this is not a reflection on them, it is just bad luck.

Once the CRC is completed, the volunteer gives it to...

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When you are going through the ministries, you will see that most of the ministries are designated as General Security and some as High Security. 

High Security ministries are ones where the volunteer works with vulnerable people such as children under 18, frail seniors, or physically/ mentally/ emotionally vulnerable people.  The setting of a ministry may make it High Security such as home visits or hospital visits.  Certain activities, such as overnight trips, ministries that deal with people in situations that are highly emotional, and ministries where people handle funds and/or money, are considered High Security.  So remember that a General Security ministry can become a High Security position if the circumstances change.

For a more detailed description of what is High Security go to Section 2 Page 11 of the manual which can be found on the Archdiocese of Regina web-site.  All of the other ministries are considered General Security. 

Volunteers for...

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“And what is we do not have a Committee?

Last updated on November 6, 2013

We have heard from some parish communities that they are having trouble finding a Parish Volunteer Screening Committee.  So what do you do?  We need volunteers in order to run our parishes effectively.  But we need to implement the Protocol so we can use volunteers.  A real Catch 22 situation!

First, most people do not want to be part of the committee because they are not sure what it entails.  So they tend to imagine the worst.  If you just look at the binder – it is pretty scary.  In reality, most of the binder is forms and ministry descriptors which actually make the job easier. 

Secondly, the task seems overwhelming.  With so many ministries people question how can they do it all?  What most people do not realize is you have some time to complete the task – until May 2014.  So doing one ministry at a time until they are all completed works.  Also, most of the ministries are what is called general security which means the volunteer fills in a form, reads a...

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At present, our insurance providers are allowing our Archdiocese time to work with the parishes in establishing their committees and assisting them with their work.

In approximately one year, the insurance providers will be surveying all the parishes to make sure we have all complied with the process and have a working committee.  It is expected that a random sampling of parishes will be chosen to be audited.

BUT, the insurance providers should not be the main reason we do this.  We all have the desire to ensure that our youth, elderly and those in the vulnerable sector of our society are protected.  I would definitely want anyone working with my grandparents, parents or children vetted.  When we entrust the care of our family to the church, we trust that they will be safe and kept from harm.

If we do not take the time to do the work and something happens to an individual, will you be able to look yourself in the mirror and say you did the best you could do?  I...

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Why We Have the Protocol

Last updated on September 18, 2013

A Protocol for Responsible Parish Ministry, you ask.  As if it isn’t hard enough already to find volunteers, now we have to add another layer of paperwork!!

Fair comments, especially when one first looks at the binder.  But the task is not as daunting as it first appears.

The first question is why?  Well, history tells us that as a church we were not very successful in ensuring the safety of our children, elderly, disabled or the infirm.  We were somewhat better at securing our finances but not necessarily so.  Protecting the vulnerable should not be a difficult concept for us to understand and, although not perfect, references and criminal record checks are the tools utilized to ensure safety.  Thus the binder.

As an Archdiocese, it is imperative that we use common practices among all the parishes.  The majority of the Parishes across Canada have implemented similar protocols and have been using them for several years.

The Archdiocese of Regina is among...

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