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Good News Club Code of Practice

Parish Child Protection Policy

The Parish of Westport seeks to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to make known the Good News of Christ more fully through worship, service and witness.  In keeping with this aim, ministry with children and young people in the parish is informed by the three Gospel principles of Truth, Justice and Love.

The Parish values and encourages the participation of children and young people in all Church liturgies and parish activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional and social development.

The Parish recognizes the dignity and rights of all children and young people and is committed to ensuring their safety and well being in a way that promotes their human dignity, integrity and worth as children of God.

Each child / young person is to be affirmed as a gift of God and has a right to dignity of life and bodily integrity, which must be respected, nurtured and protected.  These rights are inalienable by the very fact of their human dignity.

The Parish recognizes that all who work with children and young people have a special duty of care towards them.  Leaders must create a safe environment for children and young people in order to secure their protection and enable their full participation in the life of the Church.

The Parish has committed itself to putting procedures in place to ensure the welfare and protection of children and young people together with the welfare of those who work with them.  The welfare of the child is always paramount.

Contact Details

If you have a child protection concern or wish to report an allegation of child abuse please contact:

          Fr. John O’Boyle: 093 24166 / 52284 (ext 2), or

          Mrs. Mary Trench: 087 9315823

If you wish to report directly to the statutory authorities please contact the local health Service Executive’s Duty Social Worker or contact the local Gardaí.

HSE’s contact numbers:

Castlebar: 094-90 22333                Tuam: 093-26800

         

Ballina: 096-21511                        Oughterard: 091-552200

         

Castlerea: 090-6637842                 Galway: 091-523122/546369

         

Ballinasloe: 0909–646200               Athenry: 091–544274

Signed: Ann Toal, 085/7380219,  (Parish Child Protection Representative)

GOOD NEWS CLUB CODE OF PRACTICE

GNC is divided into two sections:  Pre-Communion up to second class and

                                                 Post Communion from second to sixth class inclusive.

GNC consists of five members minimum.

Each club has to have a minimum of two adults in each room at all times.

Each club must have a listener available.

Each member of the club must be in the club room thirty minutes before the GNC starts in order to prepare the room for the children. If a team member cannot attend, then they must find a replacement as the GNC needs to have a minimum of five members to operate.

All existing members of the GNC will have signed a Good News Club Volunteer Declaration form and new members will sign the above plus a Vetting form. The GNC committee will decide what team the new member/s will join.

Members will have been trained in Child Protection and have been made aware of the Child Protection Policy on the Diocesan website.

Dual ministry – if a member is serving as Eucharistic Minister, Minister of the Word, Choir etc. then it is advisable that the GNC member makes alternative arrangements for that Sunday as only one ministry can be operational during Mass.

All GNC members will sign the Incident and Report Book (blue book) each week and wear the GNC bib. A GNC member will place the GNC sandwich boards outside both entrances to the church and erect the banner on the railings.

If a child/children arrive to the GNC room before Mass please escort the child/children back to the church.

No less than five minutes before Mass starts, a member of the GNC will place a coloured sheet on the lectern informing the celebrant about the theme of the GNC and the offertory.

If the children are joining the celebrant on the altar for the Gospel, then the children will sit in the front two pews of the church accompanied by four members of the GNC. The other two members will take up their position at the James Street door and the front door.

In the case of a funeral, the children will meet as normal in the GNC rooms but there will be no offertory gift. If there is a large funeral, the GNC team in consultation with the celebrant can decide to cancel the GNC for that day due to health and safety issues for the children entering and exiting the church. The team must alert the Chairperson that there will be no GNC.

GNC member will bear bible to the front of church (wearing the GNC bib) as part of the opening procession with the celebrant and the servers.

On celebrant’s call the bearer will:

  • Bow to the tabernacle
  • Lead children to the club with the Bible held high and place the Bible on the altar.
  • GNC members will meet the children at the church door and escort them to the appropriate club room
  • If the celebrant forgets to call the GNC, then the bearer will stand up and try to alert the celebrant.
  • One team member will stay outside for five minutes in case of latecomers. The GNC member manning the James St. door will wear no GNC bib.

