Divorce Ministry session begins Feb. 22

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

MUSCATINE — Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish will begin a new session of its Surviving Divorce ministry Feb. 22. The group will meet weekly for 12 weeks beginning Feb. 22. Sessions run from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Mazzuchelli Center at the rear of the school campus, 2407 Cedar St.

The parish began this ministry in the fall in response to a parish survey which revealed a desire for divorce ministry, said Sister Cheryl Demmer, PBVM, the parish’s director of Religious Education. To find appropriate resources for the group, she contacted the Diocese of Davenport’s Office of Faith Formation, which recommended a program called Surviving Divorce: Hope and Healing for Catholic Families.

According to its developers, the Surviving Divorce program endeavors to bring hope and healing to those who have experienced the pain and loneliness of a broken marriage. It is for the newly separated and divorced and those still struggling with issues many years later. The program is intended to help those individuals to find answers to their questions, restore hope and begin authentic healing.

The DVD materials for the class features experts, priests and personal testimonies of Catholic men and women who have experienced the breakdown of their families.

In the first 12-week session, about seven people participated. “We were very happy with the small group, as the discussions were open and honest,” said Sr. Demmer.

Individuals interested in participating may contact Sr. Demmer at srcheryl@marymathias.org or (563) 263-3848.

“I truly see this as a tremendous need in our church,” she said.

Resources for parishes

The Diocese of Davenport’s Office of Faith Formation has purchased a copy of the new edition of the Surviving Divorce program (12 DVDs, Participant’s Guide and Leader’s Guide) for parishes to borrow at no charge. A number of additional recommended resources are also available for individuals and families affected by divorce or separation. Anyone interested in starting a support group in their parish or school may contact Marianne Agnoli at agnolim@davenportdiocese.org or (563) 888-4242.

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