Counselling centre aids people through tough economy

By 
  • January 15, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic Family Services of Durham will soon launch a counselling centre to ease the pain that the economic downturn is having on families.

Mary Wells, executive director of Catholic Family Services of Durham, says that with job losses and the auto sector in decline in Oshawa, Ont., its new $90,000 centre which launches in March comes at a critical time.

According to Wells, the Centre for Workers’ Families was formed to provide counselling services for individuals. But it will also have programs to nurture their spiritual well-being.

“The concern is that with the job loss, especially large layoffs, there will be an upsurge in individual stress, family breakdown, family violence and child neglect,” Wells told The Catholic Register.

In addition to individual, couple and child counselling, and an interactive web site for parents and kids, there will also be a program called “Keeping my faith in tough times,” which is set to begin on Feb. 24, ahead of the centre’s official opening.

Family counsellor Mary Marrocco, who will be running this program, said it is open to everyone, regardless of their religious background.

“It will give people time and space to become more aware of their capacity for faith and hope,” she said.

The program is made up of five sessions which will include prayer and meditation time and a study of the life and writings of five individuals who have lived in different eras but persevered through adversity and used faith as a source of strength, Marrocco said. Participants will examine the lives of St. Augustine, St. Theresa of Avila, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl and Mother Maria of Paris who worked among the poor during the Great Depression years.

The new program seeks to help people develop coping strategies, said Marrocco.

“When things are hard, they turn to spiritual things more and need a place to turn to.”

For Wells, it is also applying the teachings of late John Paul II in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est on Christian love and charity.

“We become a witness to the world through the love of the Father,” she said. Quoting the encyclical, Wells added, “We contribute to a better world only by personally doing good now.”

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