Appeal puts psychology at the service of the Church

From helping wounded families, to aiding post-abortive women and men, Regina Caeli Clinical Services extends the healing ministry of Jesus Christ by bringing psychology to the service of the Church.

Established four years ago under Catholic Charities, Regina Caeli Clinical Services (RCCS) is one of nearly 40 ministries aided by the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal.

“RCCS was created as a response to the expressed needs of priests, deacons and Catholic school administrators,” explained 25-year psychologist Kathryn Benes, director of clinical services. “(People) needed to have access to psychological services that are both affordable and enlightened by the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

While services are available to anyone regardless of religious affiliation, RCCS therapists adhere to Catholic doctrine and moral teaching in their practice.

“About 95 percent of our clients are fellow Catholics,” Benes said. “Approximately 86 percent of the people who come to us are referred by their priest, deacon, or other Catholic entity.”

RCCS provides services to individuals, families, adolescents and children, as well as post-abortion care and counseling through Project Rachel, and services to Catholic schools.

Fifteen people, including four licensed psychologists, six master-level therapists, three doctoral interns and one registered therapist, staff RCCS. While the main clinic is located in Littleton, satellite clinics are in Loveland, Northglenn, Fort Collins and the University of Colorado in Boulder. Additionally, counseling is provided at nine Catholic elementary schools.

“Crisis mental health services are available to all schools with the Archdiocese of Denver,” Benes said, adding that RCCS also provides psychological assessments for seminarians and women religious candidates discerning a religious vocation.

At a time when the family is under attack, RCCS is especially proud of its services to couples and children.

“Married couples and children are the heart of the Church,” Benes said. “When they are hurting, the Church is hurting. By helping to strengthen families in need, we are helping to strengthen the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community, as well as the greater social order.”

Not only is RCCS providing professional counseling that is in keeping with Church teaching, but through its doctoral internship training site in the archdiocese, it is producing graduates who then go out and evangelize through the mental health profession. This effort aims to fix a “broken” mental health care system, Benes said.

“This objective, to form outstanding mental health professionals from a Catholic understanding of the human person, along with the objective to provide clients with excellent Catholic community-based mental health services, fills an important need that is present in Colorado and throughout the U.S.,” she said. “To Catholic Charities’ knowledge, there are only three such Catholic community mental health internship training sites in the United States.”

While fees at RCCS are competitive with other mental health providers in Colorado, approximately 80 percent of the clients receive significant grant assistance. Clients who choose to use insurance are also accommodated.

“Without grant assistance, most of the clients seen at RCCS would not be able to receive any type of mental health services,” Benes said. “No client is turned away because of their inability to pay.”

The commitment to provide services to clients regardless of their ability to pay means Regina Caeli Clinical Services needs to raise more than $1 million a year to cover operating expenses.

“The bottom line is simple,” Benes said, “RCCS couldn’t keep its doors open and provide mental health services to those in need if it were not for the generosity of … donors.

“The very idea,” declared Benes, “that we exist to service our community in a time when resources are limited in Colorado is our success story.”

> For more about Regina Caeli Clinical Services, visit www.RCCSDenver.org  or call 720-377-1359

> To donate to the 2015 Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal, visit www.archden.org/donate

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MORE ABOUT CATHOLIC CHARITIES

www.ccdenver.org | 303-742-0828

As the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Denver, Catholic Charities serves 50,000 people in need a year throughout northern Colorado. Headquartered in Denver, it has regional offices in Glenwood Springs, Greeley and Fort Collins. Services include:

Adoption – services to birth parents, adoptive families and individuals involved in past adoption.

Child care – six child-care centers in the Denver metro area including early childhood education for infants to preschool and educational services to parents.

Counseling – Regina Caeli Clinical Services offers individual, family, marriage, school-based and outpatient counseling services, including post-abortion care and counseling.

Emergency assistance – one-time aid to families and individuals who can prove a state of emergency.

Foster care – equips and supports foster families caring for children in out-of-home placements and offers a foster-adopt program.

Homeless shelters – provide homeless individuals and families with safe shelter, warm clothing, food and supportive services that aim to help them become self-reliant.

Housing – as an affiliate of Catholic Charities, Archdiocesan Housing provides affordable, service-enriched housing for seniors, families and disabled persons, as well as farm labor housing.

Immigration services – direct legal assistance and public education to persons with valid legal claims to status in the United States.

Lighthouse Women’s Center – a licensed medical center dedicated to helping women make important decisions about their reproductive health.

Pregnancy counseling – guidance to individuals, couples and families facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Relatives raising children (kinship care) – support groups, material assistance and referrals for relatives acting as primary caregivers.

Senior services – help older adults maintain safe, quality independent living via benefit assistance, case management and referrals, chronic disease management, and the Mulroy Senior Center in Denver.

Victim assistance – aid to families and individuals who are victims of crime referred through the District Attorney office in metro Denver and Weld County.

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash