safe environment

Safe Environment Program

The Gospels of Mark and Luke include the story where Jesus reprimands his disciples for not allowing little children to come to Him. Our Lord asserts that His Father's Kingdom belongs to little children. Our Lord was emphasizing the openness, trust, and sheer wide-eyed wonder with which children approach life. He wanted his followers to contemplate the possibilities of God's Kingdom for them with the same childlike wonder. It is extremely sad, therefore, to contemplate the terrible effects that the crime of child sexual abuse has on children and young people and their families, and sadder still to consider that this has occurred within our Church. The mission of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester's Safe Environment Program is to ensure the safety of children, vulnerable adults and young people who have been entrusted to our care in our parishes, schools, religious education classes, and other programs/ministries. 

We pursue this mission in mandating that all diocesan* parishes, schools, religious education classes and other programs/ministries complete the following:

  • By thoroughly screening and supervising all employees and volunteers who work with children and young people as part of their ministry.
  • By providing appropriate training in recognizing and reporting child abuse to appropriate civil and Church authorities.
  • By holding all members of the clergy, employees and volunteers who work with children and young people to Christ-centered and professional codes of conduct.

*   The Office of Safe Environment of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester maintains the records of all criminal background checks, child protection trainings and Code of Conduct  for all clergy (bishops, priests [diocesan, religious, visiting and international], deacons and seminarians).

This website is a tool to allow any interested person an opportunity to explore our programs further or just get in touch with us. We welcome your comments and suggestions at all times.

Prayer for the Work of this Program

We dedicate the work of this program to the protection of St. Joseph, the guardian of the redeemer of mankind. Please join us in offering this prayer to the husband of Mary and the step-father of Our Lord:

St. Joseph, God entrusted His greatest treasures, Mary and Jesus, to your protection. We now place our programs under your patronage. We ask you to pray for us, that we may create a safe environment for the children who have been entrusted to us. Please obtain for us the grace to lead these children to lives of virtue and love, and to guide them to the vocations that God has intended for them. Help us to be good role models and protectors for them, as you were for your family. We ask this in the name of your beloved spouse Mary, and your son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Catholic Church is absolutely committed to the safety of children. Together we can make a Promise to Protect, and a Pledge to Heal.

Our staff is also pleased to offer you whatever assistance or information you may need. Please feel free to contact us:


Mary Hamann

Safe Environment Program Manager

55 W. Sanborn Street
PO Box 588
Winona, MN 55987
Phone: 507-858-1244