Mental Hospital Ministry
As in the other two Sunday ministries, we go to the Davao City Mental Hospital in pairs. Quite a number of volunteers are ministering there, such as the Samahang Marista (Lay Marists), the Oasis of Love (a charismatic group), The Daughters of the Heart of Mary, The Apostles of Jesus Crucified and others. Together with them we distribute bread to the patients. These patients are very happy to have somebody to talk to (some of them speak English), or just shake hands or give a hug. About 450 patients are living in the Hospital at the moment – the proportion of women smaller than the men. The long-term patients are rarely visited by their relatives and there are many patients who seemingly don’t have any contact with us. Therefore this ministry in the Mental Hospital is quite a challenging one and also because it is rather about being there, being present than doing a lot or saying a lot. It is something about abiding with the people in their suffering and sharing hope, at least for the time we are there in the Hospital.
After we distribute the bread, we have mass together with a large number of the patients, presided by the Marist Fathers. Most of the patients are happy to meet a priest and receive a blessing. The Samahang Marista and The Oasis of Love organise the music – they also give a sharing about the readings and take care that there is bread to be distributed. After the celebration of the mass there is a meeting of the so called first-timers and some of the frequent volunteers. During this meeting they have the opportunity to share their experience and feelings about their visit to this challenging place. All of us are very moved during this special ministry.
See the other ministries we are involved in…