Fr. Jacob Meyer, Pastor of St. Monica's parish in Mishawaka, IN, explains the most pressing need of our diocesan parishes and schools--professional mental health services delivered by Catholic Charities, and how the Hope to Healing Initiative can help.
In 2015, we were startled by the great need we uncovered for a trustworthy Catholic resource for professional counseling. To meet the many needs of our parish priests and Catholic schools personnel, we are undertaking our Hope to Healing capital campaign.
Catholic Charities is uniquely qualified with expertise in both mental-health services and Catholic teaching. We are the arm of the Church that is called upon to respond to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.
"Many of our family members, friends, or colleagues will encounter mental-health challenges at some point," says Hope to Healing co-chair Helen Nill. "So a sustainable counseling program is vital to creating a more mentally healthy diocese."
We have started by hiring a clinical liaison to help parishioners navigate the mental-health system. In South Bend, we have also hired a therapist who is serving the students and families of three Catholic schools. However, there is much more we need to do.
Parishes - Many of our priests tell us their most important need is for trustworthy professional counselors. They see many families and individuals every week whose needs exceed their time or professional expertise.
Schools - There are times when there are deep-seeded emotional or psychological issues coming from 13,668 students that are beyond our Catholic educators professional capabilities.
Human Trafficking Victims - There is a nationwide epidemic of sex and labor trafficking, and our diocese is no exception. Starting in late 2017, we will help freed victims deal with the trauma of their captivity and adjustment back into the community.
Community - Our ambition is to eventually take our Catholic perspective and professional counseling services to the broader community. There are 1.2 million people in our diocese