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Third Option Marriage Program Expands

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The Diocesan Office of Marriage and Family is expanding the Third Option program to the Fayetteville Deanery at St. Patrick Catholic Church. The program is currently offered in Raleigh at St. Francis of Assisi.

Third Option is a skills-based group program that helps married couples build stronger, more fulfilling marriages. While not a counseling program, it combines skill building and mentor sharing to provide ongoing support. Facilitated by trained volunteers, it comprises 15 stand-alone sessions. Couples can start at any time in the process.

“Marriage reflects the image and likeness of God,” said Beth O’Leary, Coordinator of Family Life Ministry at St. Patrick. “Offering programs such as Third Option is a great resource to strengthen and reinforce marital love for our parishioners.”

The program was conceived by Patricia Ennis, who had a friend going through a divorce in the 1980’s. Her friend’s experience led her to think the about the two options available to struggling couples: counseling or divorce. She realized that couples also need hope and help. Ms. Ennis, who has a Masters in Social Work from Syracuse University, began working on the skill-building workshops, and The Third Option was born.

The Third Option has programs throughout the United States and in the Bahamas. In the Diocese of Raleigh, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick Catholic Church host sessions twice a month.

Upcoming sessions from 7pm-9pm at St. Patrick are:

  • March 21
  • April 4 and April 11
  • May 2 and May 16
  • June 6 and June 20
  • July 11 and July 25
  • August 8 and August 22
  • September 12 and September 26
  • October 10 and October 24
  • November 7 and November 21
  • December 5 and December 19
  • January 2, 16 and 30, 2012

St. Patrick’s Third Option group meets at the school at 1620 Marlborough Road. Child care is provided.

For more information, contact Linda Bedo at 919-821-9753, or visit the Diocese of Raleigh's Marriage and Family web page or http://www.thethirdoption.com/.