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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Are we spiritually ready for disaster?

A photo of a priest walking through a mock plane crash designed to test disaster response got me to thinking about the preparation that the US Church has made in terms of a quick sacramental response in the case of a major disaster, God forbid.

In addition to medical care, people will need spiritual care as well - the sacrament of penance, the sacrament of penance, extreme unction. Have dioceses, especially in major urban areas such as New York and Washington DC given any thought to the allocation of priests and other ministers in the case of such an emergency?

I would like to think that any priest that was able would head immediately to the areas that seemed most in need, particularly hospitals - but I also wonder if everyone wouldn't head to the same place leading to perhaps no priests in other areas in which they were needed.

Since it is hard to predict what sort of emergency might take place, it would obviously be difficult to prepare for any contingency, but I would think that some general procedures should be put into place. If anyone knows about this, I'd be glad to hear.


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