Two brief updates are offered at the present time. The first and primary update is focused toward our chaplains serving in health care environments, and the second is an encouragement to them in the form of continuing education to explore as opportunity allows.
As we together face the presence of the coronavirus (Covid-19), I ask that we all pray for our chaplains serving in healthcare environments. Many are addressing this pandemic by doing their part to slow the spread, including practicing social distancing, and/or working from home. Our chaplains, however, are, together with physicians, nurses, and othe health care workers, treating those either under suspicion of or in fact diagnosed with the coronavirus. In doing so, they are placing themselves and their families in significant risk each and every day. To support our prayers for our healthcare workers, the prayer offered by our Synod of Bishops is offered here again for our daily use:
"O God Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth, and of all creation visible and invisible, in Your ineffable goodness, look down upon us, Your people gathered in Your Holy Name. Be our helper and defender in this day of affliction. You know our weakness. You hear our cry in repentance and contrition of heart. O Lord who loves mankind, deliver us from the impending threat of the Corona Virus. Send Your angel to watch over us and protect us. Grant health and recovery to those suffering from this virus. Guide the hands of physicians, nurses, chaplains, other healthcare workers, and preserve those who are healthy. Enable us to continue to serve our suffering brothers and sisters in peace that together we may glorify Your most honorable and majestic name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen."
The second news update is related to chaplains serving as mandated reporters for sexual misconduct. In healthcare environments such mandated reporting often utilizes the services of the social work department. Recently I needed to obtain information on how to make a mandated report as a priest outside the healthcare environment. In doing so I learned that CT does include clergy among mandated reporters (already known), and the State of CT now has a certification course for mandated reporters (more recent development). As opportunity allows, check to see if your state includes clergy and chaplains as mandated reporters, and if so, if certification courses have also been established. You can complete such courses as part of your continuing education hours, and as I did here, suggest to local deanery clergy groups that you could do a presentation to assist our clergy in being prepared in the situation where a mandated report needs to be made for children, the elderly, and others.
Thanks be to God for the service of our institutional chaplains, especially during this critical time!
Archpriest Steven Voytovich, Director
Office of Institutional Chaplains