Catholic Charity Facilitates Training of Mozambique’s Pastoral Agents in Trauma Healing

A Catholic Sister in Cabo-Delgado Province interacting with children

A Catholic Pontifical charity is facilitating the training of members of Clergy, Religious men and women, as well as the laity in Counselling Psychology aimed at enabling beneficiaries to offer appropriate assistance to those struggling with traumatic experiences amid Cabo Delgado violence.

The beneficiaries of training under the auspices of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International “are being introduced, in intensive four-day courses, to the basics of psychological and social counselling, learning how to comfort the traumatized and give new hope to wounded souls,” officials of the Catholic entity say in a their Wednesday, March 31 report obtained by ACI Africa.

“We have promised €18,500 towards the cost of these courses (mostly for travel, board and lodging, teaching and study materials),” the leadership of the entity that supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in need, through information, prayer and action discloses.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the trainees are learning in six small groups of 50 at a time, officials of the pastoral aid organization say, terming the training a “new form of pastoral outreach...designed to guide people back to some kind of everyday normality, thereby overcoming their trauma.”

In the report, ACN’s officials liken the role of the Clergy, women and men Religious and the Laity helping the traumatized in Cabo-Delgado, Pemba Diocese, to St. Joseph who played a “central role in the history of salvation.”


Making reference to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on the Year of St. Joseph, ‘Patris Corde’, they say “Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

Among the beneficiaries of the training in Counselling Psychology are the Sisters of the Annunciation who “like Saint Joseph...are seemingly hidden and in the shadows yet they are among the first to heal the wounds of the soul,” officials of the Catholic charity that strives for a world in which Christianity can thrive everywhere say.

The Nuns who are serving in Mozambique’s Pemba Diocese are also among the first to “treat the traumas that they and the Clergy repeatedly encounter in their pastoral work among the people many of whom only just managed to escape with their lives after their towns and villages were attacked by extremists,” they add.

Since the insurgency started in 2017 in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province, the attacks have left at least 2,500 people dead and 700,000 homeless, according to media reports.

The violence reportedly started after Islamist jihadists attacked a military base and police station in the Coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia, where foreign companies are undertaking a US$60 billion gas oil project.

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Last December, the then Local Ordinary of Pemba Diocese, Bishop Luis Fernando Lisboa, said the exploitation of natural resources is the cause of the crisis in Cabo Delgado Province.

Bishop Lisboa who was transferred to Brazil's Diocese of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim and elevated to “Archbishop ad personam” on February 11, called on the Portuguese government to table a debate in the European Union (EU) to discuss the exploitation of natural resources in the 30.3-million population country.

In the March 31 report, ACN’s leadership says, “The loss of loved ones killed by Islamist terrorism, possessions lost through displacement or natural disasters, and the destruction of their lives and dreams have inflicted the spiritual wounds that the Sisters tend to.”

“How does one address the loss of their homes, or the loss of the life they knew? How can you rescue them from utter despair and the danger of falling back into former superstitions?” officials of the Germany-based charity pose in reference to the displaced people of Cabo Delgado, Northern Mozambique.

Amid the Cabo Delgado crisis, the leadership of ACN expresses confidence that with the skills received from the Counselling Psychology course, the trainees “will help to mend broken hearts and heal the wounds of so many souls.”