Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Today is going to be a heartwarming and at home feeling because we are going to be talking to somebody who, to me, represents the best of who you are. The best of who you can be. His reflections on life are so amazing, so it’s like coming home to yourself.
So, Father Mike and I met a few years ago. He was introduced to me by colleagues at the FBI, working in the Counter-Terrorism Unit. Father quickly captured my interest and my heart because he was about to lead a group of people in a program on leadership.
We started talking about my experience and his experience. Cohesively, we created a program called Psycho-Spiritual Retreat. I’m sure some of you are laughing about that. Father lovingly says, Cathy does the Psycho and I do the Spiritual.
He is the founder of Discover House Ministries. It is a beautiful, beautiful organization. It is in the countryside in New Jersey. It is one of the most beautiful places you will ever be, and that’s why I associate Father Mike with going home. It is just a wonderful place.
Father Mike will tell you about Discovery House and how it was created but Father Mike basically has been a godsend to law enforcement and federal agencies. He actually just retired from the Catholic Archdiocese of Camden, New Jersey.
In 2013, the Philadelphia division of the FBI honored Monsignor Michael Mannion for his efforts to educate youth about the effects of substance abuse and violence, and for his assistance to the local FBI’s community outreach program.
Working for the US Marshalls Service, Father Mannion assisted with the organization’s fugitive-safe-surrender program. Which is amazing, I’m sure we will talk a little bit about that.
This successful program encouraged the cities most violent predators to surrender to Father Mannion and due to his collaborative efforts with law enforcement, they were extremely successful.
Father Mannion often volunteers as a Chaplain, not only for the FBI Philadelphia Division but also to many other communities and law enforcement organizations.
He supports the division’s youth and employee assistance programs, providing information on substance abuse, suicide prevention, grief addiction, and so many more types of behaviors that prevent us from navigating our emotions effectively.
Dr. Relly Nadler: Cathy mentioned you just retired, just give us a quick overview of what your days look like now, sounds like you are still quite active?
Father Mike: Well, the cops call the retirement fake news. We will start with that because I retired from the Archdiocese but I’m still Chaplain to about 8 or 9 police and fire organizations that I teach at the Academy. Which I’ve done for the last 14 years.
So, I just have a little more flexibility because retired from to Archdiocese after 40+ years. I’m enjoying more opportunities to learn from those I seek to serve.
I think that’s the key to recognize that very often you go into a situation and people think you know something about the topic, or the need and you find out that the people know a lot more than I do. My role is to cultivate the trust, so they share their wisdom, their brokenness, their joy and their sorrow. I can try to pull that together, maybe reframe it a bit. So, they can learn from their own wisdom, their own faith, their own stresses and sadness’s but also their joys and triumphs.
So, I look at it that way.
Dr. Relly Nadler: That’s beautiful because that’s really similar to what Cathy and I would talk about in coaching. We are really trying to bring out the gifts and knowledge of others versus somehow being the expert about them. So, really that service part really resonates.
Father Mike: It’s interesting when people welcome you into a room, a thousand miles away, thinking you are the smartest person in the room. Then, by the time the hour is up, I realize I am the least intelligent person in the room.
But hopefully the style of teaching, which is seductive, calling forth from them their own stories, their own experiences and letting them know that if they share them – because I do that at the Academy a lot. I say to the guys, I look at this as a confidential session. That’s just a class you have to check off to be able to graduate and become an officer.
If we trust each other, we will take this class to a depth and an understanding not just of knowledge but of wisdom that won’t come out of the book but will come out of the stories of our lives.
Listen to the entire interview, above.