Jesus Light of the World Parish (JLOW), Pierrefonds
The Parish of Jesus Light of the World (JLOW) in Pierrefonds is a community of disciples of Jesus the Lord. The JLOW Parish mission is to serve Jesus, its members, and the community at large. A primary JLOW objective is for every member, young or old, sick or in good health, Canadian or immigrant, to feel as safe as possible from all forms of coercion, violence, or abuse.
The Person of Christ Jesus and His message, empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, is the inspiration behind these parish guidelines, most of which are self-evident to mature, practicing Christians as well as to all upright citizens. These principles set the standards of proper ethical behaviour to be observed by all staff, volunteers and parishionners of the JLOW Parish.
Definition of Terms
Parish staff : A person who receives compensation from the parish for full-time or part-time employment. It includes those who provide services as outside consultants.
Volunteer : A person who provides services to the parish without compensation.
Minor : A person under 18 years of age.
Elderly : A person 65 years or over.
Vulnerable : Persons belonging to a social group that is susceptible to harm, such as mistreatment, abuse, or violence. They are less capable of protecting or defending themselves.
The Jesus Light of the World Parish (JLOW) states the following:
- The JLOW Parish follows and implements the policies and guidelines of the Archdiocese of Montreal regarding proper ethical behaviour in the presence of minors and the adequate care it provides them and the vulnerable, the elderly, and any other people in need.
- The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) at JLOW fundamentally believes that most people act in good faith. In that light, the SLT encourages and expects all staff, volunteers and parishionners to ensure everyone’s safety in the parish, particularly the elderly, the minor, and the vulnerable.
- Every staff member, volunteer and parishioner must pay particular attention to any indication of reprehensible behaviour by any individual, or signs that someone’s rights were violated in any way. Those who become aware of such occurrences are to quickly contact the Core Ethics Team (C.E.T) (see Annex for members). The C.E.T. will take things in hand, ensuring the community’s continued safe environment. If necessary, they will contact the diocesan ombudsman or civil authorities.
- Anyone is free, at any time, to directly contact the ombudsman of the diocese, as per the Montreal Diocesan Ethical Guidelines.
- As a general rule, JLOW trusts individuals who want to be involved in parish life and its services, and presupposes their good intentions. However, JLOW remains vigilant as there always exists a risk of abuse.
JLOW parish promotes the following values and practices:
A. Basic Respect and Care
- Speak and act in ways consistent with a mission to know, love and serve the Lord. The SLT expects courtesy and responsible, mature interaction between colleagues, parishioners, and all others involved in parish life.
- Speak and act in ways that recognize the equal dignity and worth of every individual. This applies to interactions of parish staff and volunteers with the outside world, as well as their interactions among themselves.
- Behave and act in ways that reach out to those who are suffering, weak or vulnerable.
- Never accept or encourage any belittling or disparaging attitude or remarks towards anyone, be it based on their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.
- Never distribute or use illegal drugs or other controlled substances, nor abuse alcohol.
- Avoid at all cost, any form of people intimidation through coercive or abusive words or behaviour.
- Avoid using any form of harassment through inappropriate actions, insinuations, speech, or other means.
- Avoid abusing a position of authority to intimidate people.
- Avoid being forced to act in a manner inconsistent with an informed conscience, especially in moral or religious matters. Note: respect for conscience is not absolute. The obvious exception being when one’s conscientious behaviour causes or threatens harm to others.
- Respect and care for the environment, and in particular church property.
- Encourage free expression of thoughts but only if truthful and respectful of the dignity of others. Freedom of speech is not absolute.
B. Confidentiality and Trust in Relationships
- Never exploit relationships of trust and authority in pursuit of personal gain. Look after the interests and well-being of those who rely on you.
- Treat with the utmost discretion and care any sensitive and personal information.
- Out of respect for people’s sensitivities, keep any form of openly displayed Christian affection within healthy boundaries.
- Be aware of one’s personal limitations if called upon for help. Prayer cannot substitute for professional psychological or similar interventions. Refer individuals to the proper professional services.
- Never criticize someone absent.
