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Bangladesh Catholic Church hosts pastoral workshop on child protection

Nuns and priests working in Bangladesh from eight dioceses attend the pastoral workshop at the CBCB center in Dhaka on September 30, 2022. (Photo: Father Liton H. Gomes)

The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) held a workshop on safeguarding children on September 30.

The CBCB Justice and Peace Commission Secretary, Holy Cross Father Liton H. Gomes, organized the program, which took place at the CBCB Center in Mohammadpur, Dhaka.

Over 50 representatives of nuns and priests from eight dioceses attended the workshop, which was organized to discuss safeguarding issues, child protection policy, and local initiatives.

It was also held to build a common understanding by exchanging views and experiences and to find ways to ensure the safeguarding of children in the Catholic Church and its institutions.

The theme of the workshop was "Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children."

"We are devoted to safeguarding all people and the protection of children in the course of our work," said Bishop Gervas Rozario, President of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace.

"We would like to ensure the welfare of children and adults with specific vulnerabilities, as well as support them if they are in danger of significant harm," he added.

During the workshop, the participants got a clear idea about safeguarding children, its implications in the Code of Canon Law and Civil Law; psycho-spiritual integration in safeguarding issues for nuns and priests.

They also came to know of the church’s common mission of safeguarding children. They were also briefed on how to investigate, monitor, and report any cases of abuse of children.

The workshop was facilitated by Archdiocese Bejoy N D’ Cruze of Dhaka, Archbishop Subrato L. Howlader of Chattogram, Bishop Rozario of Rajshahi Dioceses, Father Gomes, Father Mintu L. Palma-Judicial Vicar, Archdiocese of Dhaka, and Advocate Holy Cross Brother Nirmol Gomes, director of Caritas BARACA and APON.

At the end of the workshop, the participants reflected by saying that safeguarding is the responsibility of all, and everyone must be committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all those who are vulnerable (children, youth, and adults).

To honor this commitment, churches and congregations must be places that are safe and accessible, where freedom to grow and be enlarged in the love of God is encouraged in an atmosphere that is nurturing.

Father Michael Roy, a participant, said, "Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. For me, safeguarding means protecting children from abuse and maltreatment and preventing harm to their safety and development to their full human potential."

Sister Anna Mary, another participant, said, "I understand that safeguarding means protecting a citizen's health, wellbeing, and human rights. It enables them to live free from harm, abuse, and neglect."

It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care. Safeguarding children, young people, and adults is a collective responsibility, she added.  


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