Mumbai: Online Ministry for prayers via WhatsApp video calls
Through the initiative, started by Guardian Angels and led by Father Daniel Fernandes of Mt. Carmel Church, 168 sessions have been conducted so far
With religious institutions shut ever since the first phase of the national lockdown in March, people belonging to different faiths are seeking solace in prayer in the confines of their homes.
For the city's Catholic community, this means no congregation at church be it either for prayer or for counselling. Keeping this in mind, a small group of people — led by Father Daniel Fernandes of Mt. Carmel Church is encouraging people to send them 'prayer requests' over WhatsApp. Once requested the group allots the person a time slot during which they WhatsApp video call them so that they can pray together as well as receive guidance and counselling.
Over the past two months, the Online Prayer Ministry, an initiative started by a group called Guardian Angels and led by Father Daniel, has conducted a total of 168 such prayer sessions over video calls.
"We assign people time slots from Monday to Friday between 9.15 pm to 10.15 pm," said Jonathan Fernandes (47), a resident of Orlem, while speaking with mid-day. He explains that there are three of them who take part in the video call prayer sessions.
Father Daniel Fernandes
"We allocate people, set appointment times, five days a week and then we pray with them. I also play the guitar and we sing hymns. Most of the slots are around 10 minutes each, during which, Father Daniel also blesses them."
According to Jonathan, when they started this initiative about two months ago, they used to receive about 4-5 requests daily. But this number has now gone up to anywhere between 15-20 on a daily basis.
"The WhatsApp prayer slot has helped people to express their fears, anxieties, job losses, and uncertain future through the means of prayers," said Father Daniel Fernandes. "We started this ministry on May 28, and till date, we have prayed for 168 persons through WhatsApp video call."
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