Church turns online to comfort Covid patients

To serve the spiritual needs of its flock, a Catholic diocese in Metro Manila turned to an online program to comfort Covid-19 patients or those in isolation.

The Diocese of Novaliches launched “E-Pray,” a social media platform where people afflicted with the coronavirus disease can connect to a priest for spiritual counseling and prayer.

The project uses Google Form, a free web-based application where people can type in their contact details such as mobile number or Facebook messenger account so that a priest could get in touch with them.

Fr. Luciano Felloni, the social communications director, said the pandemic has prevented patients from accessing their priests in the midst of stressful and end-to-life situations.

“The problem is there’s no direct contact because priests are not allowed to enter hospitals, ICUs and quarantine facilities,” Felloni said.

“We can’t offer at this point in time the anointing of the sick; we can’t offer confession. What we can offer is a priest to pray over them,” he said.

Felloni said the platform would be manned by a number of volunteers who will match any sick person with a priest available.

According to him, about 30 priests from across the country and one from New York have so far volunteered “to listen and pray with the Covid-19 patients.”

“Let’s not allow any single patient to go on without prayer, to go on without being blessed by a priest,” he said. “Let’s help in our little and very simple way. Let us help with the grace of prayer.”