Summer Conference Series | Mental Health within Parish Life - Saint John's Seminary
Celebrating 140 Years of Mission!  

Summer Conference Series | Mental Health and the Care of Souls (Including Your Own)

July 20th, 2023

09:00 am


July 20th, 2023

04:30 pm

Saint John's Seminary

Conference Summary

A day-long conference for New England priests entitled “Mental Health and the Care of Souls (Including Your Own)”

Expert speakers will focus on pastoral care and counseling for those who are facing mental health challenges and will discuss the distinction between the roles of priests and trained psychiatrists. We will also look into the challenges of maintaining your own mental health while serving the people of God.

Registration is now open (Priest only event)


Registration fee: $99

Father Thomas F. Nestor


Fr. Nestor was a full-time member of the faculty of Saint John's Seminary where he taught psychology and pastoral counseling. In 2002 he was assigned an additional duty as Delegate of the Archbishop for Pastoral Support of Priests.

Fr. Nestor will speak about the mental-health challenges that priests face in the course of their ministries and tips for navigating them.

Christine M. Williams, Ph.D.


Surveying the Field of Faith and Mental Health

Dr. Williams is a licensed counseling psychologist in Salem, Massachusetts. Her specialty areas of practice include trauma recovery, risk assessment, and the intersection of faith and mental health. Her research and writing also include the topics of men’s mental health and vocational psychology. It has been featured in publications such as Psychology of Men and Masculinity, The Journal of Vocational Behavior, and the Handbook of Family Psychology.

In addition to her psychology practice, Dr. Williams is a member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Catholic parish of Mary Queen of Apostles in Salem, Massachusetts. She oversees MQOA’s small group program and the healing ministry. Following from this work she has been an invited speaker for Divine Renovation, a Catholic ministry dedicated to parish renewal. Dr. Williams also serves as a consultant for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Mario Sacasa, Ph.D.


Sanctifying People: Spiritual Direction and Professional Counseling

This presentation explores the relationship between spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, and professional counseling. Attendees will gain a better understanding of each domain, how they support each other, and when to make referrals in the pastoral setting.

Mario Sacasa, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of the Willwoods Community Faith and Marriage Apostolate. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has been in practice for over 15 years. Integrating the riches of the Catholic faith with sound counseling practice is the aim of his career and influences all his professional endeavors.

Dr. Sacasa is the host of Always Hope, a personal growth podcast that sits at the crossroads of psychology and Catholicism. He travels the country offering lectures on hope, relationships, and mental health issues. He is the creator of two online courses: Dating Well, which helps young adults navigate the current dating scene, and Overcoming Stress and Anxiety, which offers clear guidance for managing stress in life.

Dr. Sacasa is married to his wife of 20 years, Kristin, with whom he shares the joy parenting their four sons.