Diocese of Phoenix to make history with a special mass – ABC15 Arizona in Phoenix

PHOENIX — For the first time ever, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will be holding a mass of remembrance for those who have died by suicide.
It will take place on September 4th, at Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral and will start promptly at 9 a.m. Location: 6351 N 27th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85017
Bishop John P. Dolan says it’s about time the community starts talking about mental health.
He hopes that by sharing his experiences with loss it will inspire others to open up, and together they can heal as a community.
The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about mental health.
Bishop Dolan shared a personal message on the Diocese YouTube page which he states, “I was in eighth grade when my brother Tom died by suicide. And that created such a terrible wake of grief within the family.”
Grief that was intensified a short time later.
“My sister Therese also died by suicide when I was in the seminary. And we were absolutely devastated as a family because we were waiting for my sister Therese to come for Thanksgiving,” he added.
Though, she never showed up. “My sister Therese died the day before,” said Bishop Dolan.
So with a heavy heart and confusion, Bishop Dolan said he turned to God because, “You just didn’t talk about it. That was in the 70s. You didn’t talk about this reality. But when my younger sister was looking at the possibility of death, premature death. That really hit me hard because I loved her. I do. I still do and thankfully she is a survivor,” he said.
That day, something within him changed.
“I said from then on I will not, not talk about this. I have to talk about this.”
So that’s exactly what he did, and he also got help.
Now he wants to help families who feel they can’t talk about their loss.
The first step to this all is having a mass of remembrance.
“It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a prayerful thing for these families,” Martha Medina told ABC15.
Medina is a devoted Catholic who says initially when the diocese made the announcement, they were only expecting 200 to 300 names.
They have since gotten hundreds more.
“It’s amazing how many people have been through this, and nobody really said anything. All these people need to feel that they’re not alone,” she told ABC15.
“If you feel shame or even guilt for the loss of a loved one by suicide. If this is a reality in your life. I want you to know that the church is here for you,” Bishop Dolan said in the YouTube video.
Here are Bishop Dolan’s hopes for the mass…
“We’re going gather at 9 o’clock to offer our prayers and ask the lord to hold those who have gone before us because of suicide loss…hold them in the palm of our hand,” he said.
The deadline to add a name is Friday, September 4, 2022.
988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7.
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