The crisis in the Catholic Church, which began in the Archdiocese of Boston with the revelations of sexual abuse of minors and has spread throughout the world in a widening cycle of failure and recrimination, has not left the Church in Montana unscathed.
Indeed, as a Jesuit Parish, St. Francis Xavier is keenly aware of the anguish caused not just by the failure of individuals but by the systemic failure of the Church to accept responsibility and provide appropriate care for the most vulnerable. In light of this history, and the call of the Gospels, St. Francis Xavier is dedicated to reconciliation of the past and to the highest standards of protection for the future.
As a Parish, we fully adhere to the Diocese of Helena’s Safe Environment Program through Virtus Training. Staff are all certified in this area. Further, all parishioners, parents, and volunteers who work with vulnerable populations are required to take the three hour Safe Environment Training Program and regular updates.
The Virtus classes are held several times a year here in Missoula and throughout western Montana. This training does not aim to stop the predatory individuals, but to help all of us to recognize the warning signs of abuse and to empower us to act before a child or vulnerable adult is harmed. It teaches us to take responsibility in a way that we, as Church must, if we are to heal our history and bless our future.