The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has announced that it will establish a statewide network of faith-based counseling services, after an increasing number of parishioners have been turning to their parish priests for help with problems beyond the spiritual.
The counseling service will be established by the diocese’s social service arm, Catholic Community Services. The Catholic charity is seeking approval from the West Virginia Health Care Authority, and hopes to get the program started this summer.
“The plan is to bring counselors to where people need them,” said Ellen Vance, assistant director of Catholic Community Services. “This is for a person who wants counseling that respects his or her views, that respects their prayer life, spiritual life and church affiliation.”
The counseling service will be available to people of all faiths, ages and income levels. It intends to make counselors more available to people in rural areas.
Catholic Community Services eventually plans to hire counselors in each diocese’s seven vicariates. The counselors can also help people with employment issues — troubles at work and finding a job.