An excellent and creative idea!
When people see their homes destroyed by flood or other disaster that forces them into a shelter, they need someone to listen to them, said priests and deacons who serve on a newly formalized ministry recently approved by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.
The archdiocesan Disaster Spiritual Care ministry so far has 18 priests and 34 deacons who have agreed to be assigned as needed to emergency shelters working in coordination with Red Cross and social services during hurricanes and other disasters, said Father Lucien “Luke” Millette.
First put into action informally in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, Father Millette said he asked permission then to temporarily take leave of his office as vicar of the tribunal, which deals with annulments among other legal matters, so he could help in the shelters.
That request was approved and other priests, depending on their duties at their parishes, also went to the George R. Brown Convention Center and other shelters to help the thousands who had been displaced.
“Established by the cardinal, this pastoral care group will respond to any type of large-scale disaster that cannot be handled by a single parish. In addition to the usual training received by all pastoral ministers, our group will also receive additional training from the American Red Cross and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation,” Father Millette said.
“When assisting others in the community outside our own faith, this ministry is not to be used for proselytizing, but as a way to provide psychological first aid by actively listening to them in their time of need,” he said.