Propelled by our Gospel Mission, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has shifted rapidly to respond to the COVID crisis. During these days that couldn’t have been imagined a few months ago, Christ shows us that the incarnation should drive us into this world, not away from it. Love mandates action, especially at times of great need, fear, and uncertainty. And Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has been active.
Although our building is closed, we are open. Our hearts and minds are open to serve in new ways and help those in need of daily necessities such as food and shelter. Many in our community went to work one day, secure in their jobs, awoke the next to the instant loss of work and income.
Here are some of the things we’ve accomplished in the past two weeks:
- Thanks to several weeks of solid planning, we transitioned to full remote operations on Friday, March 30. Daily we re-commit ourselves in prayer and action to the Church’s Gospel Mission.
- Because of the generosity of donors in our community, we have initiated a financial assistance program for these individuals and families who find themselves without income, a job and any prospect of employment because of the COVID crisis. To apply for this assistance, please call 336-8700.
- In the short time we’ve been responding, we’ve already handled about 2,000 incoming phone calls, performed about 400 assessments, and distributed about $7,000 in assistance.
- Our behavioral health counselors are fully equipped to provide “virtual” counseling.
The trauma we are all experiencing has many layers: material, emotional, and spiritual. It is unique in that usually, in the immediate aftermath of other crises such as natural disasters, communities are able to mobilize clean-up crews and distribution sites to help one another for the weeks it takes public resources to reach them. With COVID, its very nature prohibits communities and individuals from assisting one another. That spiritual energy that comes from putting our bodies to work help those is need is an action that is out-of-reach for us as a community.
Our Gospel Mission of service, however, propels us to do so in new ways, to struggle through the uncertainties and in the process transform ourselves to follow more closely the example of Christ, and thus to transform the lives of the people we are graced to serve.