In the apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of Love”, Pope Francis writes, “Marital joy can be experienced even amid sorrow; it involves accepting that marriage is an inevitable mixture of enjoyment and struggles, tensions and repose, pain and relief, satisfactions and longings, annoyances and pleasures, but always on the path of friendship, which inspires married couples to care for one another: ‘they help and serve each other.’”
Just as Pope Francis encourages married couples to cultivate the joy of love, the Office of Lifelong Formation supports married couples on their path to holiness through resources and programs.
The Catholic Church believes marriage is a union between a husband, wife and God, and is a relationship that parallels the love of Christ for his people. It is a lifelong commitment to another person and a dwelling place of God's spirit. Catholic marriage is a demanding vocation that thrives on the support and encouragement of an entire community.
A marriage needs constant renewal and support. This can be done in simple and spontaneous ways, or it can involve more structured and long-term planning. Marriage education and enrichment is key to a healthy marriage. A lot of the time, Catholic marriage and communication classes and resources can take the place of counseling and are proven to strengthen relationships. Please see below for suggested resources:
World Wide Marriage Encounter is a weekend retreat for married Christian couples who value their relationship and desire a richer, fuller life together.
For Your Marriage offers practical help and advice for couples who are seriously dating, engaged or at any stage of married life. Information on Catholic ceremonies (including music, readings and marrying a non-Catholic) are available on this site. Please visit the home page for daily tips, book reviews and blogs written by married couples.
Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass
Every year the Department of Parish Vitality and Mission hosts the annual Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass to commemorate couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
In 2017, over 400 couples participated in the Mass presided by Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich at Holy Name Cathedral Please click here to watch the mass.
To register, click here.
Help for Troubled Marriages
It is normal for the “honeymoon phase” of a marriage to fade as time goes on. Many couples have to work through an adjustment period during the first few months of marriage, and knowing when conditions are more serious than traditional issues is crucial. Issues can arise at any point of marriage, regardless of the length of time, and it’s important that they are addressed and recognized as soon as possible.
The following methods and resources can help identify and resolve marriage problems:
Meet with a mentor couple or receive support from others who have gone through similar situations and worked through issues/conflict.
Retrouvaille, a site that helps couples find consolation, strength, and encouragement.
Make small changes in attitude and perform acts of kindness towards your spouse.
Enroll and participate in marriage education classes.
Schedule and appointment with a marriage counselor by talking to your parish priest or deacon, or by calling The Holbrook Center at Catholic Charities at 312.655.7725.
Catholic Therapists maintains a list of counselors who understand Catholic teaching on the permanence of marriage and can help couples work toward saving their marriage. In addition, Dr. Bill Doherty, a leader in the marriage field, maintains a national registry of marriage counselors who believe marriage is an important personal, professional and social value.
If you are seeing a lay counselor, be upfront with them and tell them you are looking for someone who also supports Catholic values. If you live outside of Chicago, your local parish, Catholic charities and many Family Life Offices maintain a list of counselors who are Catholic and understand the importance of living a faithful life.
Divorce Support Resources
Divorce is never part of your plan for life. When you married, you intended it to last a lifetime. Divorce can be a time of great grief and pain. Divorce Ministry provides support, guidance, and resources during the vulnerable stages of this transition:
Pastoral para Divorciados (Divorce Ministry in Spanish): Por favor llamar a la oficina al 312.534.8202 para más información.
There may be times or situations in life when you need an impartial person to listen to your concerns and help you objectively explore alternatives. We often look to our trusted family members for this kind of help. While that can be good most of the time, there are times when you may need professional help. A counselor or therapist can help you find peace and answers.
Call the Holbrook Center at Catholic Charities at 312.655.7725 for suggested therapists and counselors who understand Catholic teaching. In addition, you can contact our team and we will give you the names of three professionals and you can choose the one that fits your needs best.
For more information, please contact Family Ministries, at 312.534.8351 or email@example.com..
In his homily at Saint Peter’s Square on September, 14, 2014, Pope Francis described family as the place “where we are formed as people,” and “a brick in the building of society”. Family shapes us into who we are as people and our family members play an integral part in our lives. The Office of Lifelong Formation strives to be a source of strength for families in good times and in bad. Please see below for our specific support groups.
Domestic Violence Outreach
The mission of the Archdiocese of Chicago Domestic Violence Outreach is threefold: to raise awareness of domestic violence throughout the archdiocese, to promote the development and delivery of services to families of domestic violence, as well as to perpetrators, and to advocate for the prevention of domestic violence. The team aims to advocate for the prevention of domestic violence and helps young girls and boys learn to recognize the elements of unhealthy and healthy relationships.
The Immigration Ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago serves as a national model to support undocumented and documented immigrants and promote Christ’s desire for communion between immigrant and non-immigrant communities. It’s important that all immigrant families coming to this country feel welcome and a part of community, which is why the Immigration Ministry dedicates time to help families find service and leadership opportunities.
Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago has a burial program for miscarried babies. Please call 708.449.6100 or visit www.CatholicCemeteriesChicago.org for more information
Little Company of Mary, Cherished Angel Perinatal Loss Support Group
The unexpected death of a baby leaves parents with deep heartache. Care, support and guidance during this difficult time of mourning is invaluable to healing and is offered by The Family Birth Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital. The nursing and pastoral care staff at Little Company of Mary Hospital offers compassionate guidance and resources to support parents during a loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.
Share, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
Share, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support serves those affected by the tragic death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or in the first few months of life.
Ministry to Persons with Disabilities
Special Religious Education Program (SPRED)
It’s important that individuals with special needs have access to educational programs tailored to help them grow in their faith. SPRED aims to help families get in touch with parishes across the archdiocese.
National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD)
Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, the NCPD works collaboratively with parishes and families to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society.
Catholic Office of the Deaf
An agency of the Archdiocese of Chicago that provides support for the hearing impaired and their families through its programs and services. Please click here for a list of signed/interpreted masses in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Please see below for leadership opportunities for families within the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Marriage Preparation Facilitator
Couples interested in facilitating PreCana classes and advancing the vocation and mission of marriage are invited to the next archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Facilitator Training.
Precana facilitators are responsible for:
Implementing the archdiocesan curriculum, “A Marriage in the Lord”
Facilitating at least two or three PreCana sessions a year
Mentoring new PreCana presenters
Sharing successful and challenging stories with engaged couples
Introducing the Christian understanding of a sacramental marriage
Participating in ongoing formation either in-person or through online opportunities
For more information, please contact Victor Vallejo, coordinator of marriage programs, at 312.534.5373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Divorce Ministry Facilitator Training
This training is for clergy and lay ministers who are interested in learning how to provide pastoral support to people experiencing divorce. The training is coordinated in parish groupings with the authorization of the pastor.
The training covers the following areas:
The mission of divorce ministry
Stages of grief
Appropriate ways to give support
Functions of the facilitator
How to form a team of facilitators
For more information, please contact Maryvel Torres, coordinator of family ministries, at 312.534.8202 or email@example.com.
The apostolic work of the catechist springs from the Sacrament of Baptism, through which all believers come to share in the prophetic ministry of Christ and the evangelizing mission of the Church. The call to the ministry of catechist is a vocation, an interior call and the voice of the Holy Spirit (NDC 54B8, p. 228229).
If you’re interested in becoming a Catechist, please click here for more information and training opportunities.