Anita Draper
Catholic Herald staff

An effort initiated by the Christian filtering service Covenant Eyes, Safe Haven Sunday was launched across the Diocese of Superior on the second Sunday of Lent to draw attention to media usage.

During his homily at St. Joseph, Rice Lake, at the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday, Feb. 18, Fr. Laski observed the themes of the readings and Gospel – temptations and covenants – aligned with the purpose of Safe Haven Sunday.

“It’s about being faithful to a covenant,” he said.

Baptism is not just about washing with water, “It’s a sacrament, and that sacrament links up to that covenant with God that lasts forever,” he explained.

Acknowledging that human covenants are flawed – God is the “heavy hitter” and we are weak and sinful – he added, “that’s not an insult,” but instead invites us to rely on an all-powerful God for help.

God wants to be in communion with us, but being sinners, we have to recognize the sorts of temptations that are out there, Fr. Laski advised. Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days in the desert, so when we think we are alone, tempted, afraid and bound to fail, we are not alone.

“We want to recognize God is alongside us in the struggles,” he added.

Phones, laptops and tablets are hubs for being in touch with the rest of the world, a door – but addressing parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, Fr. Laski urged them to create boundaries first through parental controls and filters, and secondly through physical boundaries – not allowing children to have online-capable devices in their bedrooms – and then to have honest conversations about what they are accessing online.

Over time, kids will learn how to discern for themselves, with help from the Holy Spirit, what is good online.

“We all need to discern for ourselves,” Fr. Laski continued. He has parental controls on his own smartphone, and his phone turns off at 9 p.m.

“Satan comes around when you are hungry, angry, lonely (or) tired,” he said. To protect our hearts and homes, “We need to set up boundaries for them and for us.”

The parish is sending out books on media usage to all members, he said.

Fr. Adam Laski