Thursday, April 11, 2013

Aux. Bp. John of Worcester: pastoral challenges in marriage

( - On February 7-9, 2013, Orthodox Christian mental health professionals, clergy, professors, lay ministers and seminarians gathered on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology for a conference entitled "Pastoral Challenges in Marriage: O God, Replenish Their Life with All Good Things." Sponsored by the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the conference tackled some of the most serious pastoral challenges in marriage facing the Church today. The Right Rev. Bishop John Abdalah, auxiliary for the Antiochian Diocese of Worcester and New England, offered this first keynote address on Thursday morning entitled "Marriage: An Opportunity for Spiritual Growth and Discovering the Living God." His Grace holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and has worked as pastoral counselor and therapist for 30 years.

Undeterred by one of the biggest snowstorms to hit Boston in over thirty years, the participants built bonds of friendship over the course of three days. Because of the snow, the schedule of keynote addresses and workshops needed to be adjusted on each day of the conference. On the second day, when the governor of Massachusetts called for the closing of all roads in the midst of the storm, the attendees relocated to a local hotel and continued whatever presentations, workshops, and discussions they could; unable to return home on Saturday, the participants extended their stay and discussions and held Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy in the hotel!

Other presenters included: Dr. Ary Christofidis, licensed clinical psychologist and the founder of the Orthodox Christian Counseling Institute of Chicago; Paulette Geanocopoulos, LMSW; Dr. Albert Rossi, adjunct professor of Pastoral Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary; George Papageorge, MA, LMFT; and Presbytera Kerry Pappas, MA, LMFT.

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