Protect the Flock Safety Team

Protect the Flock (PTF) Safety Team, a security ministry at our parish, was established after researching the magnitude of dangerous and violent events that are increasingly occurring at Catholic and Christian churches across the U.S.

The federal National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) reported that from 2014 - 2020, 94% of church “incidents” took place in Catholic and Christian churches rather than other denominations. Moreover, according to a U.S. Catholic Bishops publication*, at least 262 incidents have occurred across 43 states and the District of Columbia since May 2020. These incidents included arson, smashing stain glass windows, destruction of statues, splashing red paint, cutting off statue heads and limbs, burning American flags next to the statues, vandalism, burglaries, and other destruction inside Catholic churches. In graveyards, there were incidents of defacing gravestones with swastikas and threatening anti-Catholic language. In June 2020, the federal abortion law Roe v. Wade was overturned and sent to the states. Pro-abortion protests were widespread across the country. Catholic and Christian churches experienced vandalization, splashing with red paint, scrawled with graffiti, and access to churches were obstructed and more.

Moreover, the first three months of 2023 saw a dramatic increase in the number of attacks on churches nationwide compared to the same time last year. A new report stated such attacks took place in 30 states. The Family Research Council found 69 acts of hostility against churches in the first three months of 2023! Such acts of hostility include vandalism, arson, bomb threats and gun-related violence. Included in the 69 attacks on churches is the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, TN. On March 27, 2023, a transgender woman shot out the side glass doors at this private Christian church in an affluent neighborhood, murdering three children and three adults. This former student spent several days doing surveillance at the school to identify its weaknesses prior to the murders.

Protect the Flock Safety Team means just what it says – we manage any medical emergencies by receiving first aid, AED and CPR training, and we keep an eye out for any danger coming into our parish. In the unlikely chance of any of these events occurring, the PTF Safety Team will know how to guide parishioners to safety. Knowledge is power. Preparation for emergencies will reduce mass panic in the event of an emergency.

We at St. John Paul the Great Parish will always be a welcoming and loving parish open to all who want to worship God safely with peace of mind. Know that when you close your eyes to pray in our churches, you are safe.

We are currently looking to expand our team. Do you want to do more than just one hour a week worshiping at Sunday Mass? Do you feel a calling to care for God’s people? The comradery of this group of dedicated individuals tends to make friends for life. We welcome people of all different backgrounds who will bring their own experiences to the team. We are also seeking individuals who are fluent in Spanish to assist with the Spanish Mass and community. There is one basic requirement – a desire to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.”  — 1 Peter 5:2-12 

Want more information? Call the parish office at 860-482-4433 and all inquiries will be answered. You may also schedule a time to come and observe the team in action.

God bless you,

Robbie Raffa, Director
Protect the Flock Safety Team

Robbie Raffa is a (Retired) DEA Supervisory Special Agent, (Retired) South Windsor Police Officer, NRA Firearms Instructor, DEA Firearms Instructor, Master of Science, bachelor’s degree, associate degree.