By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
At this year’s Parish Corporate Board meetings Oct. 14 and 16, participants learned about new Safe Environment requirements, received an update on Vision 20/20, and received information about insurance for non-parish/school-sponsored events.
Father Tony Herold, vicar general for the Diocese of Davenport, started the meeting by discussing the role of lay director. He urged people to go to the diocesan website for a full description of the position and its requirements. Among other duties, lay directors make sure the pastor is calling finance councils together and that people are having their voices heard within the community. He thanked the lay directors in attendance for taking on “this very important responsibility.”
Bishop Thomas Zinkula then spoke about Vision 20/20. “Hopefully people are getting a feel for this. … We tend to be turned inward. We need to get out of the sacristy and into the street, reaching out more and more.” He believes it will take time to make this shift. He called the steering committee a “dream team” and noted that feedback from the listening sessions, which began earlier this month, has been positive so far. Two speakers have been confirmed for the diocesan convocation June 6-8, 2019, which will take place at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. They are speaker and author Katie Prejean McGrady, a U.S. delegate sent by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the Vatican’s pre-synod gathering of young people, and Hosffman Ospino, a professor of theology and religious education at Boston College, where he serves as director of graduate programs in Hispanic ministry. A third speaker, who Bishop Zinkula defined as a “big name” is hoping to arrange his schedule so he can attend, otherwise, another speaker will be chosen.
Bishop Zinkula noted that the diocese once again passed its annual U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Safe Environment audit. He also announced a new policy which requires volunteers who are directly supervised by Virtus-trained leaders to complete Virtus training and a background check. Current volunteers who fit this category should do this as soon as possible. Effective immediately, volunteers must complete training and background checks before beginning work.
Deacon David Montgomery, diocesan chancellor and chief of staff, explained after the meeting that this change pertains to volunteers whose duties include contact with minors, specifically catechists. This does not apply to adults whose contact with minors is incidental. “The safe environment procedures cannot list every scenario involving an adult. The question is, does the designated volunteer have explicit duties that include intentional contact with minors?”
The main presentation at the Parish Corporate Board meetings focused on Third Party Special Event Liability Coverage. This is new insurance coverage brought forth from Catholic Mutual Group, the diocese’s insurance carrier since July 1 of this year. Catholic Mutual serves 133 dioceses in the U.S., including the Archdiocese of Dubuque and the other two Iowa dioceses.
Third Party Special Event Coverage is liability insurance for non-parish and school-sponsored events.
When determining whether or not an activity is parish/school sponsored, the following questions are helpful. Generally, if the answer to any of the following questions is no, the activity is not a parish/school-sponsored event: 1) Does the parish/school have full control over the group or function, 2) Does the parish/ school keep the proceeds from the function, 3) If applicable, is the function open to all parish/school members, 4) Was the purpose of the function to facilitate learning, raise revenue or provide a social service on behalf of the parish/school, and 5) Was the organizer or leader of the group a parish/school volunteer or employee?
If the event is non-parish/school sponsored, the facility user would need to provide a certificate of insurance from their business or homeowners insurance carrier listing the diocese and Parish /School as an Additional Insured. The certificate of liability insurance needs to show a minimum of $500,000 general liability insurance. The facility user also will complete a rental agreement with the parish or school they are using for an event.
If the facility user does not have $500,000 general liability insurance or does not wish to use their business or homeowners insurance, Catholic Mutual is offering Third Party Special Event Liability Coverage. It carries a limit of $1 million per event. The premium charge is $95, to be paid by the facility user. There is no deductible. Most non-parish/school-sponsored events would be covered. Examples are wedding receptions, family reunions, banquets, fundraisers, wedding and baby showers, birthday parties, Christmas parties, outside organizations that need meeting spaces or places for a fundraiser, etc. A copy of the application and $95 check issued from the church or school being used and made payable to Catholic Mutual, should be submitted to Catholic Mutual 15 business days before the event.
The Third Party Special Event application references certain events that liability coverage will not extend. Additional charges are made for events that exceed three days in duration, use inflatable devices or exceed 1,000 persons in attendance.
Because the Knights of Columbus use diocesan facilities frequently for their fundraising, the diocese has obtained a certificate of insurance to cover all of their events held in diocesan facilities for the year. They will, however, need to complete a rental agreement for use of any of the facilities.
With any event, whether parish-sponsored, school-sponsored or non-parish or non-school sponsored, if anything out of the ordinary is happening at the event (i.e. inflatables, fireworks, motor racing, pool or lake activities, bring your own beverage, rock bands, sporting events, events involving more than 1,000 people) Catholic Mutual must be made aware. Representatives at the meeting said they do their best to make exceptional activities possible, provided they are made aware. In some instances coverage may be excluded.
All forms with all contact information are on the Diocese of Davenport website at www.davenportdiocese.org.