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Bishop Gregory Parkes Designates August 21 as Safe Haven Sunday

Bishop Gregory Parkes Designates August 21 as Safe Haven Sunday

Empowering Individuals and Families in a Digital World

Parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg have been invited to set aside time the weekend of August 20-21 to address the pervasive problem of pornography and its devastating effects on marriages and families. The goal is to make each home a safe haven from pornography.

At Sacred Heart Parish in Pinellas Park, churchgoers will receive information about parental controls for YouTube, Google, SafeSearch, iOS, and more. They will also receive a free e-book offer to help their homes become a safe haven from the devastating effects of pornography.

“The family home is to be a safe haven. But the inappropriate use of technology in the home deprives it of this role and is the greatest threat to the sanctity of marriages and families today. Pornography and other online threats are often one click away, and parents can feel overwhelmed with not knowing how to best protect their children in our fast-paced digital world,” said Father Kevin Yarnell, pastor, Sacred Heart Parish in Pinellas Park. He was appointed by Bishop Parkes to oversee this initiative in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

The Diocese is partnering with Covenant Eyes, a company committed to creating faith-based resources that foster the virtue of chastity and the tools to overcome pornography use and addiction. They will offer resources, available in English and Spanish, that are focused on education and prevention, such as practical tips to create safer digital environments. All of the resources can be found here.

The idea for Safe Haven Sunday was inspired by the U.S. Bishop’s November 2015 statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” and the theme is Equipping the Family, Safeguarding Children.

“Pornography is detrimental to both the physical and spiritual life of each individual and the greater community. The use of pornography has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations,” said Bishop Parkes.

Further resources to combat pornography, including a list of Catholic counselors who specialize in helping people recover from this addiction can be found at

Safe Haven Sunday is part of Freedom From Pornography, an initiative of the Diocese of St. Petersburg that started in 2016 to combat the growing problem of pornography that has harmed so many individuals and families because of its distorted view of the human person and sexuality.  Since then, educational events and training programs have been held to equip the faithful to protect themselves and seek assistance and healing.

FREE Resources: Participate in a free seven-day email challenge to help you turn your home into a safe haven. You will receive videos explaining the latest apps, safety restrictions for YouTube, social media risks, how to address difficult conversations and much more. Text SECURE to 66866.