A Catholic diocese in the Philippine capital has adopted an online platform to reach out to isolated COVID-19 patients and pray for them.
“E-Pray” is an online prayer request initiative of the Novaliches diocese’s social communications ministry that allows a patient to 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.
Father Luciano Felloni, the diocese’s social communications director, said the pandemic has prevented patients from accessing their priests during stressful and end-to-life situations.
“The problem is there’s no direct contact because priests are not allowed to enter hospitals, in [intensive care units], and in quarantine facilities,” said Father Felloni.
“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.
Father Felloni said the platform will be manned by a number of volunteers who will match any sick person with a priest available.
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,” said Father Felloni. “Let’s help in our little and very simple way. Let us help with the grace of prayer.”