A parish pastoral care program in the Perth Archdiocese is helping people in need who would otherwise "fall through the cracks". Source: The eRecord.
Catholic Outreach assists parishes to develop pastoral care programs that enable volunteers provide practical, emergency short-term support for people in need in their local community.
One couple who has benefitted from a parish program is Clare and Patrick.
Clare has Alzheimer’s Disease, or Younger Onset Dementia, and she is no longer able to live independently.
“This disease has robbed Clare of the ability to do many functions which we take for granted – like eating without difficulty, washing oneself, reading, making and receiving phone calls, switching on the TV, opening the house door, dealing with money,” Patrick said.
He said that one day he was left with the difficult choice of leaving Clare at home alone for the day while he went to work.
“I had previously volunteered in Church ministries, but it was only through Willetton parish priest Fr Thai Vu, who went out of his way to visit and assist Clare on a weekly basis – that we came to know of the work of Catholic Outreach,” Patrick said.
“The weekly sessions continued with Catholic Outreach volunteers Luanna and Freddie who have provided short but significant experiences for my wife.”
Catholic Outreach director Marietta Russo said that despite the wide range of services and resources local governments make available to people in the community, there are quite a number of people who “fall through the cracks” because there is just nothing out there to fulfil their particular needs.
“For example, if under 65 years, a person may not necessarily qualify for services they require like getting to and from hospital appointments,” Ms Russo said.
“Or recognising that so many people are experiencing social isolation and the links this has with mental health issues – visiting them may help them to feel connected. These are only some of the areas where Catholic Outreach parish pastoral care programs can assist,” she added.
Ms Russo said there were more than 20 parish programs with hundreds of volunteers across the Perth Archdiocese.
Volunteers find meaning in Catholic Outreach’s mission (The eRecord)