Superintendent’s Letter Concerning Safety in Our Catholic Schools

Dear Friends in Catholic Education,

May the peace of Christ be with you!

It’s very hard for us to comprehend the tragedy that struck the Newtown, Connecticut community. The taking of lives, let alone so many little ones, is senseless and heartbreaking. As educators, our greatest responsibility is to provide a safe environment for the children in our care. As principals, teachers, and administrators we naturally put ourselves in the position of those educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We know in our hearts and minds how we would react to protect God’s children, the young people we teach and love as if they were our own.

No community is ever emotionally prepared for such a heinous crime, but our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orlando have long prepared for how to respond in a crisis. First and foremost, we strive to ensure the safest and securest school buildings and properties throughout the Diocese. Our schools have crisis plans in place and in light of this tragedy, school leaders will once again review the plans, strengthen if necessary and continue their collaboration with public safety agencies.

These are our last days in session before the Christmas Season begins and they are filled with many celebrations and activities. We move forward with these activities keeping in mind that it is in Christ’s birth that we find salvation.

May these final days of Advent be a source of solace for us all, and most especially for those families in the community of Newtown, Connecticut and Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

In Christ,

Fortier Signature

Henry Fortier,