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Mary Ellen D’Intino, right, meets with St. Catherine of Siena School Principal Katie Meehan, center, and Cinzia Broketa, the school’s safe environment coordinator, earlier this year. The site visit at the Manchester elementary school is one of dozens that Mary Ellen, who is the Bishop’s Delegate for Ministerial Conduct and Safe Environment, does each year at diocesan Catholic schools, parishes and camps throughout New Hampshire to ensure they comply with the diocese’s child protection training and screening standards.

Bringing Healing, Preventing Harm

The right thing isn’t always the easy thing.

Nobody knows this better than Mary Ellen D’Intino, a mother of two adult children who, as the Bishop’s Delegate for Ministerial Conduct and Safe Environment, works tirelessly to ensure the safety of all children connected with any aspect of the Church in New Hampshire.

On this fall day, she finds herself on one of dozens of site visits she makes each year, this time sitting with the safe environment coordinator and the principal at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover. “So let’s make sure there are posters in the guidance office and teachers’ lounge that detail how to report suspected abuse,” Mary Ellen instructs them, “plus have contact information for our office and victim’s assistance numbers.”

Her eyes study the files before her, occasionally glancing up to ask or answer a question. Together, they run down the list of staff, faculty, volunteers, contracted workers, bus drivers, coaches, substitute teachers, groundskeepers and anyone else who comes in contact with students. It’s a long, laborious job, but a crucial one. Under her watchful guidance, every adult at the school, and all diocesan Catholic schools, parishes and camps across the state, remain in line with the diocese’s child protection training and screening standards.

Want to read more about how Mary Ellen works to create a safe environment for children and young people? Please click here to learn how you and your parish can receive Parable.

top PARABLE Kerper

Dear Father Kerper

Dear Father Kerper: When I was younger I became interested in astrology and went to fortune tellers a few times. Someone recently told me I had committed a mortal sin. I never heard of such a prohibition among the Ten Commandments. In fact, I know good Catholics who believe in these things. I don’t see anything evil in using God’s creation — stars and planets — and the special gifts of fortune tellers to see the future. Where’s the sin? 

A narrow reading of the Ten Commandments can lead people to a very dangerous conclusion, namely: “If something like astrology isn’t directly condemned, then it must be permitted.” This attitude misses the connection between the broad commandment and specific acts.  Astrology and fortune telling violate the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other gods besides me.” (Ex 20:2-3) Here the term “other gods” refers to all sorts of idols, but also includes anyone or anything claiming divine powers that belong to God alone. 

Want to read more of Father Kerper's response?  Please click here to learn how you and your parish can receive Parable.

top PARABLE WestSideStoryWest Side Story

By Bridget Martin | Photography by Tom Roy

Sacred Heart Parish in Manchester was struggling when Father Stephen Marcoux arrived in December 2017. It had about 250 parishioners, shared a pastor with nearby Ste. Marie Parish and no longer offered daily Mass. Bishop Peter A. Libasci had been celebrating Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart to prevent it from closing. Despite the challenges ahead, Father Marcoux says he was filled with “great hope and great optimism” when he agreed at Bishop Libasci’s request to become Sacred Heart’s first full-time pastor in decades. Father Marcoux understood that to move forward, he must first look to Sacred Heart’s past. 

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top PARABLE FisherDivorced Catholics Need Support, Not Judgment

The Catholic Church takes the sacrament of marriage seriously. Because this is so, it also takes abuse seriously, and never requires spouses and children to silently endure abuse in the name of the sanctity of marriage.

Sadly, though, those who do leave marriages, or those who are left, are often treated like second-class citizens by their fellow Catholics. Many separated Catholics say it feels like their community cares more about the idea of marriage than they do about actual people. A spouse who leaves is often shamed, even blamed, accused of “breaking up the marriage.”

Like what you see? Please click here to learn how you and your parish can receive Parable.

Other Columns in the Current Issue

Bishop's Message - Restoring Trust
Catholic Quiz
Dear Father Kerper - What's Wrong with Consulting Psychics, Ouija Boards and Astrology?
Marriage and Family Life - Divorced Catholics Need Support, Not Judgment
On Call With Dr. Pepe - Celebrating Gifts of the Harvest
Catholic Schools - A Passion for Teaching
Keeping Faith With Teens - God Doesn't Have a Cell Phone
Catholic Charities Report - Another Bite at the Apple
Have You Ever Thought of Being a Priest? - Meet Father Ray Ball
Cover Story - Bringing Healing, Preventing Harm
Catholic Press Awards - Parable Wins Eight National Catholic Press Association Awards
Feature - West Side Story
Local News
7 Days a Pastor: Reflections from Father Andrew Nelson - Peter and Andrew Go Fishing
Mission Moment