- Using discretion, disclose to the C.E.T any knowledge of a parish member charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, pardoned or not.
C. Healthy Relationship with Minors
- All programs for minors aim to help them, during their growth years, to enrich their faith and values and develop their personality and talents.
- Honour parental rights and obligations. Parents are the guardians to whom the Lord entrusted the children. They cannot be replaced by governmental services, schools, catechism programs, or the like. Only in extenuating circumstances and with proper professional intervention can one alter this arrangement.
- Have realistic goals and objectives on children and adolescents taking part in parish programs and activities, and remain reasonable in terms of expectations.
- No minor should be alone with one adult during any parish activities.
- Immediately report to the C.E.T any incident involving physical or other abuse. Also, the ombudsman appointed to the diocese can be contacted directly at all times.
- Never offer or serve alcohol or drugs to any minor.
- Be vigilant in spotting any inappropriate behaviour by any adult.
D. Trusting Relationship with Vulnerable Individuals
- Be careful not to substitute ‘’overly spiritual’’ prayers and other religious activities for competent medical or psychological attention when an individual in obvious distress requires the latter.
- Refrain from all forms of coercion or any action exceeding the limits of appropriate help.
- Never accept nor request any money for pastoral services from vulnerable individuals under any circumstances. If the person receiving the services insists on offering a contribution to the parish, suggest that a family member handles the matter directly with the parish.
- The coordinator of the “Responsible Pastoral Ministry” will provide a documented clearance to parish staff and volunteers before they visit an elderly person. Otherwise, visits are not permitted.
E. Stewardship, Collegiality and Public Communications
- The “Collection Ministers” or anyone else who handles the collection must always be in the presence of another person when handling money. Mass leaders should inform a member of the C.E.T if they spot any violations of this rule. In addition, the pastor or other priests should never be involved in counting collections, nor should they seek to know what any parishioner contributes, which remains a private matter.
- Practices of transparency and accountability with the other parishioners are encouraged.
- Accurately represent facts as they are, without exaggeration or other distortion. This approach is key to fostering a culture of honesty, integrity, and openness rather than concealment and secrecy.
- Do not engage in activities that can be a ‘’nuisance’’ to others (loud or annoying noise, smoking, etc.).
- Resolve disputes through dialogue, reconciliation, negotiation, or professional mediation.
- Avoid getting involved in a business relationship with the parish in such a way as to benefit from it financially.
F. Personal Commitments, Catholic and Civic Responsibilities
- Ensure that your private life activity does not impair your ability to fulfill responsibilities to the parish or dishonour their apostolic work (example: if a person has gambling or drinking difficulties, they should be honest and seek help).
- Pursue commitment to personal, spiritual, intellectual, and Catholic growth.
- Avoid taking on commitments that undermine one’s ability to fulfill familial responsibilities, towards spouse and children.
- Speak and act to promote a ‘’culture of life’’, respecting the inviolable right to life of all human beings from conception to natural death.
- Speak and act in ways that respect and promote the Catholic vision of marriage, sexuality, and family life and, to this end, stay informed about Catholic teachings.
- Seek to promote justice, especially for those who need it the most.
- Encourage informed debate on complex issues of moral and social concern.
- Promote responsible and active citizenship in our pluralistic democratic country.
- Give feedback to colleagues and those they serve and solicit the same in return to better evaluate the strengths and limitations of the services offered.
- This document describes the JLOW Parish Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, which fully adhere to the Catholic faith.
- JLOW assumes that an attitude of goodwill permeates life at the parish and that its members genuinely love the church, its community, and society in general.
- May the Lord guide us to serve Him well, in truth, uprightness, and love. And may our people, especially the most vulnerable among us, feel safe and grow in the grace and love of God.
Core Ethics Team (C.E.T)
In office from January to December (to be reviewed annually, in January)
Fr. Francis McKee, Pastor
Mrs. Nancy Gilbert, Coordinator: “Responsible Pastoral Committee” and the “Parish Safety Guidelines” dossier.
Dr. François Gilbert, retired physician, Deacon
Mrs. Micheline Khouzam, Consultant, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Service