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Divorce Support Group Program Begins in Diocese

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The Marriage and Family Ministry of the Diocese of Raleigh and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church will begin offering a Catholic’s Divorce Survival Group program in 2012. The purpose of the program is to minister to Catholics who are separated or going through a civil divorce. The twelve sessions are intended to help participants heal from divorce and deepen their relationship with Christ.

“There are 76 ministries at Our Lady of Lourdes and none of them focus on helping men and women facing separation and divorce,” said Lourdes parishioner Mary Angelini. “I saw a great need in the Diocese and I hope this program helps those who have experienced divorce see that the Catholic Church understands their situations and embraces them.”

The program is different from other divorce care programs because it is based on Catholic teaching. “All too often Catholics feel that because the Church does not recognize civil divorce, it does not recognize the needs and suffering of those who have been divorced. This could not be farther from the truth,” said Fr. David M. Chiantella, Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes. “This ministry provides a place for the divorced to come and to deal with and heal from the brokenness and pain that follow the ending of a relationship.  There is no better place for this to happen than within the arms of a loving and caring faith community.”

In addition to Fr. Chiantella, a team of facilitators, who have experienced and survived divorce and the nullification process, trained last month to lead the healing ministry. 

The participants will receive a personal survival guide to make notes and to journal. The sessions will last two hours and include a video and discussion time. The DVD includes topics such as Getting Your Bearings, Finding Strength and Help, Getting Through Your Anger and Finding Perfect Peace.

According to Fr. Chiantella, the benefits from this support effort will be to achieve a sense of belonging within the Church, skills to cope with the consequences of divorce, and an ongoing support system of friends to continue the journey to healing and recovery.

The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Group begins on January 9, 2012 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. and continues for 12 sessions. The cost is $15. To register, contact Our Lady of Lourdes at 919-861-4600.

To launch the program, Msgr. Jerry Sherba, JCD, PhD, Vicar Judicial for the Diocese of Raleigh will speak on “What Happens When a Marriage Fails?” on Monday, December 5th, 7 p.m., in the Fallon Center at Our Lady of Lourdes, Raleigh. Msgr. Sherba will discuss the Catholic Church’s understanding of marriage, which greatly differs from our culture’s understanding of marriage. He will present Sacramental Marriage from a theological and canonical perspective. All are welcome to attend.