Risk Assessment - Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church

Risk Assessment

Contact the Parish Office, Coordinator


Safety Ministry Program

Today, more and more churches around the world are facing the reality of insurrections of evil. A vulnerable place, such as a church, is an open invitation for an attack. Subsequently, churches around the country have stopped relying on people’s hope yet started implementing Task Forces from a protective order. The church shall not need to hire guards, yet shall have a group of individuals willing to assist in the event of a tragedy.

“Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

-John 15:13

Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church has Rick Assessment Members at each mass to ensure the safety of our church and parking lot. Their presence does not mean we have an active threat. 

Please Report all Findings to the Facility Manager or Parish Office as soon as possible

The purpose of Our Lady of Hope Risk Assessment Team is the following

1.)  The first is to provide a protected place of prayer where parishioners and visitors may comfortably pray with the guarantee that all reasonable measures are being taken to insure their safety from external threats.

2.) The second is to provide a safe place of prayer where hazards and unsafe conditions are identified and repaired, removed, or mitigated to the point that they no longer present a hazard.


Mary Stewart, Director of Risk Management for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, reminds us that more than half of the incidents start in the parking lot, so she asks that we pay special attention in these areas. (Watch Stewart’s interview with WJLA here.)


Below are simple things you can do to promote safety and security
when attending Mass or parish event

  • “If you see something, say something.”  If you observe suspicious activity, immediately inform a member of the Clergy, Facility Manager, or Parish Staff.
  • Signs of suspicious activity include:
    • Suspicious persons wearing bulky clothing
    • Suspicious or illegally parked vehicles near buildings or where crowds gather
    • Unattended packages or bags such as backpacks
  • Be aware of where the nearest exits are located if you have to evacuate the building.
  • Help those who need assistance in exiting the building due to a disability. If you are unable, ensure a staff member knows that there is a person who might need assistance exiting the facility.
  • Pay attention to potential fall areas when walking through the campus. Look for ice patches or slippery spots that need attention and let someone know.
  • Watch for children when they are exiting the school / parish doors while driving aboard Our Lady of Hope Campus.

In an Active Threat Situation, quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect life

    • Run  – Have an escape route and plan in mind, leave your belongings behind, keep your hands visible
    • Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view, block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors, silence your cell phone (including vibrate mode) and remain quiet
    • Fight – Only when your life is in imminent danger.  Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter.  Act with physical aggression

Please do not give money to people seeking financial or other assistance on OLOH property!
Direct them to the Office, where they will be given information on how to request aid and given information on many other resources. Following please report the person to a staff member
The best way to help is to donate to Catholic Charities Sterling Food Pantry
113 Executive Dr., Building #2, Suite 110, Sterling, VA 20166

Who do you contact in case of an emergency?

Always call 911 if you feel there is a life threatening situation occurring on church grounds-

(If you see something suspicious please contact the Parish Office)

(703) 433-6770