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View photos/watch video from second annual Symposium on Human Life & Dignity

On Thursday, June 26, the diocesan office of pastoral services hosted a two-session Symposium on Human Life and Dignity at Cathedral Square Center in Grand Rapids. This second annual event broken into morning and afternoon sessions focused on two important issues - end of life issues and pastoral response to individuals with mental illness. Details below.

View photos
Watch videos of symposium presentations (YouTube)

Symposium Flyer (English | Español)  


Morning Session - Medical and theological considerations for end of life with Dr. William Passinault
About Dr. Passinault - William J. Passinault, M.D. was born in Marquette, Michigan. He married Mary Susan (Pettersch) and they have six children and 18 grandchildren.  He became a doctor of medicine through Loyola University, Chicago, did his internship and residency in surgery at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Grand Rapids, and his Master of Arts in Ethics and Health Policy at Loyola University. His vast medical experience over the years and his leadership have led him to hold many offices, such as Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Saint Mary’s, Chief of Staff at Saint Mary’s, and Director of General Surgery Residency at Blodgett-Saint Mary’s-MSU-CHM. He currently holds the positions of Medical Director of Saint Mary’s Wound Center, Chairman of the Clinical Ethics Committee at Saint Mary’s, and Associate Clinical Professor at MSU-CHM for second year medical students studying ethics and health policy.



Afternoon Session - Pastoral response to mental illness with Father Bob Malloy, OFM Cap.
About Father Malloy - Bob Malloy just celebrated 50 years as a Capuchin friar.  He was ordained in 1970 and  has been involved in ministry with persons having intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1967.  With an MA in Special Education, he has kept a hand in the ministry for most of those years. Most recently, he redirected his attention to persons with mental illness and gained a foundation in that field during two years in clinical pastoral education at St. Elizabeth Hospital, a large psychiatric facility in Washington, D.C.  He currently works as a chaplain at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit where he has been director of pastoral care since 2004.  Bob has been a member of the NCPD council on mental illness from its beginning in 2006. 


Additional resources
​Resource ​Description
​U.S. Bishops on End of Life ​Prayer resources and information from the USCCB on
assisted suicide, euthanasia, human life & dignity
Guidelines for End of Life Decisions
from the MCC
​Information from the Michigan Catholic Conference,
the official voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan on
matters of public policy
Have you had "The Talk?" ​A series of reports from WXMI FOX17 on having frank
conversations with loved ones about planning end of life decisions
Mental Illness - A Christian Response  An article from American Catholic
Pastoral letter from the New York
State Catholic Bishops
‘For I Am Lonely and Afflicted’: Toward a just response to
the needs of mentally ill persons