“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19
Traditionally, places of worship have been seen as sanctuaries and safe havens from the troubles of the outside world. Sadly, however, the reality is that they are just as vulnerable as any other gathering place, school, or business. It can be argued that because they represent certain social, theological, and political philosophies, religious institutions and their congregants may even be at heightened risk.
With this sobering truth comes an obligation to act -- to be proactive and assess what we can do to secure our properties and protect our parish family, while still be open, welcoming spaces. Based on this, our parish has formed a very capable Safety Committee to examine and implement practical measures. With the invaluable input and support of former Lynnfield Police Chief David Breen, the committee has been working hard to make our churches more secure places of worship.
A founding member of the Safety Committee, Moe Pratt gave our pastor credit, "Fr. Ritt was forward-thinking in creating the committee. We're just following his lead." Ben Tropeano, Safety Committee chair adds, "Many of our team members are law enforcement or military service folks, making it a uniquely qualified group to aid in establishing the needed policies and protocols for the safety of our fellow parishioners."
On June 2, 2019, then Lynnfield Police Chief David Breen spoke at St. Maria Goretti and Our Lady of the Assumption Masses about our parish's safety initiatives. He praised Fr. Paul for not only being at the forefront of the discussion on church safety, but for being willing to take preemtive steps. Chief Breen also assured the congregation that his department and our church's leadership are working together in this ever-evolving process.
One measure that the Safety Committee has begun implementing as of January 2020, is that our ushers will be locking the doors of the churches approximately 10 minutes after each Mass begins. If a congregant arrives late, they need only make their way to the front center door of either church, where they will be greeted by a badge-wearing volunteer who will gladly allow them in. Of course, parishioners may continue to exit from any door at any time during the Mass — no one will ever be locked in.
Moving forward, the Safety Committee will continue to explore further initiatives and will keep our parishioners apprised. Let us pray for peace, safety, and the freedom to assemble for the Glory of God.
June is National Safety Month. Click here to learn more about the National Safety Council.
Be aware that parishioners throughout the Archdiocese are being targeted by scammers disguising their emails by using their pastor’s name as the sender or by using an email address that could be mistaken as one from the church office. Our clergy and staff do not email, text, or call to request the purchase gift cards, your personal banking information, or money transfers. If you would like to verify the authenticity of a communication from our parish, please call our business office at 781-598-4313. If you think your information has been compromised, please contact the police.