Health care professionals from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland came together Nov. 6-7 for the fourth Cleveland Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference. The event was sponsored by Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy.
Bishop Nelson Perez celebrated Mass on Nov. 6 at St. Albert the Great Church in North Royalton to open the conference. He told the congregation that we are called to love God above all else, which was the theme of the day’s Gospel.
“We say we love everything from pizza to people, but God must lie at the center of it all,” he said. “All of our decisions must be rooted in that relationship. Our relationship with the Lord is key – front and center in all we do. That’s what really matters.”
Those in the medical profession make sacrifices because they felt a call deep in their hearts to serve the most vulnerable, Bishop Perez said. “People trust in you. They abandon their bodies to you when they are most vulnerable.”
To illustrate his point about being vulnerable, the bishop shared a story about spending two weeks intensive care several years ago. He said relied on the medical professionals who cared for him, essentially surrendering to their expertise.
Things come and go; relationships come and go; but one thing never changes: our relationship with Christ, which will outlast all, the bishop said.
He also reminded the congregation about the importance of time.
“We always say we have no time. But in reality, time is the one thing we all have. It’s what we choose to do with that time that matters,” Bishop Perez reminded the group.
After Mass, he greeted conference attendees and met some of the speakers before the group moved downstairs to the church hall for the first conference sessions.
Dr. Ronald Sobecks, who helped organize the event, noted that this is the fourth year for the Cleveland conference. It was organized by the Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy and through a collaboration of the Ohio Medical Association and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, medical professionals could receive continuing education credits.
Speakers included doctors, nurses and clergy members who discussed topics like patient healing through divine mercy, euthanasia and assisted suicide, health professionals as leaders in spiritual care of patients, love as an animating principle in patient care, conflicts of interest in health care and Catholic bioethics: engaging a secular culture with inspired mercy.