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Spotlight Report

Deacon to lead church child advocacy office

By Sacha Pfeiffer, Globe Staff, 9/12/2002

The Archdiocese of Boston has named Deacon Anthony P. Rizzuto, executive director of the office of Catholic cemeteries, to oversee implementation of new child protection policies adopted by the church in the wake of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law is expected to officially announce Rizzuto's appointment today.

As full-time head of the new Office for Child Advocacy, Implementation and Oversight, Rizzuto will be responsible for carrying out the church's pledge to begin in January to teach children in parochial schools how to protect themselves from sexual abuse and to introduce the curriculum in religious education classes offered by the archdiocese's 362 parishes by fall 2003.

Rizzuto, 53, is also expected to put in place new child protection policies scheduled to be unveiled Oct. 7 by the Cardinal's Commission for the Protection of Children, a 15-person volunteer advisory board.

In 1996, Rizzuto was ordained a permanent deacon, a position that allows him to assist priests in baptisms, weddings, and funerals, but not to celebrate Mass or hear confessions. Permanent deacons are typically married men who were active in parish life before their ordination; they cannot marry after being ordained.

Rizzuto, who is married and lives in Malden, has a background in psychology and organizational development, and also served in the US Air Force, according to several members of the Cardinal's Commission. He could not be reached for comment.

In his new position, Rizzuto, who often assists Law during Sunday Mass at the cathedral, will work out of the cardinal's residence.

This story ran on page B6 of the Boston Globe on 9/12/2002.
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