CHA has created an e-learning module for ministry members to provide an overview of the position of the church and the Catholic health ministry on caring for immigrants. "Welcoming the Stranger" is available by logging into the CHA Knowledge Center. Participants can complete the online learning by themselves or use a facilitator's guide to take part in the learning and a discussion as a group. Additional printable resources are available with the electronic educational module, such as a prayer and a list of resources related to advocacy on behalf of immigrants.
The online learning takes about 15 to 18 minutes to complete, said Lynette Ballard, CHA's senior director for learning integration. "It's fast; it's easy. People don't have to travel to get this information," she said.
Participants will learn that care for immigrants is rooted in church history and that those who serve in Catholic health care are spiritually compelled to be in solidarity with immigrants. The e-learning module also allows participants to identify and articulate concrete actions they can take to welcome immigrants, such as giving them respect, time and attention; seeing beyond the limits of language; providing a safe place; providing high-quality care and maintaining medical record accuracy, among other steps.
The educational module includes references to Scripture on why Catholics are called to help immigrants. It also includes the personal story of a young woman who traveled from Mexico into the United States with some of her family, led by a human smuggler, or "coyote." The woman now works in Catholic health care and has become a U.S. citizen. The module also covers the immigrant advocacy efforts of Pope Francis and of Catholic bishops.
Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM, CHA's vice president of mission services, said the e-learning module will prompt providers who work in Catholic health care settings to assist immigrants and raise awareness of immigration issues with their colleagues and in their communities. "It's an international problem, and we are really compelled to address it in those spheres where we have influence and where we hopefully can effect change," she said.
This e-learning module is the third developed by CHA for use by ministry members. The other two, also available through the Knowledge Center on CHA's website, are "Catholic Social Tradition" and "Spiritual Care: Essential to Catholic Identity."
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