Dr. Somers to receive Sister Siena Finley Ethics Award from Ethics Institute of NEPA

Highlander Staff Reports

The Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania  will recognize Christine Somers, D.Min., M.S.W., director of Campus Ministry, with the 2014 Sister Siena Finley, RSM Ethics Award at the 23rd annual Ethics Institute Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 30 at the Henry Student Center, Ballroom, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

“Dr. Somers has introduced hundreds, if not a couple thousand, Misericordia University students and families to service opportunities that promote solidarity, compassion and a commitment to justice during her 14 years of service,’’ said Joseph Curran, Ph.D., executive director of the Ethics Institute at Misericordia University. “She has provided countless opportunities for Misericordia students to learn and live the University’s tenets of Mercy, Service, Justice and Hospitality through service opportunities in the region, across the country and abroad. Many of the programs and guest speakers she has organized for Campus Ministry focus on important ethical issues, including social justice and service to the marginalized.”

“Chris has helped to transform the world into a better place by forming one thoughtful and compassionate person at a time,’’ Curran added.

Somers holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work from Marywood University, Scranton, Pa., and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from The Graduate Theological Foundation, Mishawaka, Ind. She also has a certificate in spiritual direction from the University of Scranton’s Contemporary Spirituality Institute. She teaches several service-learning courses that take students to Guyana and Jamaica to perform service.

A native of Scranton, Pa.,  Somers oversees programs and ministries that originate out of Campus Ministry, such as spiritual and service programs, social justice initiatives, community outreach, international service trips, liturgy, pastoral counseling, and spiritual direction. She also coordinates spring break service trips that take students on missions to underserved populations across the country.

Somers worked in the social service field at Lourdesmont Family Services, Clarks Summit, Pa.; Catherine McAuley House, Scranton, Pa., and at the Scranton Counseling Center where she served as a home-based family therapist. Upon completion of her Master’s degree and licensure, she joined Advanced Community Service Associates, Scranton, as an outpatient and family therapist.

In the Diocese of Scranton, Somers was involved in the early stages of Young Adult Ministry and later worked at youth and young adult retreats and women’s retreats at Fatima Center, Dalton, Pa. During that time, she accompanied many youths and young adults from the Diocese to Belgium, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Haiti, Israel and Italy on World Youth Day pilgrimages and service trips.

Somers served on the board of directors of the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen and the Peace and Justice Center, both of Wilkes-Barre, and has been a Mercy Associate for 10 years.

Past recipients of the award include Michael J. Hanley, M.P.A., executive director of United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly, M.S.W., V.E., executive director of Catholic Social Services and St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen; Sisters Margaret Gannon, IHM, Ph.D., and Anne Paye, RSM, Ph.D.; “the People of Luzerne County who strive for an ethical community,” the Migrant Education Program of Hazleton and Scranton, the Commission on Economic Opportunity, the late state Sen. Charles Lemmond, Michael Insalaco and Sandy Insalaco Sr., the Children’s Service Center, Rev. Thomas J. O’Hara, CSC, St. Joseph’s Center, Harold and Sallyanne Rosenn, Habitat for Humanity, Thomas Pugh, Sister Adrian Barrett, IHM, and Sister Lucille Brislin, RSM, Buddy Rothstein, Tom Bigler, Sister Siena Finley, RSM, Allan Kluger, and Rodrigo “Rod’’ Gereda, Interfaith Resource Center for Peace and Justice.

The Ethics Institute was established in 1987 by Sister Siena Finley, RSM, and a group of community professionals and leaders from the Wyoming Valley who wished to foster more dialogue on ethical issues affecting the region. It is an institute directed by 15 regional leaders and educators who are committed to the discussion of ethical issues both theoretical and practical. The Institute encourages responsible ethical action through informed rational deliberation, and it facilitates the process in the academic community as well as in the community at large through special workshops and forums.

Tickets for the dinner are $40 per person and can be purchased by calling (570) 674-6201. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will follow at 6:15 p.m. The money raised from the dinner and program help to support programming by the Ethics Institute.