Over the past several months, events have occurred both here in our
neighborhood and around the country that raise concerns about our personal
safety. All of us try to avoid situations where we might be in harm’s way, but
we never really know what the next tragedy will be, or when and where it will
Danger has always been associated with the inner cities, but today it can
occur anywhere. Last autumn, someone walked into a rural Texas church and began
firing a weapon, killing several people. On February 14, someone walked into a
suburban high school in Florida and killed seventeen students and teachers. In
our own neighborhood, there have been shootings taking place in broad daylight
on our streets that are reminiscent of the “wild west.” A few months ago, the
pastor of our neighboring parish, Fr. Kumse, at St. Mary’s was attacked and
robbed on church property by teenagers carrying an assault rifle.
Events like this have caused us to seriously consider ways to keep
ourselves and those who come to our campus safe from attacks. I have
participated at meetings with other pastors, with city officials, with our
school personnel and with other safety experts to find ways to minimize the
danger to those gathering here at St. Casimir’s. The overwhelming advice that I
have heard is that all of us have to be aware of our surroundings and
start to think about safety.
Doors need to be locked behind us when we enter the school building, be it
for a meeting, a social (Sunday coffee), an event, or an activity.
-› In Church we have to be aware of strangers, and we have to keep an eye
on our personal belongings.
-› No one should be alone anywhere in our buildings when doors are
-› In the parking lot, make sure your car doors are locked and no
valuables are visible.
And as so many in law enforcement tell us, “If you see something, say
something.” In church - tell an usher. In the lower hall - tell the coffee host.
If you feel threatened - use your cell phone to dial 911. We are in the process
of finding training for our ushers in Church on how to deal with emergencies.
These concerns about security are not unique to our parish or to our
location in the city of Cleveland. I write this not to scare anyone, but to make
everyone aware that the things you hear about in the news can happen right here
in our church, in the parking lot where you do your grocery shopping, in the
movie theater, or any other public place.
Being aware of our surroundings and watching out for our neighbors is
everyone’s first defense against any kind of trouble that might occur. So
please, be aware, be careful.
Bless ! Fr. Joe Bacevice