2017 NATIONAL CONFERENCE CANCELLATION
Dear Fellow CPA Members, Conference Attendees, and Friends,
It is with heavy hearts on this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows that I share that the Board of Directors of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association has arrived at the tough decision of the cancellation of next week’s conference.
Accepting the cancellation of our conference has been quite hard on all of us, but as you may see below, it is the result of Force Majeure (fully beyond our control).
Today’s decision was not made easily, but was made on factors such as these:
1. Our conference hotel is no longer able to host us due to Hurricane damage and canceled our contract (Force Majeure).
2. Given the storm damage and local disruptions, the Archdiocese of Miami has also decided to cancel their Convocation of Priests which was also scheduled next week. We spoke to the Chancery today and they graciously shared with us the most convincing reasons why they canceled their event; the same factors also apply to CPA.
3. South Florida is in a State of Emergency and has very serious material needs including gas and food shortages. There are many local Catholics still displaced by the Hurricane, including two board members. FEMA is providing food to local people and there are still food lines. While power continues to be restored within the boundaries of the Archdiocese, other key services such as telephone, the internet, and television continue to be sketchy. Today, we also heard about potential periodic water outages. Conditions are such that it is not clear if Holy Mass, even on Sunday, will be able to be offered at all parishes this weekend (Last weekend all Catholics in the Archdiocese were given a special dispensation from their Sunday obligation).
4. There are serious local pastoral needs and the religious who were going to graciously help us with vestments, Sacred Vessels, Altar cloths, and music ministry have notified us that they need to prioritize their time and efforts on the people in such deep need in this devastation. As it is, many of the sisters, including their superior, are still displaced and working on returning to Florida from Lourdes, France without a firm date of return due to flight cancellations.
5. There are significant concerns over possible health ramifications of bringing people into a recovering disaster zone. There are reports of possible contaminants in the water in Florida. We also had members express very prudent worries of mold and mildew in areas with water intrusion.
6. After conducting a few inquiries, we have ongoing concerns about the ability to get in and out (and around) Fort Lauderdale.
Our team has spent hundreds of volunteer hours hoping to provide an amazing experience for all of us to share and are heartbroken that the conference is now canceled.
Please rest assured that someone from our team will continue to send ongoing communications related to all the quite understandable questions that you may have about refunds, cancellations, etc. However, we also ask that you provide our conference team about 10 business days to work on the details, as our conference planner (Michelle Dunsford) also suffered damage during the storm. Even so, Michelle is working to discover what documentation you may need that could help to process cancellations with airlines and/or your travel insurance. She is also working to try to obtain a letter that confirms that the hotel announced today they are closed indefinitely due to storm damage. The hotel itself will be processing refunds within the next 10 days.
In closing, while the reasons for this turn of events is still out of our understanding, we rest in the hope, peace, and assurance in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us turn to them for comfort and intercession for those who are suffering so deeply at this time from the effects of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
Carlos C Gomez, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors & 2017 President
Catholic Psychotherapy Association