By ZENIT Staff

A Catholic bishop in the Philippines has called on young people to volunteer their time to help healthcare frontliners against the coronavirus, reported CBCFP News.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said the volunteers will be part of the “Confraternity of San Roque” that is being revived in the diocese.

“I wish to call on young people in all dioceses, especially in parishes named after San Roque… to serve as ‘health care volunteers’ to back up our health care workers,” he said.

The bishop said that volunteers can help Covid-19 patients, not necessarily in the hospitals, but quarantine facilities, including those who opted for home quarantine.

According to him, the diocese can enter into a partnership with the local health officers and assist them in monitoring “those without symptoms, and those with mild symptoms”.

“For the moment we are mobilizing volunteers who can do mainly the online monitoring of covid positives because we understand the risk of exposing them to infection if we deploy them to do physical monitoring,” David said.

“The ones we will mobilize for face-to-face monitoring are probably former covid positives who have recovered already and have natural antibodies to fight a reinfection,” he said.

Even asymptomatic Covid-19 patients can also help in organizing tasks inside the quarantine facilities, the prelate said.

The young people, he said, will also undergo training with health care professionals before they can be formally accredited as volunteers.

“They too can help the attending physician in determining whether or not the patient needs to be brought already to a hospital facility,” said David.

“The idea is to keep as few patients as possible from having to be brought to the hospital so that the hospitals don’t get overwhelmed,” he added.

San Roque, the patron of Caloocan City, is known as the patron saint against plagues.

During the plague that hit Italy in the 14th century, San Roque devoted himself to helping cure the sick.

He eventually contracted the infection himself, but after retreating to the forest, he was also cured from the disease.

Decades later, when Europe was struck again by a pandemic, he became the inspiration for a “Confraternity of San Roque” that is made up of lay Catholics whose mission was to back up health care workers.

Bishop David urged young people to emulate the example of San Roque and revive his confraternities to help the health workers.

“If the volunteers could also be trained in psycho-spiritual accompaniment, especially when the patients begin to suffer mental health issues while under quarantine, wouldn’t that be even better?” he said.

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