SCRANTON – September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and to offer healing and to increase awareness about the Church’s mercy and care for those who have died by suicide, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will celebrate a Mass for Suicide Healing and Remembrance on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

During the Mass, those attending will be invited to bring forward a flower in remembrance of those lost to suicide. No registration is necessary and all are welcome.

Those who attended the 2022 Mass for Suicide Healing and Remembrance found it moving and meaningful.

“I look forward to the beautiful Mass for Suicide Healing and Remembrance each year,” Ann Marie McCrone said. “For me, sharing my grief with others who have endured similar losses is therapeutic.”

Deacon Ed Shoener, one of those instrumental in bringing this Mass to our Diocese, shared, “The Mass was profoundly healing for those who are grieving the suicide death of a loved one. Many people said that coming forward with a flower and placing it before the altar and the image of Mary holding Christ was like turning their own grief over to Christ. In a visible way they were able to show that in faith they were entrusting their loved ones to the mercy of Christ.”

Jack O’Malley lost the youngest of his six adult children, his beloved son, Ryan, who died from suicide on Aug. 21, 2011, at the age of 31.

“Our entire family was devastated, crushed,” O’Malley said. “We are a close, loving family and there was tremendous mutual support during that terrible time. We loved as a family and we grieved as a family. Yet, each of us had to cope in our own, unique, personal manner to the cross of suicide.”

While it initially seemed to be a mountain that could not be climbed, O’Malley said each of his family members has developed resources and resilience enabling them to fill the hole in their heart.

“My wife, Helene, and I have been gifted with strong faith and the practice of our Catholic faith has helped us immeasurably in our journey together,” he added. “The Mass is the most wonderful aspect of our faith and the reception of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest gift. We are deeply grateful for the Mass and this Mass in particular is very dear to us.”

To learn more about grieving a loss to Suicide from a Catholic perspective, consider accessing the “When a Loved One Dies by Suicide” film resource at:

Other related worship and liturgy resources to help you observe Suicide Prevention Awareness Month can also be found on the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers website at

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available.

Call or text 988 or chat to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.