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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Behavioral Health Conference: Searching for equilibrium amidst emotional crisis and pain

By Sister Mary Chilee Okoko, D.M.M.M.

The Diocese of San Bernardino’s ministry to promote wellness and health has grown through the recent years. Wellness programs include all activities aimed at providing education, information, advocacy, and connection to healthcare professionals and institutions for the purpose of addressing the healthcare needs of our people.

Since 2015, part of this effort has included hosting a Diocesan Behavioral Health Conference where experts in the fields of health and theology are invited to speak and educate the people. Despite the limitations created by the COVID-19 pandemic we will move forward with the Conference this year.

It will take place Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 8:30am – 2:00pm as a virtual event. The theme of this year’s conference is “Searching for Equilibrium Amidst Mental/Emotional Crisis and Pain.” The challenges imposed on the world and the pain so many people have suffered and continue to experience because of the COVID-19 pandemic informed the choice of this theme for the conference.

The keynote address, to be delivered by Dr. Matthew Chang, M.D., Director of the Department of Behavioral Health for Riverside University Health System, is titled “Relating Spiritual and Social Challenges to Mental Health.” Other workshops will address how everyday challenges and experiences can cause or aggravate mental/emotional health challenges and, also the correlation between spirituality and mental/emotional health. These workshops will be presented by Father Cornelius McQuillan, C.S.Sp, PsyD, and Melissa Hofstetter, PhD, M.Div., respectively.
The day will be wrapped up by a second keynote address on “Finding Hope Amidst the Uncertainties of Life,” to be presented by Father Allen Deck, S.J., PhD., a distinguished Scholar in Pastoral Theology and Latino Studies.

The Diocesan Mental Health Committee has been charged with this work and has forged collaborative relationships with the Departments of Behavioral Health of both San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the San Bernardino County National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), Riverside University Health System (RUHS), Christian Counseling Center Redlands and Loma Linda University health (LLUH). These Institutions assist by providing speakers for the various workshops and they send vendors to these conferences to provide resources to participants.

Bishop Emeritus Gerald R. Barnes promoted and supported wellness and health in the Diocese during his years as Ordinary Bishop. Through the Diocesan Healthcare Committee, he communicated the need for the healthcare institutions within the Diocese to assist in providing not only medical services but also education, advocacy and resources in the areas of health, social services and pastoral care, most especially to the sick and dying.

Bishop Alberto Rojas, as the Ordinary Bishop of the Diocese, has continued advocating and promoting the same ideals. He has asked that the committee make every effort to get the message and fruits of the conference to the parish level since not everyone will be able to participate in it.

Information regarding this free conference and online registration can be found at the website of the Department of Life, Dignity and Justice of the Diocese, https://lifedignityandjust.wixsite.com/mldj

We hope you all will join us via Zoom for this conference.

Sr. Mary Chilee Okoko, DMMM, is Director of the Department of Life, Dignity and Justice for the Diocese.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

XIX Theological Symposium: Faith in Action Giving Hope

The Ministry Formation Institute (MFI) will hold its 19th annual Theological Symposium on Saturday April 17. The theme for the day is “Faith in Action Giving Hope.” It is a day to explore and study the theological concept and aspects of “Pastoral de y en Conjunto” by reflecting on our personal and cultural expressions of faith and understandings of ministry. By sharing our individual and collective gifts as a rich tapestry of faith, we will envision how together we can make an impact on parish life and the larger society as we strive to bring hope to others.

The Symposium, presented in both Spanish and English, will feature two prominent California based theologians: Robert Lasalle-Klein Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Holy Names University, and Eduardo C. Fernandez, S.J., S.T.D., Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ministry at Santa Clara University. Both men are accomplished authors, theologians, and professors capable of making the day both informative and practical.

The event is open to all and will be live via Zoom and other streaming sites. The topic and speaker choice were designed to create an environment where all attendees, whether you are a parish priest, lay ministry leader, or a parishioner looking for a day of personal growth, will find the event productive and engaging. The day’s activities will all be live.

Pre-Registration is underway now and the cost of registration is just $5. People can register online at https://mfisbdiocese.org or by contacting Sonia Sanchez at (909)475-5375.