By Emilie Ng
NEW Farm’s Catholic parish priest is reaching out to people suffering with emotional afflictions and giving them hope in the Church.
Scalabrinian Father Ignacio Rodriguez believes healing Masses can help the high numbers of people suffering from depression and other “emotional afflictions”.
“I can see a lot of needs regarding emotional afflictions,” Fr Rodriguez said.
“There’s lots of stress in the community.
“Depression is a real issue among our people, and loneliness too.”
Fr Rodriguez opened Holy Spirit Church, New Farm, to the public for the parish’s first healing Mass for Italian and Spanish-speaking Catholics on July 10.
“We wanted to provide a space for people dealing with physical, spiritual, emotional and mental problems,” he said.
More than 300 people queued up to have a priest lay hands on them, “a clear sign” to Fr Rodriguez that healing was needed in the community.
“Healing Masses don’t just provide the comfort of the Eucharist but bring inner peace,” he said.
Fr Rodriguez said the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was a chance for priests to lay their hands on people and “heal whatever is there”.
Healing also came with forgiveness, which Fr Rodriguez said was a major cause of emotional and mental afflictions.
“Mental afflictions don’t need to be related to mental problems,” he said.
“They can be from stress, trauma, anyone holding on to anger or resentment, and lack of forgiveness.
“We, the Church, are a people of hope, light, forgiveness and love,” Fr Rodriguez said.
“Healing is an opportunity not only to heal but to forgive, to keep going.”
Fr Rodriguez said all priests had the capacity to bring healing through the Mass and Anointing of the Sick.
New Farm parish’s next healing Mass will be held on Thursday (July 23) at 6pm and will be an English-speaking Mass.