‘Church in Action—Sharing Hope and Healing in Covid Times’ takes place July 12-18 live at 6 p.m. on Trinity TV and Facebook. The mental health outreach programme will share hope, healing and practical ways to navigate the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative is a collaboration of ecclesial communities and archdiocesan commissions to respond to the needs which have come to the fore. A couple months ago, a meeting of ecclesial heads and heads of commissions took place in which the problems being faced by families were discussed. Later, specific mental health issues were addressed. Suicide, depression, anxiety, self-harm has been brought to their attention through their various ministries.
From the discussions, the various heads decided, “we must do something; there is urgency for the Church to act in a real way, we decided to do a number of things,” said Mary Baptiste of the Zion Community.
The live programme will present a panel comprising professionals, “para professionals” and persons with experience in ministries of prayer, consolation, spiritual guidance. Each day the panel will deal with a topic “and what can be done to alleviate the suffering”. Baptiste said the hope is to reach a “wider body of people”.
Apart from the talks on mental health, and discussion on ways to deal with the issues, she said the forum is also about faith, prayer, scripture and God, as “one” of the ways to respond. Baptiste said another initiative is for online meetings in which panellists do talks and provide strategies. There will be “break-out rooms” where persons can ventilate their issues and receive feedback.
Deborah de Rosia of the Eternal Light Community (ELC) said the online sessions from August through November are for persons who need “individual care”. A number of professionals who attend the ELC’s prayer meetings have come forward to assist. Other ecclesial communities are also getting professionals and they will work together.
Ecclesial communities have been providing counselling to the public, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand for help. “It is absolutely important to unite if we are to win the battle before us,” de Rosia said.