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5 Steps to Implement Safe Haven Sunday in Your Parish

Last Updated: January 15, 2024

Regardless of the size of a parish, the role of the parish priest and his leadership team is essentially the same: the salvation of souls. This is the sole reason for the Incarnation, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord. And we as leaders of the Church are on a mission with the Lord for this very purpose.

This is why we do what we do in the life of the parish. This is why we provide what is at the heart of our human existence: an encounter with Jesus that will grow into a lifelong and lived relationship that will lead us into eternal life.

A key component of providing this encounter is supporting our parishioners by establishing a foundation for a relationship with God and His Church in their lives—a place where both children and adults can have this encounter. This is where every human heart discovers that God loves him, he is forgiven, he is healed, and finds his true home—with God!

The Church provides the opportunity for healing and freedom that will prepare the hearts of men and women for this encounter. This includes healing from exposure to pornography and the habitual use of it. This is what you do when you celebrate Safe Haven Sunday. But it’s much more than just that! You provide tools to help heal and free the home and make it a safe haven—a place where the impediment of pornography can be addressed and a full and free relationship with the Lord is possible.

Related: Safe Haven Sunday Launched in the Archdiocese of New Orleans

What are the steps you need to take to bring Safe Haven Sunday to your parish?

1. Get a date on the parish calendar.

If your archbishop or bishop has announced your archdiocese or diocese will be celebrating Safe Haven Sunday, take note of the date he’s asked the parishes to celebrate the awareness day. Go ahead! Mark the date on your parish calendar and head on over to check out the Free Parish Implementation Guide created to support you with this parish-wide implementation to make your parish families’ homes a safe haven by providing training and encouragement for the appropriate use of technology.

2. Use the resources in the free Parish Implementation Guide.

Let us at Covenant Eyes help you with all of the moving pieces to help your celebrations! Look over the steps of implementation in the guide and view the resources that can be provided throughout your preparations. These include bulletin blurbs, a bulletin insert, a 1-page summary of the book(s), the primary resource(s) for Years 1-3, a letter from the parish priest to parishioners, general intercessions, and a Homily video to be used on Safe Haven Sunday.

3. Order the books and confessional cards.

Before you get too far into your planning, contact your archdiocesan or diocesan office to purchase the books and request the free confessional cards for your parish. The book will be different for each of the first three years you will celebrate Safe Haven Sunday. These include Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture, Confident: Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure, and Connected: How Strong Family Relationships Lead to Internet-Safe Kids. The highlight of these books is to encourage signing up via text for the Covenant Eyes free Safe Digital Family Challenge, which helps parents and all responsible adults guide and protect young people in our pornified culture.

The free confessional cards encourage the use of Strive 21 and Restored Vows. These two resources for adults are STRIVE: 21-Day Porn Detox by Matt Fradd and Restored Vows: A Porn Recovery Series for Couples.

Starting one’s journey to freedom from porn can seem overwhelming. To persevere, one needs accountability, inspiration, encouragement, and the actual steps to take to break free from addiction. All of this is included in STRIVE.

This free detox for men has transformed the lives of tens of thousands from all around the world. It is a step-by-step plan delivered via a daily email and includes on-demand videos, calls to action, a free trial of Covenant Eyes, accountability opportunities with other participants, and a worldwide community of like-minded men. Peer support is invaluable in overcoming struggles with pornography.

STRIVE cards can be distributed in the confessional, distributed at men’s events, or simply left in the church vestibule.

You may frequently hear about pornography in the confessional, but what is often not talked about—or dealt with—are the consequences of pornography use, particularly in marriage. Couples tend to put on a “happy face” in the pews each week, but inside there is often a mess that keeps getting worse until it hits the breaking point. As noted earlier, pornography is mentioned as one of the main causes of over 50% of divorces.

How can we help struggling couples in our parishes?

Restored Vows: A Porn Recovery Series for Couples

Brandon and Tonia Clark are an ordinary couple who went through years of marital struggles while Brandon used, and eventually recovered from, pornography.

With real-life experience and practical insights from their journey through the dark road of pornography use in marriage, Brandon and Tonia seek to help couples come together to talk through porn’s impact and the road to recovery in this free, 14-day video series.

4. Send a letter to each home.

Take the opportunity to let your parish families know that you will be addressing the issue of pornography directly at Mass on Safe Haven Sunday. Communicate to them why this is a topic that needs to be addressed over and over again. If you need help with what to communicate, use or edit the letter we drafted for you found in the Parish Implementation Guide.

5. Play the Homily video and hand out the books.

On Safe Haven Sunday, we invite you to really celebrate the opportunity you and your parish have to make their homes safe havens while providing a foundation for freedom that will prepare the souls in your pews for encounters with Christ. Isn’t this what we want? If so, play that Homily video and hand out these dynamic books created with parents and families in mind!

Related: Safe Haven Sunday: Making Each Home a Safe Place

Whether you’re a parish priest or faith formation director, the individuals and families in your parish will thank you for bringing Safe Haven Sunday to them. While the idea of tackling the implementation of an awareness day can be daunting, getting yourself prepared with the steps above and using the resources that have been created to support you can go a long way and even provide an opportunity for healing for the souls entrusted to your care.

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