Write In Between

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Support Bishop Vasa's project!

In recent years, I've become acquainted with Bishop Robert Vasa, shepherd of the Diocese of Baker, OR. Our correspondences were an exchange ideas regarding the TAT program (Talking about Touching) currently being used in the Boston area Catholic schools and parishes, as mandated by Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children, distributed by the US Catholic Bishops. More specifically, we discussed how to find or create alternative programs that would meet the mandate, but be better grounded and formulated in Catholic ethics and practice and, therefore, better suited for our Catholic life.

Last year, you may recall, the Catholic Medical Association released their task force report that recommends the discontinuation of "child empowerment programs" (such as TAT) in favor of programs that empower parents to live their Catholic call more fully as the primary educators of their children. (For more detail, read the executive summary of that report

Bishop Vasa has been a tireless voice both locally and nationally on this subject (for his take on things, read his columns here starting with this one.)

Now he is championing a Catholic program that meets this need. He recently contacted me with the email below. He has given me permission promote his message to interested parties who may lend their prayers and financial support to such a project.

Kindly read his letter below, pray for the project, and if your so inclined, send a generous donation to this address:

Diocese of Baker
P.O. Box 5999
Bend, Oregon 97708
Make checks payable to Diocese of Baker - Safe Children Project.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 6:47 PM
Subject: Message from Bishop Vasa regarding Safe Environment Programs

Office of the Bishop
BOX 5999
Telephone (541) 388-4004 FAX (541) 388-2566
E-mail BpVasa@DioceseofBaker.org

Dear Friends:

It has been a while since I corresponded with you regarding the Safe Environment Programs which are being used throughout the Dioceses of the US. I write to give you an update, offer some hope and ask a favor.

UPDATE: In the Fall of 2006 the Catholic Medical Association issued a Report titled: To Protect and to Prevent: The Sexual Abuse of Children and its Prevention. This Report is available for purchase on the CMA website: Cathmed.org. One of the recommendations of the Report was: “ We recommend that the energy and resources now directed to child and adolescent empowerment programs be refocused on the development of programs to assist parents in being the primary educators and protectors of their children.” As you can imagine this recommendation has not been accepted or acted upon by the producers of other Child Protection strategies.

HOPE: It does not appear that others will engage in the recommended work. Thus, I have been working with a small group of dedicated Healthcare Professionals and Priests to fulfill this recommendation. We have studied the issues more thoroughly and have been engaged in formulating the script and format for a 6 hour video series focusing on strengthening and reinforcing good parenting as a primary way to assure the safety of children. The proposed title of our effort might be something like: Strong Families: Safer Children. While it may be that our program will not be adopted by Bishops as the only mechanism for fulfilling the requirements of Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children it is our hope that at least some Bishops will adopt this program as well as many priests in a variety of Parishes and that the families therein will be able to benefit from it.

FAVOR: It is our goal to make this Program and its associated training material available at very reasonable rates to any who desire it. While we are non-profit, the truth is that even non-profits have expenses. It is estimated that it will cost more than $100,000 to film, edit and produce the series. Most of the participants are donating their time and expertise but some folks make their living doing the logistical work and these have a right to proper payment. The favor: Please consider donating $100 or more to this project and consider sending this email to any and all whom you believe might be interested in promoting this initiative. We have a few individuals who have pledged $5,000 and $10,000 to this work but that covers less than half of the projected initial costs. Your grassroots contribution will have a very definite effect upon the progress and promotion of this important work. I cannot promise but I would guess we may be able to send a complimentary copy of the DVDs and the workbook, once the product is complete, as a token of appreciation for your charitable contribution.

Until further non-profit status is established donations may be sent in care of the Diocese of Baker, P.O. Box 5999, Bend, Oregon 97708. Make checks payable to Diocese of Baker - Safe Children Project. Each donation will be receipted as a charitable gift and all donations will be carefully restricted for application to the costs of creating and administering the Safe Children Project. Neither I nor the Diocese of Baker will personally benefit from these contributions.

I am very grateful for your concern and for you interest in this very important matter which so dramatically touches the delicate hearts and souls of our children. If you are unable to contribute I certainly understand but ask instead for your devoted prayers.

Gratefully yours in Christ Jesus,

+Robert F. Vasa
Bishop of Baker

Bookmark and Share