The GNC room should be:

  • Welcoming
  • Music Playing
  • Bright Posters (there is a black artists portfolio for the posters)
  • Screens in place
  • GNC Prayer on show
  • Altar prepared – covered in a cloth, flowers, bible, candles, cross and appropriate props
  • Children can be encouraged to bring in flowers for the altar or paintings to decorate the room.

Each child must have their name (forename and surname) entered on attendance sheet/roll book. A GNC member will record the number of children who attend in the Incident and Report Book (blue book).

Greet the children warmly and introduce each member of the team by name. Explain to the children that we have all gathered to listen to God’s word and to praise him.

Informal chat with the children.

The candle is lit (battery operated) and this reminds us that Jesus is the “light of the world” who speaks to us all through the Gospel readings.

Open with the sign of the cross and the Good News Club prayer.

Liturgist introduces the theme of the Gospel.

Before the Gospel is read, the acclamation is said and we make the sign of the cross on the head, lips and heart.

The Gospel  according to……..

Glory to you O Lord.

A GNC member or one of the older children in the group reads a simple version of the Gospel. At the end of the Gospel reading, the following acclamation is said:

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Discussion of the Gospel with the children.

Activity ensues in line with the Gospel theme affording each child an opportunity to participate. The time available for completing the activity is often very short so it is important to have as much as possible prepared in advance. Background music linked to the theme of the day may be played to create an atmosphere while the children complete their activities. Prayers and reflection may be included if time permits.

Finish with the sign of the cross.

A copy of the Children’s newsletter is available for the children and any leftover newsletters are to be left in both porches of the church.

If appropriate, artwork can be presented to the celebrant and the congregation during the Offertory Procession (except in the case of a funeral).

At special times during the year the children will gather in the front two pews of the church and join the celebrant on the altar for the Gospel (except in the case of a funeral).

In the case of a funeral, the children will meet as normal in the GNC rooms but there will be no offertory gift. If there is a large funeral, the GNC team in consultation with the celebrant can decide to cancel the GNC for that day due to health and safety issues for the children entering and exiting the church.

The Listener must alert leaders of the club at the start of the Creed to advise them to organise the children to leave the GNC. The GNC finishes at the start of the Prayers of the Faithful. The Offertory Person will then escort the child/children bearing the offertory gifts to the porch of the church and direct them to the altar at the appropriate time for the offertory procession. The other children will file back into the church under supervision (if the children arrive during the Prayers of the Faithful they can return to their parents). One member must stay outside for five minutes to ensure that all children have returned to the church and two members must stay inside the Church wearing the GNC bib until the end of Mass.

Team member must write up the club summary on the white board.

Team members are responsible for collecting the offertory gift from the altar, the sandwich boards, returning the key to the key holder, locking the door in Carrowbeg House and for leaving the rooms as found.

If a child feels unwell, they will be brought back to their parents in the church by two GNC members (one member is to be the listener) and the incident is to be written into the Incident and Report Book (blue book). A First Aid kit is available in the GNC press.

When a child needs to use the bathroom the listening member and a second GNC member is to supervise from the room doorway.

Physical contact between children and GNC members must be appropriate at all times. While physical contact is a valid way of comforting or re-assuring a child it should take place in an open environment and in response to the need of the child and not the need of the adult.

The robes for the carol service and any dressing up clothes should be put on over the child’s own clothes.

 

Keep stairs and doorway exits clear at all times. Children are to walk in a single file to and from the GNC. Members of the GNC are to supervise children at all times. One member of the GNC will wait outside for five minutes after the GNC starts in case there are any latecomers. Members are to escort children back to the Church at the end of the Good News Club.One member must stay outside for five minutes to ensure that all children have returned to the church and two members must stay inside the Church wearing the GNC bib until the end of Mass.

If a child wants to leave the Good News Club before it is over, then they need to be escorted back to the Church door by the listening member and another member of the Good News Club.

If a child/children misbehave then two warnings are to be given to the child/children and on the third warning they are to be sent back to their parents in the church. All incidents will be recorded, dated and signed by both members in the Incident and Report Book (blue book).

 

Adopt Good Policies At All Times.

 

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