Covid-19: priests and nuns trained in listening and psycho-pastoral intervention in times of crisis

20200522 101426 - Covid-19: priests and nuns trained in listening and psycho-pastoral intervention in times of crisis

Online training on listening and psycho-pastoral intervention in times of crisis May 2020 / screenshot

From May 5 to 9 and May 18 to 22, about 70 African pastoral workers participated in ongoing training in listening and psycho-pastoral intervention in times of crisis. The objective was to equip them for better pastoral care of people affected by the coronavirus, during and after the pandemic.

“The capacity of priests and men and women religious in Africa must be strengthened to design a psycho-pastoral response plan to respond to the multifaceted crisis caused by Covid-19, " said Father Jean Messingué, a Cameroonian Jesuit, doctor of clinical psychology, who organized two training sessions on listening and psycho-pastoral intervention in times of crisis. "The current crisis is also a pastoral crisis, he continues, note must support the main pastoral workers in better training to meet the challenges of pastoral care during and after the coronavirus crisis in the African context. "

A high socio-economic impact

As cases of coronavirus infection increase in Africa, 73 priests, men and women religious in Africa and Europe have received continuing education from May 5 to 9, then May 18 to 22. Exclusively online and sanctioned by a certificate, it was made around the theme: “Listening and psycho-pastoral intervention in times of crisis. "

The training in psychology and pastoral counseling was provided by the Jesuit specialist in clinical psychology and Professor Médard Koua, director of the Bouaké psychiatric hospital (center). "The Covid-19 crisis has a strong existential and psychological dimension, assures Father Messingue. If Covid-19 has a low mortality rate in Africa, its socio-economic and psychological impact is quite high. "

"Our emotions are alerts"

Sister Esther Délali Koudoglo, from the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, was one of the listeners of the second training session. For her, it is important to know how to put all her chances on her side to carry out her mission: the accompaniment of young people in training for religious life. “Being a pastoral agent, all the opportunities for capacity building are for me as many guidelines that I do not neglect to seize, she explains. The general atmosphere, the interaction that prevailed during the course made me understand, first of all, that it is more and more important to know how to listen to our emotions which in fact are alerts not to be overlooked in a crisis pastoral approach. "

Read: Coronavirus: a priest launches a call center for psychological support

Faced with people in crisis, the nun now hears "to enter into the dynamic that empathic listening promoting the autonomy of the listener is one of the fundamental approaches that should not be overlooked in a helping process ".

A draft solution

From his office in Luanda, Father Étienne N’guessan, Superior of the Delegation of the Society of African Missions in Angola, took part in the first online training session given from Côte d'Ivoire. Having a particular interest in the psychology studies he would like to do, "The theme and sub-themes proposed by this training seemed to be a draft solution to the problems we are all facing today".

Also, he adds, the discussions which dealt with attitudes to have as priests in the practice of listening were very enriching. "I have once again realized the importance of the study of psychology in the practice of pastoral work especially in the ministry of the priest (confession-listening-accompaniment). "

Guy Aimé Eblotié, in Abidjan

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