Marriage

Welcome to the Office for Marriage & Family Life!

The Office for Marriage and Family Life places itself at the service of parishes and families so that they can answer their call to holiness and help form communities of love and life in Jesus Christ. Our primary goal is to help families become what they are by realizing these four tasks:

  • Forming a Community of Persons
  • Serving Life
  • Participating in the development of Society
  • Sharing in the life and mission of the Church

Some Great Websites & Apps to Keep Your Faith Life Growing


Websites

Explore and bookmark these sites for great Catholic resources!

Vatican.va: This is the official website for the Vatican. It presents news services, information on the history of the Catholic Church and the latest on all the publications of the Church. If you want to know what is really going at the Vatican, this is the site for you.

USCCB.org: This is the official website for the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. At the site you can sign up to get the daily scripture readings, read the bible, access all news releases and learn more about what Catholic believe and how the Church serves the U.S.

dynamiccatholic.org: This is an international website packed with great resources to help you become a more dynamic Catholic. The beauty of this site is found in its simplicity and clarity to meet people where they are on their faith journey. Bookmark it today.

Catholic Apps

Find these apps for your smartphone and take your faith with you!

The Pope App: Most people know that the Pope has a Twitter account but did you know that he as an app as well? If you like Pope Francis, you are going to enjoy this app. It will help you find out what he is doing and saying quickly. Available in both iOS and Android formats.

FOCUS Equip: Here is a great app to help you grow in the Catholic faith. It has great talks and video clips for personal use. AND, it helps you learn how to be a compassionate evangelist. Give this app a try. It is a treasure trove of formation resources in the palm of your hand.

Can You Live without Love?


Guest author: Sara Perla from Catholic Match Institute

“Man cannot live without love.”

Let’s begin with a quote from Pope St. John Paul II’s first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis. It begins with one of those classic pull-outs: “Man cannot live without love.” It is so simple, deceivingly so, and striking. Man cannot live without love. Why not? This must mean that every person in the world is loved. Pope Benedict XVI echoed this when he said, “Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” Pope Francis tweeted: “The love of God is not generic. God looks with love upon every man and woman, calling them by name.” This forms the basis for all of our discussions about the family, the place in which we are brought into being. We are loved; not only by our parents but most fundamentally by God. We have come into this world not for anyone else’s sake, but for our own. We are loved, because we are.

On a subjective and experiential level, though, we also need to know love. As Pope St. John Paul II continues, “He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”

I have been pretty spoiled in love. My parents raised me and my brother in a loving home where they went on date nights and allowed us a lot of freedom to explore our own interests. Even when I went through the teenage years of confusion and angst, slamming doors and crying on my bed, I never doubted that my parents loved me. As an adult I can see that this fact is not one I should take for granted. It is a gift that my life was never “incomprehensible” or “senseless” because of simple things my parents did to show their love for me. My mom would pick me up from school with chicken nuggets that I could munch on the way home, and my dad would take off work to come to school assemblies when I was going to sing. Pope Francis told the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals in February: “We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family.” I’m thankful that my parents showed me this plan in action. “Man cannot live without love.”

What about the people who haven’t experienced the kind of love that St. John Paul II is talking about? If we haven’t received that love in the family, how can we find it now?

There is a certain amount of brokenness in every family, no matter how hard the people try to love one another. The kind of love that St. John Paul II was talking about is the love of God, not merely human love, and this love is available to all of us in infinite measure!

I’m a huge advocate of counseling. There are many good therapists out there who can help people to work through and heal some of the wounds that may otherwise be obstacles to experiencing God’s love in their lives.

I’m a huge advocate of counseling. There are many good therapists out there who can help people to work through and heal some of the wounds that may otherwise be obstacles to experiencing God’s love in their lives.

I think we shouldn’t overcomplicate things: do you see a middle-aged man sitting by himself at Mass behind you every Sunday? Notice him. Smile. Introduce yourself. There’s a man in his 70s who passed me a holy card one Saturday morning at Mass because he thought I looked down that day. It was so kind that I kept it even though I have approximately 5000 holy cards I never look at. I think that big gestures are nice but most Catholics are forgetting to do the small, simple things that make a difference.

What is the best way to discover God’s individual love for me?

Prayer, of course! You probably won’t experience God’s love unless you let Him love you, and notice when He’s doing it. Prayer attunes your heart to God’s wavelength, if you will. It reminds you that He’s always there, and in time it lets you see how He’s working in all sorts of ways in your life. I have a friend who felt loved by God in a profoundly personal way when she saw a pair of green high-heeled shoes in a shop window. That’s not me at all, but I could appreciate the fact that God used shoes to let her know He was there for her. I experience His love most strongly in the first hints of spring and sunshine. Find some silence, preferably before the Eucharist, to soak up some love of the Father.

What is the best way to discover God’s individual love for me?

  • Make a resolution to simply notice at least one person at Mass this Sunday that you’ve never noticed before.
  • If you feel like you haven’t experienced God’s love deeply, or if it’s simply been a while since you felt close to God, take a little time to ask yourself why that might be, and whether it might be a good idea to talk to someone about it.
  • What’s your prayer routine? Shake it up a little this week. Do something a little different; find a new saint to make friends with, or add the Serenity prayer to your lunch break.

