Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

‘Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide’ offers opportunities for healing, restoration

by Donna Petrocelli, for the Inland Register

(From the July 18, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

My 46-year marriage ended nearly three years ago. Life as I knew it changed forever.

I married at age 18 and was now in my 60s, a senior citizen. I was forced to learn how to live life, for the first time since graduating from high school, on my own. Even more than living on my own, I had to take time to figure out who I am and what core values I hold as an individual – independent of my former spouse.

At the time of my divorce, I felt ashamed and disgraced. I had been very active in my parish and the diocese; my former spouse was a deacon. It was difficult going to church each week. I thought that with the exception of my family and a few close friends, people were most likely thinking the worst of me.

Fortunately, my pastor reached out to me, week after week, telling me he was praying for me. He encouraged me to make an appointment with him, to make sure I didn’t isolate myself from the Church. After a couple of months, I did. After conversations with him, I began the annulment process. That proved a cathartic experience and a venue for much-needed healing and understanding.

Following my divorce, I was fortunate to be able to participate in a program that helped me deal with many of the specific issues associated with divorce. Sadly, when Catholics are going through a divorce, the majority stop attending Mass or leave the faith altogether. It seems our fast-paced society leads people to believe that when a marriage ends, individuals will experience a rapid recovery; however, we know healing of any nature does not happen rapidly. Additionally, in an attempt to return too quickly to a “normal life” people can get emotionally stuck if they try to avoid or discount pain from the trauma of divorce.

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Assumption Parish in Spokane, I will be heading a new divorce ministry program designed to provide restoration and healing to Catholics who have been through divorce or are currently in the process of divorce or separation and are hoping to find encouragement and acceptance in the Church.

The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide is a 12-week video and group-sharing program that was written and co-produced by Rose Sweet, who works with the diocesan marriage tribunal in San Bernardino, Calif. The program is produced by Ascension Press. Weekly sessions cover important and pertinent topics specifically connected with divorce, such as shock, denial, anger, grief, guilt, forgiveness, money, the courts, the kids, the ex-spouse, annulment, dating, sexuality, spirituality, remarriage or staying single, and much more. The content of this program is faithful to the teaching of the Church, while providing greater clarity for individual understanding about the truths of the Catholic faith.

The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Program provides practical advice while meeting the need for spiritual growth through the sacraments, the teachings of the Church (including Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body), and wisdom from experts and others who have suffered through divorce. As divorced or separated Catholics experience this pastoral program, lives are rejuvenated, hope is restored and faith in Christ and his Church can be renewed.

Sessions will be held at Assumption Parish, 3624 W. Indian Trail Rd., Spokane, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning Sept. 11. Cost is $25 per person for books and, if needed, child care.

For more information, or registration, email or call (509) 468-8429.

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