It's All About Security

In March 2016, a mere number of days into my time at St. Patrick Parish, the Parish Finance Council met. Top on their agenda was:“Father, you need an alarm system for the rectory.” Well, I proceeded to obtain three quotes for an alarm system and none of them was inexpensive. So, rationalizing that there’d never been a problem at St. Patrick, I couldn’t justify the expense of a security system. As a result I chose to disregard the advice of Finance Council. th

All went well until December 17 , 2016 when I was awakened at 3:55 am to what sounded like ice sliding off the roof and shattering on the ground. Then in my slumber I remembered that there was no ice on the roof when I’d gone to bed. The shattering I’d heard was the glass of a stairway window. I called the Wellington PD. They arrived a minute or two later & arrested the intruder who was still in the rectory.

Four weeks to-the-day later, January 14 2017 at 2:30 am I heard a thud; I thought it might be a problem with the boiler. But as I listened I could hear footsteps. Again I called Wellington PD, who upon searching the rectory discovered an intruder in the basement.

At no time, whether before, between, or after the two break-ins at St. Patrick did I ever feel uncomfortable without an alarm. Even when I called Wellington PD to report the second break-in, I started by telling the dispatcher: You need to know that, since the December break-in, I’ve slept like a rock every night. That said, I’ve heard footsteps so I know there’s an intruder.

While neither council of Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Parish nor Finance) has directed me to look into an alarm system for the parish, I believe it’s a prudent investment since I am only at the parish three days a week. With the rectory being vacant most nights, and staff members entering an empty office/rectory most mornings, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the facility hasn’t been intruded upon is most comforting.

At present, security is only in the rectory and office area. That said, it’s probably prudent to expand monitoring into our worship area as well. Approximately 2 years ago St. Joseph Parish, Amherst, had someone break into the Sacristy; while the thief couldn’t break into the safe, significant damage was inflicted.

Rest assured that provisions are being made to insure that everyone who needs access to the church will retain access – while still allowing for unoccupied security. When Deacon Tom & I spoke about church security, I assured him that I want everyone who needs access to the building to retain access.

Because I’m not always on-site it’s vitally important that Eucharistic Ministers to the homebound, Art & Environment members, Food Pantry workers, Sacristans, and numerous others retain access. It’s just that access will transition from the current push-button doorknob to a key-fob or key-card type access – which will not only unlock the door but will also disarm the system (should it be armed). Any church security monitoring, though, will not be activated until all are afforded this alternate means of access!

To help plan for the eventual transition, if you feel you need ready-access to the church I’d simply ask that you provide me with your name, email, cell #, and the reason you seek unrestricted access. You can do this via note or email to me ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or to Deacon Tom ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). I’m hoping that by starting to compile a list now, and working at that list for a period of time, its thoroughness will insure that no one who needs access is overlooked or missed when the transition takes place.

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