Help arrives for Calgary chaplains overwhelmed by Brentwood tragedy

Clara Ho • Calgary Herald • April 17, 2014

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team Community Chaplain Merle Doherty (pictured below) in April visited the scene of the stabbing deaths of five young people in Calgary. 

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve Colleen De Neve , Calgary Herald

RRT Merle

Chaplains with local law enforcement agencies who are becoming "overwhelmed" in helping those affected by Tuesday's mass slayings are getting assistance themselves.

Merle Doherty, community chaplain with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's rapid response team, arrived in the city from Edmonton after receiving an invitation from the Calgary Police Service's chaplain.

"We've been invited in by the community and by the agencies to assist those chaplains that are already in place, just because of the type of incident this is and they're overwhelmed," Doherty told reporters at the scene in Brentwood on Thursday morning.

"We're just here to assist them and help them until they get back on their feet and back to continue on the duties they normally  do."

Doherty arrived with two chaplains, one from the Calgary Police Service and the other from the RCMP, taking in the scene and the makeshift memorial, now piling up with dozens of flower bouquets, potted plants, stuffed animals, notes and photos.

He said the chaplain's role is to just listen to those who need someone to talk to.

"As chaplains, we just listen to people and hear where they're at."

So far, they have gone to the district 3 police station, the University of Calgary, and will likely head to Mount Royal University.

"This is a tough, tough thing to handle. Everyone's wondering the whys, and I don't know if there are any whys at this time."

For more information visit the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada's website.

Read more: