“Trauma is anything that is overwhelming or too much to handle. This COVID-19 pandemic has been overwhelming on a global basis, it has paralyzed the world and caused us to change. Because of what is happening right now, we are all experiencing some sort of trauma,” explains Maryknoll Father Dennis Moorman.
Before COVID-19, Father Dennis traveled around the world as a missionary priest working with people who had experienced trauma in various ways. During days of physical distancing and restricted travel, he now helps people cope with trauma virtually from his home in São Paulo, Brazil.
While in quarantine, Father Dennis’ mother passed away in Indiana. He said, “It was difficult not to be with her or to have family with her when she died.” Like Father Dennis, so many are grieving now. Grief is a way we respond to trauma.
Father Dennis explained,”I have discovered that trauma and spirituality are intertwined. Spirituality is the experience of being connected—to our self, other beings, our physical environment and to God. Staying connected to others and creation helps us feel safe, (but with the COVID-19 virus, it has been difficult because we have had to stay physically distant from one another). When we exercise, meditate or spend time in nature, we are able to connect with our body, which can help us release some of the trauma we may be holding. “In my practice I can never separate the physical from the emotional—or the spiritual. As a witness to the Gospel, I believe that to love is to heal. As Jesus said, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these…’ “ (John 14:12)
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