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Pastoral Navigators Program

Who are Pastoral Navigators?

Pastoral Navigators are Priests, Deacons, Lay Pastoral Parish Staff and Volunteers, Catholic Charities Staff members and Staff from the Diocesan School System.


What do they do?

1. Pastoral Navigators meet with individuals in their parishes, schools, agencies or community who are “hurting” emotionally due to the presence of either a mental health disorders, substance use disorder, addiction to sexually explicit activities, having difficulty with their children, their marriages or relationships, and are seeking answers on how to change the current situation they are finding themselves in.


2. Pastoral Navigators are knowledgeable of the public and private community mental health and substance use disorder treatment agencies in their local communities to whom they can make a warm handoff for treatment of those individuals who do no health insurance or who cannot afford private counseling services even if they were offered on a sliding scale.


3. Pastoral Navigators have a working relationship with those members of the Behavioral Health Project’s Behavioral Health Counseling Network who live and work in their local communities so that they can make a warm handoff of individuals who have come to them who have insurance and can afford to obtain counseling services from counselors in private practice.


4. Pastoral Navigators work as “wrap around” agents who keep up with the progress of those individuals they have made warm handoffs to either public/private agencies or Behavioral Health Counseling Network practitioners. They do this by having the individuals they refer fill out an informed consent so that the treatment program or counselor can give feedback on the progress of the person referred. This enables the Pastoral Navigators to continue contact with the referred individual to ensure that the needs of the individual have been successfully met and that whatever follow up services or efforts that are required are provided to the individual.


5. Pastoral Navigators actively recruit and train volunteers in their respective parish settings to join the Pastoral Navigator ranks so as to expand the availability of these helpers in their parishes, communities and diocese.

How are individuals referred to Pastoral Navigators?

1 Parish Priests and other Parish Pastoral Staff and/volunteers can refer individuals to the designated Pastoral Navigators in their respective parish or community.


2. Individuals can self-refer themselves to the Pastoral Navigators whose contact information is prominently available in local parish bulletins, newsletters and websites.


3. Family members or friends can refer individuals to the Pastoral Navigators and are willing to accompany the individuals for the initial meeting with the Pastoral Navigators.

What is the Training and Continuing Education of Pastoral Navigators

For individuals who want to become a Pastoral Navigators and be identified as such they must:

1. Participate in an Initial Orientation Program either conducted by the Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Project Program or by a local Pastoral Navigatorwho is recognized as an approved trainer.


2. Attend a monthly 2 to 3 hour workshop on various issues confronted by Pastoral Navigators so as to continuously improve their therapeutic intervention skills


3. As needed attend as needed one of the Weekly Case Consultation Telephone Conference Calls conducted by the Project Director of the Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Project to better problem solve ways to effectively and appropriately respond to the issues which individuals bring to them and to become better acquainted with the referral resources in and outside of the diocese. 

Directions for the Pastoral Navigator Case Consultation Telephone Conference:

Dial 712-432-3900 and use Conference Access Code: 436345#

Potential Topics for Pastoral Navigators in the Diocese of St Petersburg

1. Psychological First Aid: the components of effective emotional support for individuals who present with trauma resulting from natural or man-made disasters based on material available at:

2. Identification and Intervention with individuals who are contemplating suicide or are have suicidal ideation based on materials at: along with the identification of existing Community Resources to which parishioners, clients, or students and their families can be referred to including two major resources: The Behavioral Health Counseling Network at: and the Community Referral Resources at:

3. Identification and Intervention with individuals who are suffering from opioid and/or heroin/ fentanyl addiction and based on information from: and the identification of existing Community Resources to which they can be referred

4. Improving Communication Skills when being Present with People in Need based on Tools for Communications at:

5. Motivational Interviewing: How to assist individuals to decide on their own that they need to change out of their unhealthy behaviors, thinking and emotions based on material available at:

6. How to conduct a 12 Step Program for people who are dealing with recovering from their addictions utilizing the Victorious Living Program: A 12 Step Program of Recovery, Based on the SEAs 12 Step Program at:
The identification and interventions needed with specific mental health disorders using the 

7. Evidenced Based Practices Used in Treating Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders based on the online book at as an outline

8. Assessment tools for Pastoral First Responders to use with individuals they are working with to assess how real and to what extent their mental health needs are. Using the free and accessible assessments listed at:

9. Understanding the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Factors and the crucial part they have in the long-term mental health of individuals and how to assess for them as well as how to assess for protective factors which people can build on to grow in resilience based on information available at:

10. Telehealth Apps to be used by Pastoral First Responders to assist individual to utilize these resources to deal with the issues they are currently confronting based on the materials available at:

11. Holistic Approaches to be used by Pastoral First Responders when working with people in need  in their settings  based on material available at:

12. What are Pastoral Wrap Around Services which are an effective means to help individuals work through their issues with the treatment personnel they have been referred to by their Pastoral First Responders

13. What are the needs of people who live in our Diocese:Such as: Active Military and Veterans; Senior Citizens, Adolescents, Single Adults, Engaged Couples, Married Couples Families etc.

14. Co-occurring Disorders and how  Pastoral First Responder can adequately address the needs of people suffering with these issues based on material available at:

15. Dealing with Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders: What can Pastoral First Responders do when being confronted with individuals who have substance abuse disorders and other addiction issues and what steps can be done on the parish level to address these issues based on materials Alcohol and Substance Use Disorrders at:
16. Marital Enrichment Programs in local parishes based on materials from Marriage Work-Out at:  and Tools for Relationships at:

17. Coping with Grief and Loss  Programs in local parishes based on materials from Tools for Handling Loss at:

18. Parenting Programs in local parishes based on Pathfinders Parenting: Tools for Raising Responsible Children at:

19. Maintaining Health Life Styles programs in local parishes based on Tools for a Balanced Lifestyle: A Manual for a Guilt Free System of Healthy Living at: 

20. Meeting the needs of families and their active or retired military members programs in local parishes based on materials from Focus on the Military and their Families at: 

21. Coping with Trauma programs in local parishes based on Psychological First Aid for Traumatic Events at

22. Helping Parents and Caregivers of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities or other Chronic Health and Mental Health Conditions based on materials from Tools for Parents of Children with Special Needs at: 

23. Helping Individuals who are coping with issues of Sexuality such as Giving up Pornography, or  Sexual Addiction or Sexual Acting Out based on materials from SEA's Lifestyle Tools at

24. Helping Individuals improve their personal development in local parishes based on materials from Tools for Personal Growth at:
Helping Individuals in controlling their anger based on materials from Tools for Anger Work-Out at: