The Diocese of Phoenix held a first-ever “Green Mass” on Sunday at Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral in Phoenix. The Mass, celebrated by Bishop John Dolan, was to thank and pray for mental health professionals from across the valley for their service in helping those in need.

This past December, under Bishop Dolan’s direction, the diocese opened its first-ever office for Mental Health Ministry. The ministry focuses on education, accompaniment of those suffering, and advocacy for better policy and funding.

Addressing an alarming rise in suicides and other mental illnesses across the United States, Bishop Dolan, held a special Mass of Remembrance at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral this past September, which was dedicated to those who have died by suicide — also a first-ever event. Bishop Dolan has personally lost three siblings to suicide, a brother and two sisters.

Why “Green?” The color green signifies new life, new growth and new beginnings.  Green symbolizes the continued awareness of mental health. In 1949, the National Mental Health Association declared May as Mental Health Month.

See photos