AUBURN — More than 200 school employees of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, including teachers, principals and other administrators, participated in the 2012 Diocesan Professional Day at Saint Dominic Academy’s Auburn Campus on Oct. 5.
The event included a "Protecting God’s Children" training program for the school personnel. The safe environment program was implemented in the diocese 10 years ago. All clergy, employees and volunteers who work with children or youth on a regular basis must attend the program, which features guidelines concerning sexual abuse awareness and prevention. The session was led by Thom Meschinelli, the Diocesan Director for Safe Environment and Deacon Dennis Popadak of the Parish of the Holy Eucharist.
“In continuing our concentration on safety and the well-being of our students, the Maine Catholic school educators are re-training,” said Superintendent of Schools Sister Rosemary Donohue. “The program has been revised to include further information relating to social media.”
Advancing the theme of how newer technologies are impacting the way schools educate and keep children safe, Dr. Carole Eipers, a nationally-recognized speaker on evangelization and former Director of the Office for Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Chicago, delivered a speech titled "Professing Faith: Is There an App for That?"
Dr. Eipers served in parish ministries in various roles for more than 20 years and believes that teachers need to adapt to technology and trends like social media to be most effective.
“In spite of the challenges and complexities, there have been enormous strides in what we are doing in all dimensions of catechesis, which is to say educating in the faith of children and young people,” said Dr. Eipers. “We certainly have to keep being passionate about it and giving it our all and listening to youth.”
The Diocesan Professional Day began with a liturgy celebrated by Monsignor Andrew Dubois. In August, Bishop Richard Malone celebrated the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit to mark the start of the new school year at Saint Dominic Academy.
Maine’s Catholic elementary and high schools aim to provide religious instruction and formation, rooted in the scriptures and teachings of the Catholic Church as well as offering a distinctive Catholic environment of gospel-inspired values that are integrated into all areas of curriculum and school life.