“I was sunk: I had debts, I needed help, I had to talk about everything … I saw an advertisement for the Bisbat and contacted volunteers from L’Esglèsia ,” says Sara, separated and with a girl. “I was able to talk about everything with someone without taboos, without being judged; they did not scold me, they did not make fun, “he continues. Without close relatives or help from his daughter’s father, he did not see how to get things back on track. “Now I have two jobs and I can make ends meet and start paying off debts,” he celebrates.
This is one of the cases that has already attended the program L’Església surt del Bisbat de Solsona , which offers free advice and follow-up to people who go through personal crises , widow’s duels or illnesses . They also attend, from the Christian perspective, marital problems and unwanted pregnancies with reluctance about abortion.
It has been in operation for two years and currently serves 12 people from three parishes in the diocese. Perhaps the most innovative thing is that personalized attention, offered by about thirty volunteers, is in person and also through Skype video calls. The counselors have been trained specifically for the project or are professionals of social and psychological care.
Without fear of new initiatives
The Diocese of Solsona, directed by Xavier Novell, is already known for its daring. The bishop is in favor of trying new programs and actions, using social networks, deciding on Catalan current affairs and defending an orthodox vision of Catholicism, which until now has been nothing of controversy.
Vanessa Mangas, the social worker of Cáritas coordinates this initiative of personalized advice, details that L’Església que surt is inspired by the call of Pope Francis to the Church to listen much more to the concerns of people beyond faith: “The Bishop thought of the need to have committed lay people coming out and helping those who need it.”
“It is important that a person accompany you and give you advice without belonging to your immediate environment, because sometimes when we have problems, it is more difficult for us to talk to our relatives about what they will think,” he argues. “Better that there is a third, trained and with good intention, that can give that advice,” he concludes.
The cases that come to them are very diverse. Vanesa recalls that of the mother of a boy who consumed toxins: “The program helped her understand that she was not guilty and directed her to a group of mothers who were sharing that pain”. They go as far as they can, assuming the limitations with naturalness: “We did not accompany his son because we are not prepared to carry drug addictions,” Mangas assumes.
“The Word of God can also open the heart to those who have material needs, such as economic, labor or marital problems,” he says. “The material problem is what stands out, but there is always a deeper and greater need behind, and we are going to look for that need”, adds the coordinator. However, the beneficiaries of the service have no further commitment or obligation to the parish, if they do not wish to maintain the link.
Another person contacted the project through the website because she was hyper-educated and she was accompanied: “The volunteer went deeper and saw that there was an economic problem and a structural family problem that led him to spend too much money” , remember Mangas. “He accompanied her so that she felt safe, she became valuable inside the house and with opinion,” she recalls.