CHA to co-sponsor Seattle conference on mental health and well-being

January 2024

An event CHA is co-sponsoring in Seattle next month will offer resources on mental and spiritual health and well-being to professionals in mental health, spiritual care and medicine.

The Feb. 10 event, "Moved with Compassion: The Intersection of Mental Health and Catholic Professionals," will be held at a conference center at Seattle's St. James Cathedral. There is no charge to attend in-person or virtually. The daylong event is designed for chaplains, mission leaders, clinicians, and lay leaders, but anyone can attend. Continuing education units are available.

Timed to coincide with the Catholic Church's observance of World Day of the Sick, the event is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Seattle, the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and CHA. The gathering will be "a meaningful day of enrichment, collegiality, and personal refreshment as we explore the importance of mental health for ourselves and all those we serve as a ministry of the Church," organizers say on the event's web page. Attendees must register for the gathering on that page, which is in the event section of the archdiocese's website (


Presenters will include Dennis Gonzales, CHA senior director of mission innovation and integration; Paulina Alvarado, a chaplain at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington; Dr. LaVera Crawley, CommonSpirit Health system vice president of pastoral and spiritual care; Rich Shively, Seattle Seafarer Center executive director; Jill Fisk, CHA director of mission services; Erica Cohen Moore, National Association of Catholic Chaplains executive director; Joe Cotton, Seattle archdiocese's executive director of the vicar general's office; and Greg Nealon, division director of mission and spiritual care for Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. Virginia Mason Franciscan and its St. Joseph in Tacoma are part of CommonSpirit Health.


Gonzales and Alvarado will present on the importance of mental health and how providers can lean into their Catholic identity to ensure they are offering whole-person care. He'll speak on how important it is for providers to honor the dignity of everyone they serve. Crawley will lead a time of reflection. Fisk and Cohen Moore will update attendees on CHA and NACC's work in mental and spiritual well-being. They'll share resources the organizations can offer and focus on the importance of self-renewal to prevent burnout.

The day will conclude with a Mass for Healthcare Professionals at St. James Cathedral.

Fisk says the conference is an opportunity for medical, mental health and spiritual care providers – both within and outside of the Catholic health ministry – to gather to nourish themselves spiritually and mentally and to gain new insights on how to nourish those they serve.


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