The Church, The Healing Community

Informing the Church's response to the mental health crisis

Webinar discussion on Thursday, May 4, 2023 | 12:00–1:15 P.M. ET

View recording


"In the Church, the healing community, the necessary professional psycho-social support cannot be overlooked; however, also in this field, the primary type of care is the diakonia of love, that can be practiced by all those who feel called by the Lord." 
-Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development, 2020


In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development called upon the Church to live out its call as a healing community. Today, when one in five Americans lives with mental illness, and one in three report serious loneliness, what does it mean for the Church to be a healing community?

Sponsored by the Fiat Program on Faith and Mental Health, this panel considers how the Church can better accompany persons and families living with the experience of mental illness. Drawing from the wisdom of theology, neuroscience, and the practice of pastoral care, our panelists discuss how priests, lay ministers, and all people can strengthen a culture of belonging that both reflects and participates in our sacramental communion within the Body of Christ.

Panelists Include:

Sofia Carozza

Sofia Carozza, M.Phil., is a Marshall Scholar at the University of Cambridge, where she is pursuing a PhD at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. In her research, Carozza utilizes computational modeling and network science to study the impact of early adversity on child development. She completed undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated as the valedictorian of the class of 2019, and has an MPhil in basic and translational neuroscience from the University of Cambridge.



Damani Jones

Louis Damani Jones, M.S.W., is a behavioral health therapist with SSM Health in the St. Louis area. He is also a research assistant with the CatholicPsych Institute. His clinical experience involves community-based settings, inpatient psychiatric settings, and psychological consults for emergency departments. He holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in clinical mental health from Washington University in St. Louis. He has previous experience in Catholic non-profit consulting, community development, and social services. He serves on the board of directors for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Vagabond Missions, and the Before Gethsemane Initiative.


Lenny Delorenzo

Leonard J. DeLorenzo, Ph.D., is the director of undergraduate studies at the McGrath Institute for Church Life where he also serves as academic director for Notre Dame Vision, directs the Sullivan Family Saints Initiative, and hosts the popular radio show and podcast Church Life Today. He holds a concurrent teaching appointment in the Department of Theology. He is the author of eight books, including most recently Our Faithful Departed: Where They Are and Why It Matters (Ave Maria, 2022) and Turn to the Lord: Forming Disciples for Lifelong Conversion (Liturgical Press, 2021). A member of the McGrath Institute for Church Life since 2003, he has served on the leadership teams for Notre Dame Vision, Notre Dame Catechist Academy, Notre Dame Character Project, Echo, and the Church Life Internship, which he founded in 2016. He speaks regularly in academic and pastoral settings on the saints, biblical catechesis, discernment, and the theological imagination, among other topics