Pope Francis calls on the Catholic Church to "pray that people who suffer from depression or burnout will find support and a light that opens them up to life" in his prayer intention for the month of November. The Holy Father requested these prayers in a Pope Video via the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network, made with the guidance and support of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers. The President of the Association, Deacon Ed Shoener, was inspired to join with other dedicated people to establish the Association after his daughter Katie died by suicide in 2016 after a long battle with bipolar disorder. Together with the ministry's chaplain, Bishop John Dolan of the Diocese of San Diego, the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers has guided parishes through the process of creating a mental health ministry to provide spiritual support to those struggling with mental health issues, for their families, and for the entire parish community.
Visit the Pope Video Website
Meet the President & Chaplain
Dcn. Ed Shoener
Diocese of Scranton, PA
Ed Shoener was ordained a permanent deacon in 2004 and serves at St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Scranton. Shoener is a founding member of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers and the Catholic Institute of Mental Health Ministry at the University of San Diego. He serves on the Council on Mental Illness of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability and on the Board of Pathways to Promise, an interfaith cooperative that facilitates the faith community’s work in reaching out to those with mental illnesses and their families. Deacon Shoener, along with Bishop John Dolan, is coauthor of the books Responding to Suicide: A Pastoral Handbook for Catholic Leaders and When a Loved One Dies by Suicide (Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN).
He, along with family and friends, founded “The Katie Foundation” after his daughter, Kathleen, died by suicide in 2016. Katie’s obituary went viral because it spoke to the needs and concerns of people who live with mental illness. He lives with his family in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Bishop John Dolan
Diocese of San Diego, CA
John P. Dolan is a native of San Diego, Ca where he was ordained a diocesan priest in 1989 and an Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of San Diego in 2017. Bishop Dolan is member of various social outreach boards; including Father Joe’s Village, Catholic Institute for Mental Health at the University of San Diego, American Haitian Foundation, Lost Boys of Sudan, and a supporting member for Survivors of Suicide Loss – San Diego. Bishop Dolan, along with Deacon Ed Shoener, is coauthor of the books Responding to Suicide: A Pastoral Handbook for Catholic Leaders and When a Loved One Dies by Suicide (Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN).
He serves as Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Clergy at the Pastoral Center, assisting Bishop Robert McElroy in administering the diocese and overseeing the assignment of priests and clergy at 98 parishes.
Sample Interview Questions
- When was the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers formed, and can you tell our audience more about its genesis?
- How did the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers catch the attention of the Holy Father for inclusion in this month's Pope Video?
- What does it mean to you personally to know that the Church is making a special effort this month to accompany and pray for those affected by mental illness?
- Given the alarming statistics on mental health, particularly since Covid-19, how does your ministry begin to meet such a great need?
- Where can people go to get involved with the Association of Catholic Health Ministers or access your resources?
To request an interview with Deacon Ed Shoener or Bishop John Dolan, contact Carrie Kline at email@example.com