Converging Roads Medical Conference to discuss the intersection of morality, medicine and health care ethics

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Medical professionals from the Archdiocese of Denver and from across the state are invited to join a regional conference offering continuing education for healthcare professionals which equips them to practice the highest ethical and medical standards of their professions.  

For the first time, the St. John Paul II Foundation, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Denver, Centura Health, and SCL Health, are bringing the Converging Roads Medical Ethics Conference to Denver. The Converging Roads Conference will take place on Saturday April 10, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Risen Christ Catholic Parish. To ensure everyone’s safety and to follow all standard safety protocols, participants will have the option of joining the conference in-person or virtually.  

“So many health care professionals are passionate about their work and care deeply about serving their patients, but many feel besieged by the many evolving cultural and scientific developments,” said Arland K. Nichols, President of the St. John Paul II Foundation. “And all this happens in a rapidly changing environment with respect to medical reporting, laws, and remuneration. They want to serve families and patients well, but they are now confronted with a host of new expectations that they often haven’t had time to think through yet. That’s where we come in, and why we named the conference series Converging Roads, the point where health care ethics and medical advances meet and move forward.” 

With the theme “Ethical Challenges in Health Care: A Practical Approach,” this year’s conference aims to provide continuous education deeply rooted in the Hippocratic and Catholic ethical tradition with various presentations from Catholic leaders and medical experts.  

“We help professionals to understand the issues, and we give them tools to think through the multiplying ethical challenges in a careful and systematic way, “Nichols added. “Families are relying on them to not only know their core practices, but to be able to advise them on the best and most morally sound way forward.”  

This year’s keynote speakers include Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, who will be presenting on the “Rights of Conscience and Religious Liberty in the Midst of Consumer Driven Medicine”; Sarah E. Hetue Hill, PhD, who will be talking about “Proportionate and Disproportionate Care: When Medical Decision-Making is Shared Responsibility”; Paul Hruz, MD, PhD on “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Adults: Science and Ethics,” among others. There will also be a presentation focused on “The Duty to Care When Facing Personal Risk” which will dive into some of the everyday realities that our health care professionals are facing with the ongoing pandemic.   

“Those who actively participate in the conference will leave with a clearer view of the principles that we, as Christians, bring to the art and practice of medicine and how these principles can be applied in their everyday work of healing and counseling,” Nichols said. 

Participants will have the opportunity to earn up to SEVEN credit hours of continuing education for both online and in-person attendees. The conference will conclude with a vigil Mass celebrated by Archbishop Aquila, followed by a reception for those attending in person.  

“I would like to invite and encourage any health care professional who is looking for an enriching and educationally stimulating event, to join us on April 10,” Nichols concluded. “I have no doubt that our expert faculty will provide new and practical ways for you to integrate your faith into your practice of medicine, so that you may be strengthened in this amazing, yet sometimes daunting, task of caring for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.” 

For more information and registration, visit convergingroads.com or email amelia@forlifeandfamily.org.  

COMING UP: From rare books to online resources, archdiocesan library has long history of service to students

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National Library Week, observed this year from April 4 to April 10, is the perfect occasion to highlight the essential role of libraries and library staff in strengthening our communities – and our very own Cardinal Stafford Library at the Archdiocese of Denver is no exception.  

Since 1932, the library has served as a religious, intellectual, and cultural resource for seminarians and students at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.

As the library of the seminary, we are always responsible for the four dimensions of the priestly formation of our seminarians. The library is charged with being responsible to all the divisions of the Seminary: the Lay Division (Catholic Biblical School and Catholic Catechetical School), the Permanent Deacon Formation Division, and the Priestly Formation Division, said Stephen Sweeney, Library Director. 

In addition to being one of the main resources to the seminary, the Cardinal Stafford Library serves the needs of other educational programs in the Archdiocese of Denver, including the St. Francis School for Deacons, the Biblical School, the Catechetical School and the Augustine Institute. While the library is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was previously open to anyone, giving people access to more than 150,000 books, audios, and videos. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library was named after Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican and former Archbishop of Denver from 1986 to 1996. He was a dedicated advocate of the library and of Catholic education.

In 1932, the library was established by two seminarians, Maurice Helmann and Barry Wogan. While they were not the first seminarians to conceive the idea of establishing a library, they are considered the founders for undertaking its organization.  

Since its founding, the library has grown and compiled a fine collection of resources on Catholic theology, Church history, biblical studies, liturgy, canon law, religious art, philosophy, and literature. Special collections include over 500 rare books dating back to the early 16th century and many periodicals dating back to the 1800s. The oldest publication in the library is a book on excommunication published in 1510. The Cardinal Stafford Library is also home to various relics and holds bills personally written by some of those saints.  

Over the past few years, the library has undergone a process of beautification through various renovations that include improvements in lighting, flooring, and even furniture restoration. During these difficult times, libraries are doing their best to adapt to our changing world by expanding their digital resources to reach those who don’t have access to them from home. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library provides a community space; we subscribe to about 200 print journals and have access to literally thousands more through online resources available on campus computers, Sweeney added. “I have been the Library Director for almost 11 years. I absolutely love my work, especially participating in the intellectual formation of the faithful from all of the dioceses we serve”.  

For more information on the Cardinal Stafford Library, visit: sjvdenver.edu/library 

Featured photo by Andrew Wright