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The rising cases of COVID and visitor restrictions at Saint Joseph London has taken its toll on hospital staff as well as patients, and one employee is asking for churches and individuals to show their concern with prayer groups.

Debbie Moore in the Admissions Office at the London hospital made a post on Facebook last week, asking churches and other groups to show their support for the staff by participating in prayer services for the staff and patients.

Moore said groups have been coming to the hospital since Aug. 24.

"The staff here is physically, mentally and emotionally tired," Moore said. "Seeing the community gathered outside recharges them. This has just been a busy and trying time for them."

Moore said there have been churches, youth groups and prayer groups come to the pond area, walked around the pathway and prayed, or gathered around the statute of Mother Mary and held prayer.

"We've had all denominations come - of course, the hospital is Catholic, so we've had the Catholic church come. But there have been churches from all over the area come out and gather around the pond area. And it's also helped the patients. Some of them come to the window and wave," she added.

Moore said patients - some of whom are isolated due to COVID - talk to their families while the prayers are going on.

"The people are here to get physically healed but we also hope they get emotionally and spiritually healed," Moore added. "One of the patients said they looked out and saw the people there and knew they were praying for them."

Moore said she would love to "have 30 days of prayer" and that her Facebook post to churches and groups had been shared several times to encourage participation. She said groups didn't have to call and schedule evenings to come to pray, but the process helped with organization for the various groups. She added that she has groups scheduled up through Sept. 9.

"This has been very humbling for me," Moore added, "and it makes a difference for the staff and the patients. I hope we can continue this for all of them."

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