Project Description

Over the last few months, you may have seen some announcements in the bulletin inviting parishioners who have been divorced to meet and talk about how the parish can minister to them most effectively.  After several meetings among many of our divorced parishioners, I am very proud to introduce a new parish ministry, St. Helen Divorce Ministry.  (St. Helen is the patroness of the divorced.  She was the mother of the Emperor Constantine, who legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire, and she is credited with leading the expedition that discovered the True Cross of Christ.)

 

Catholics who have been divorced experience a wide array of challenging emotions.  There can be a lot of guilt and shame, and even a sense of failure, when a marriage ends, especially when you fully intended that it would last a lifetime.  People can wonder about their place in the Church, and if people will reject them or judge them.  It can also be painful to come to Mass alone, especially when you look around and see so many happy, intact families around you.  It can even be very uncomfortable to show up at parish social events if you come by yourself.  It can also be very daunting to consider the possibility of pursuing an annulment.

 

It’s so important that a person feels supported by their parish during this incredibly vulnerable time.  Many people struggle to remain connected to the Church when their marriage ends, but that’s when they need their faith more than ever.  Christ is the only one who can give these folks the healing they need, and so it’s the parish’s job to do everything we can to strengthen that relationship with Christ so that this healing can take place.

 

St. Helen’s will meet monthly, alternating between the 3rd Monday and 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Meetings will include prayer, fellowship and discussion in a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere.  The group also has plans to plug into parish social events as a group, as well as organize service opportunities.  This will give folks a chance to connect with other Catholics who are committed to their faith and can relate to the experience they’re going through.

 

In this day and age, all of us have been touched by the painful reality of divorce.  I would ask for your prayers for all people affected by divorce, as well as for this new ministry, that it may be a source of healing and consolation for your fellow parishioners.  I also ask you to pray for all of those who are struggling in their marriages, and to do whatever you can to support couples you know who are in stressful situations.  Being there for a parishioner after they get divorced is absolutely essential, but if we can be there for them before they get divorced, well, that’s even better.