Finding the Light: Panel to Examine Faith and Mental Health During COVID  

Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology (ICSST) and the Archdiocese of Newark will host "A Light in the Darkness," a virtual panel discussion on how parish and Catholic school leaders can help people cope with mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The session will be offered on two different dates: Tuesday, February 15 from 1-2 p.m. or Wednesday, February 16 from 7-8 p.m.

"A Light in the Darkness" brings together Patrick Manning, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Pastoral Theology at ICSST; Keaton Douglas, M.A., Executive Director of the iTHIRST Initiative; and Danielle Heitmann, L.C.S.W., M.S.W., M.A., a clinical social worker who provides individual and family therapy to children, adolescents, and adults.

Together, they will speak from a faith perspective and share insights into the challenges faced by Catholics during the pandemic as well as practical resources and strategies for dealing with anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicidal ideation in the context of Catholic schools and parishes. A moderated Q&A with the audience will follow.

"The pandemic continues to impact our communities – and ourselves as individuals – in a way never seen before. 'A Light in the Darkness' gives us the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of the last few years and seek solutions to help those battling with their mental health during this difficult time," said Manning. "The discussion will offer a deeper look at the role of ministry and how we can spiritually support and guide communities through methods rooted in the Catholic tradition and faith."

Anyone who interacts with others in their ministry, who is concerned about someone suffering from addiction and/or poor mental health, or who suffers in this way themselves are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Advance registration is required, with additional information on the panelists below. For more information or to register, please click here »

The event is co-sponsored by ICSST and the Archdiocese of Newark Secretariat for Parish Mission and Vitality, Catechetical Office, Catholic Schools Office and Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

About the Panelists

Keaton douglass x222Keaton Douglas, M.A.
Keaton Douglas, the Executive Director of the iTHIRST Initiative, a Mission of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, is a consultant, educator, counselor, and frequent guest speaker in the field of addiction and recovery, particularly as it pertains to the interface of Catholic spirituality and recovery. Keaton is also a regular contributor for Relevant Radio, where she discusses issues on forgiveness, healing, and addiction. She works with various treatment facilities throughout the state of New Jersey, sowing the seeds of spirituality as a necessary dimension of wellness, and is very clearly on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. Keaton is currently writing a book for Our Sunday Visitor tentatively entitled Quenching His Thirst: Amplifying the Voice of the Church in the Opioid Crisis. Keaton holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., and an M.A. in Theology from the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University. She is also a Connecticut Community Addiction Recovery (CCAR) Recovery Coach.

danielle heitmann x222Danielle Heitmann, L.C.S.W., M.S.W., M.A.
Danielle Heitmann is a clinical social worker who provides individual and family therapy to children, adolescents and adults in a group practice in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. She brings an integration of mind, body and spirit to her approach, informed by Catholic spirituality, the psychological and social sciences, as well as insights learned from her Master Degree in Theology and Ministry from Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. Touched by many experiences of God’s goodness, and in conversation with wise and skillful others, Danielle values bringing a spirit of real love and deep listening to those with whom she meets, ultimately seeking to help people to find meaning and transformation in suffering and to embody flourishing. She believes people are always more than their problems.

Patrick ManningPatrick Manning, Ph.D.
Patrick Manning, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University. With a background in parish catechesis and Catholic schools, Manning’s work focuses in the areas of religious education and catechesis, spirituality, and contemplative practices and pedagogy. In addition to chairing the Department of Pastoral Theology at ICSST, Manning leads Seton Hall’s Contemplative Community Initiative, which aspires to help faculty, students, and staff to nurture depth, wholeness, and connectedness in their lives in and beyond the university. He is the author of Converting the Imagination: Teaching to Recover Jesus' Vision for Fullness of Life (Wipf & Stock) as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles.

Categories: Education, Faith and Service