WASHINGTON, D.C.— Saint Luke Institute, an independent Catholic treatment center for clergy and religious, held its first-ever Virtual Benefit on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, hosted the event on video due to the social distancing guidelines mandated by the City of Washington, D.C., because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, the annual benefit is held in person at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington.
During the 45-minute virtual benefit, Archbishop Pierre welcomed participants, offered prayers, and shared the spotlight with bishops, clergy, and others involved in the psychological screening and treatment of priests, sisters, nuns, and others active in Catholic institutions. The event was highlighted by conferral of the Saint Luke Award to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, on behalf of the chaplains he leads.
Archbishop Broglio oversees pastoral care for 1.8 million Catholics serving worldwide in the U.S. Military, receiving health care at VA hospitals, working for the federal government beyond U.S. borders, and the families of these populations. Hundreds of priests serve under Archbishop Broglio’s watch, including more than 200 active-duty chaplains in all service branches.
In accepting the award, Archbishop Broglio thanked Saint Luke Institute for its ministry. He said, “I am grateful for all Saint Luke Institute does to restore priests and religious to their ministry, to help men and women resolve difficulties, fill lacunae in their development, and address challenges that have surfaced. In more than one instance, the intervention of the Institute staff has enabled a priest serving in the Archdiocese to be able to return to his ministry. That intervention was priceless and enabled effective ministry to hundreds of others.”
The President and CEO of Saint Luke Institute, Reverend David Songy, O.F.M.Cap., S.T.D., Psy.D., spoke of Archbishop Broglio’s many accomplishments and the long thread of service to others that has marked his priestly and episcopal vocation. He remarked, “Archbishop Broglio knows his chaplains and cares about their well-being. He understands the sacrifices they make for God and for this country. As priests, we are called to this deep service. But military chaplains put it all on the line, so he gives all he can to support them.”
The Silver Spring, Maryland-based non-profit has served Catholic clergy and religious for more than 40 years. Programs include screening for candidates for the priesthood and religious life; outpatient, residential, and continuing care treatment for mental health concerns; and ongoing formation in healthy life and ministry.
“Many people don’t realize that priests and religious struggle, like everyone else, with depression, stress, burnout, addiction, and other mental health issues. The pressures of ministry and, in many cases, isolation can amplify these problems. At Saint Luke Institute, we specialize in understanding the demands and requirements of ministry. Our focus is helping the men and women who come to us gain or re-gain a healthy life so they can continue to serve in parishes and other ministries,” Father Songy said.
The annual Benefit for Saint Luke Institute raises funds to support its special ministry, invites prayers for its success, and each year honors an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting mental, physical, and spiritual health for priests and religious—individuals such as Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio.