A Workshop for Catholics Who Want to Marry -- Again
The Marriage and Family Ministry of the Diocese of Raleigh offers a one-day workshop for divorced or widowed couples seeking remarriage in the Catholic Church. The workshops are held quarterly throughout the Diocese depending on where the majority of registrants are located. The most recent session was held at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary.
The Remarriage workshop is similar to the traditional Marriage Preparation Workshop but focuses on topics unique to remarriage. “We are pleased to be offering a program specifically geared toward couples who have been divorced or widowed,” said Mary DiSano, Coordinator of Marriage Preparation Programs.
Monsignor Jerry M. Sherba, JCD, PhD, opened the Cary workshop with a prayer and gave a presentation on the meaning of the Sacrament of Matrimony, followed by a question and answer session. Msgr. Sherba explained the importance of nourishing the marriage relationship and working to build a union that will endure.
The workshops provide couples the opportunity to explore issues such as blending families, step-parenting and combining finances. “Couples attending these workshops are here because they’re putting God at the center of their marriage,” said Gary Southerland, workshop leader. “That’s the theme that runs through the whole day.”
The workshop provides couples with the skills necessary to respect and support one another and the family. It helps couples understand how God fits in to their daily lives and their marriage “and to realize that the reason you’re getting married a second time is because God is giving you that opportunity,” said Southerland.
“To me, going through marriage a second time was all about lessons learned,” said Ron Weiger, a former participant. “One of the things I really liked about the workshop was that I expected it to be a lot of exercises forcing us to go back and figure out what went wrong, but instead it was focused on the present and future.”
Catholics who have been divorced often mistakenly think they are not welcome to fully participate in the Mass by receiving the Eucharist; this is only true if they remarry without a Declaration of Nullity. “These couples have made the commitment to go through the process of seeking a Declaration of Nullity so that their second marriage can be recognized by the Church,” said Mrs. DiSano.
Candace Weiger, a past participant, observed, “To me, the nullification process was the hardest part because it forced me to face what I’d done in my first marriage. But it was also the most freeing and wonderful thing I’d ever done because it helped me deal with things that could be an issue in any subsequent marriage.” For more information on the process of obtaining a Declaration of Nullity, visit http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org/how/tribunal/.