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Posted May 25, 2003

Book: Spiritual Physician: Living Christ's Own Mission of Healing Love
Second Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest
Edited by Edward G. Mathews, Jr. pp. 98

For further information please contact:
Rev. Richard Babuzda
The Institute for Priestly Formation
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178-0300
E-mail: ipf@creighton.edu

Excerpt from Preface:

Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana, was the site of the Second Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest, held from February 28 - March 3, 2002. The inspiration for the symposium stems from the Institute for Priestly Formation's mission which seeks to "present a spirituality that can inspire, motivate and thus sustain the busy daily lives of contemporary diocesan priests" (Mission Statement). The annual symposium provides a forum for research, reflection and publication about various aspects of the spirituality and identity of the diocesan priest.

The particular aim of this present symposium was to help illuminate the image of the diocesan priest as "spiritual physician." In presenting this image, the symposium focused on both on the sacramental and extra-sacramental dimension of the healing ministry of priests. In both it is the power of the Holy Spirit which allows us to experience the healing ministry of Jesus in our own day.

The symposium and this volume of proceedings are dedicated to the memory of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Archbishop of Chicago. Cardinal Bernardin's writings on the priesthood in recent years had invoked this traditional image of the priest as "physician" to help answer the question, "Who is the priest today?" His own priestly example and his concern to help priests recover their identity have served as an inspiration and "icon" for this symposium.

Excerpt from Proceedings:

The spiritually ill need the help of another's imagination to get them out of the rut in which they have spun their wheels all too long. Another example: when a person confesses sins that are rooted in impatience, I have offered the following penance (with an option to decline it in favor of another penance):

For the rest of the day, move slowly. When you are done in the confessional, move slowly to your pew. When you are done in church, move slowly to your car. Drive no faster that the speed limit. Park your car where you normally park it. Throughout the rest of the evening, move slowly. Now, if you are anything like I am, you will find yourself having to remind yourself to slow down maybe twice every minute. Slow down. Jesus had been trying to walk with you all this time, but He has not be able to catch up. When you remind yourself to slow down, as you are slowing down, picture Jesus catching up to you. Picture Him walking right up behind you, and let him walk right into your body. And let His heart of peace enter your heart. Let there be a merger of hearts of peace. It is an image that can benefit particularly task-oriented people.

Table of Contents:

Eucharist: Gift of Healing Love
Margarett Schlientz

Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless
Rev. Gerald Bednar

First Response to "Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless"
Sr. Theresa Galvan, CND

Second Response to "Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless"
Rev. Robert Stine

Dispelling Desolation: Pastoral Diagnostics for the Spiritual Physician
Kathleen A. Kanavy

Inner Healing: An Essential Prescription for Wholeness
Ronald Novotny

The Healing Presence of the Holy Spirit in Priestly Life and Ministry: Reflections from the Thoughts of John Henry Newman
Rev. Gerald McCarren

Penance: A Sacrament of Healing
Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond

Diocesan Priests as Spiritual Physicians
A Call, a Tool, and an Expertise: The Diocesan Priest as Healer
Rev. Jose Lavastida

‘Spiritual Physician: Living Christ's Own Mission of Healing Love'" A Pastoral Perspective
Rev. Donald Williams.