Naval diocese creates healthcare ministry

Naval diocese creates healthcare ministry

Bishop Rex Ramirez of Naval, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Health Care, answers questions from the media during a virtual press conference for the 29th World Day of the Sick on Jan. 11. SCREENSHOT/DIOCESE OF NAVAL

By CBCP News

February 11, 2021

Naval, Biliran

A Catholic diocese in central Philippines has created a body that will work with parishes around health and wellness issues.

The Diocese of Naval in Biliran province on Thursday launched a standalone ministry for healthcare to reach out to congregations of all faiths and denominations.

The launching took place as the diocese hosted this year’s national celebration of the World Day of the Sick.

Bishop Rex Ramirez of Naval said they will also collaborate with public health agencies for programs “that would be good for our use”.

While the ministry is not something new in the diocese, he said that some initiatives before were just being done at the parish level.

For a long time, he said that even their feeding programs have been handled by the diocese’s social action center.

“Now, there will be oversight from the diocese… so this is the beginning of our healthcare ministry,” Ramirez said.

The prelate also said that among their priorities is to put up a program for the elderly, especially those who are sick.

According to him, it is also in support of Pope Francis’ call for care of the elderly.

The pope has earlier announced the institution of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place each year on the fourth Sunday of July.

“I think such a program will be very useful especially for this year when the Holy Father has encouraged special attention for the elderly,” Ramirez said.

Health is an increasing apostolate in the Church, with about 60 to 70 percent of the country’s dioceses already have their own standalone healthcare ministries.

All dioceses have healthcare programs but some of them are incorporated under their social action ministries.

“We are really increasing in this sense… more and more dioceses are encouraging their people and organizing themselves to better help out in the healthcare ministry,” Ramirez said.

The bishop conference’s Commission on Healthcare, which is also headed by Ramirez, have been helping dioceses to have a more robust, integrated and a comprehensive healthcare program.

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