Father’s Day and Your Priest: How can you appreciate your Spiritual Father?


When it comes to appreciating fathers, most of us are good at recognizing our dads in June. Our familial love is best manifest in the time and concern we show to them. Unfortunately, when it comes to our priests, we often forget to acknowledge just how important they are to us and to the parish family. These men strive to be spiritual fathers to our families each and every day and likely do so without much gratitude from us.

Don’t forget your spiritual father this Father’s Day!

Beyond the weekend Mass, a priest administers the inner-workings of his parishes and schools, visits the sick, and advises the catechesis for the parish. His service is nearly 24/7, as he is largely on-call throughout the week, day and night. Because his dress identifies him as “man of the cloth”, a priest can be approached by strangers as well as parishioners at any point in time; moments of anger, despair, need and love. His life is a constant ministry of service to others.

Just as your own father sacrifices for you, your parish priest also gives his life up for you. By the grace of his ordination, he is called to “guide and defend the Church with strength and prudence as a father and pastor, with gratuitous love for all and a preferential love for the poor, the sick, and the needy. This grace impels him to proclaim the Gospel to all, to be the model for his flock, to go before it on the way of sanctification by identifying himself in the Eucharist with Christ the priest and victim, not fearing to give his life for his sheep.” (CCC 1586)

Just as your own father sacrifices for you, your parish priest also gives his life up for you. By the grace of his ordination, he is called to “guide and defend the Church with strength and prudence as a father and pastor, with gratuitous love for all and a preferential love for the poor, the sick, and the needy. This grace impels him to proclaim the Gospel to all, to be the model for his flock, to go before it on the way of sanctification by identifying himself in the Eucharist with Christ the priest and victim, not fearing to give his life for his sheep.” (CCC 1586)

  • Thank him. Many times his acts of service go unsung and unnoticed. Thank your priest for his vocation and dedication to his ministry.
  • Thank him. Many times his acts of service go unsung and unnoticed. Thank your priest for his vocation and dedication to his ministry.
  • Work with him. Many parishes in our diocese are led by a one-man band. Often one priest is responsible for two, if not three, churches in his parish. Lighten his burden by volunteering to teach RCIA or help engaged couples by becoming a FOCCUS facilitator. Invest in your parish’s spiritual life and aid your priest by working with him to build up Christ’s Church.
  • Love him. Continue the traditions of inviting your priest to your family gatherings like dinner, sporting events or receptions. Include them in your life beyond the weekend Mass. Perhaps the best way to appreciate your priest is to utilize what he offers: attend daily Mass, go to Reconciliation or get your house, car, barn, or livestock blessed.

Priests are men who have chosen to give away their whole selves for each one of us. They are, by their example, a reminder of Christ being with us. Think today of how you can appreciate and help your local priest this Father’s Day.

The Art of Astonishment


Here is a challenge for your summer. Find ample ways to astonish your children. To help you out, we have created a list of ideas to stimulate your children’s imaginations. Most of the ideas will ask you to invest your time rather than your money. All will give you a shot at returning to your childhood and a time when life was easier. Enjoy your kids’ break from school.

  1. Help your children be keen observers. Sit with them and look at what is in front of you. Ask them to correctly identify something that you are looking as you give them clues. (You might remember this as the 20 questions game.)
  2. Create a story together. Give them the start of the story and have them finish it. Then let them start the story.
  3. Read a novel together.
  4. Plant a garden.
  5. Instead of turning on the TV, play music for everyone to hear.
  6. Eat dinner by candlelight.
  7. Engage your children in imaginary play by asking them questions that begin with, “Imagine what it would be like to…” Imaginary ideas might include walking on the moon, walking on the ocean floor, meet the Pope, feed a giraffe, and (get the idea?)
  8. Wake your children up before the dawn breaks and watch the full sun rise.
  9. Sit outside and watch the full sunset (from the time it sets until it is pitch black).
  10. Give your children a camera and ask them to record their day.
  11. Take a walk in the woods in complete silence. What did you hear?
  12. Track the position of the sun every Monday of the summer. Where did it move from to?
  13. Take a trip to a place you have been to several times and determine what has changed since your last visit.
  14. Travel along a river or stream. Where does the water come from? Where does it go?
  15. Look at the stars during the crescent moon. How many constellations can you identify?
  16. Visit a farm and compare and contrast all animals. What do they eat? How do they live? What do they do each day? How do they sleep?
  17. Make a bonfire and sit and watch it.
  18. Take a trip to a place you have never been to that is within 2 miles of your home.
  19. Bring out pictures of you when you were a child. Tell your stories.
  20. Ask your kids to find a way to make you say, “Wow! That was amazing!”
  21. Find a high hill and look out to the farthest point. Then drive to that far point. What was the distance between the two?
  22. Using Google earth, find a place on the planet that you would really like to visit. How would you get there?
  23. Let your children cook for the family (and clean up!)
  24. Sit outside and watch a rainstorm approach.
  25. Trace your family’s history. How far back can you go?
  26. What can you come up with? Let your imagination run wild.