St Mary Magdalene's Divorce Care program is centered on twelve professionaly mastered DVD shows feturing twelve REAL LIFE divorce stories of hope and healing. They are young and old; their spouse left some of them. Others felt forced to file divorce. Regardless, no one wanted to end up this way. They are worried about thheir kids, money, the future, what others will say, and what the church says about state of life. Can they go to Communion? Are they excommunicated? Do they have to get an annulment? These are questions they had, and ones you may have, too.
The Catholic's Divorce Survival Guide (a 12 session DVD series) was created to bring hope and healing to divorced and separated Catholics with the help of counselors, theologians, and priests, you can go from pain and loneliness to hope and healing. Practical advice meets pastoral care, with the help of experts (on DVD’s) and others who have suffered through divorce. As they witness to their pain and to the redemptive power of Christ, you will laugh, cry, and identify with their journey from heartache to healing.The Catholic's Divorce Survival Guide will help you:
• Discover how to work through the emotions of separation and divorce.
• Experience personal healing and hope.Gain wisdom and comfort from others who share your experiences.
• Address questions of forgiveness and new family dynamics.
• Obtain an understanding of the annulment process.
Rose Sweet, author and speaker, is your Catholic's DIVORCE SURVIVAL “Guide”. Rose has gone through divorce and annulment and loves to share the often misunderstood Church teachings on love, sex, marriage, and annulment. For two decades she's worked to bring hope to the divorced or separated who face the trauma of broken relationships. Rose serves as a diocesan lay advocate helping people to understand the sacramentality of marriage and how to live happy, holy, and fruitful lives with or without an annulment. Rose has written for Focus on the Family, and remains a a top selling author in the Christian market on the subject of divorce. Website: www.RoseSweet.com
Christopher West is a powerful speaker, teacher and author on "Theology of the Body", a revolutionary look at authentic love and human sexuality. Christopher knows that divorce results when one or both of the spouses don't understand the self-giving that true love demands. He has a heart for men and women who keep finding themselves “looking for love in all the wrong places”, and he offers an exciting vision of the banquet of love for which we were made. His books are numerous, including The Good News About Sex and Marriage, The Love That Satisfies, andHeaven’s Song: Sexual Love as It Was Meant to Be. He lives with his wife Wendy and their five children in Pennsylvania. Website:www.ChristopherWest.com
Father Donald Calloway, MIC, a young, passionate priest, is no stranger to the topic of divorce: his parents divorced when he was young and by the time he was 10 he’d had three “fathers”. But even a loving stepfather could not stop the teenage rebellion--including running with the Japanese Mafia--that played out in part from the pain of divorce. Father Calloway’s story is riveting, as he offers hope to the hearts of parents who fear for the damage divorce may do to their kids. “Trust God,” he says. “My mother never imagined after divorce that her son would grow up to be a priest!” Website: www.FatherCalloway.com
Dr. Ray Guarendi is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and popular radio host of Ave Maria Radio's "The Doctor Is In". Dr. Ray has been a regular guest on national radio and television, including Oprah, Joan Rivers, Scott Ross Prime Time, 700 Club, Gordon Elliot, and CBS This Morning. He has written many books, including You’re a Better Parent Than You Think! now in its twenty-fifth printing. Dr. Ray and his wife are parents to ten children and there isn’t a thing he doesn't know about solving family problems. His advice about getting through divorce is pithy and punchy and his humor is a necessary part of healing. Website: www.drray.com
Father Steve Porter stars in "Divine Intervention" (CatholicTV.com ). In seminary to train for the Diocese of East Anglia (England) in 1976 he earned the equivalent of BAs in Philosophy and Theology and a Ph.D. with specialization in Spiritual Direction. Father reminds us that all Christians are strongly encouraged to evaluate their lives and lifestyles to follow Christ himself; he helps men and women move beyond the surface issues of divorce to the real Source of all Healing. Hours spent with spiritual directees are, as Father says, “amongst the most inwardly satisfying hours of my life." Website: www.frsteve.tv/
Father Mitch Pacwa is best known for his appearances on EWTN and being an expert biblical scholar. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Detroit, summa cum laude, and a Master of Divinity and S.T.B. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Loyola University, magna cum laude. At Vanderbilt University, he received his Master of Arts, Ph.D. in Old Testament. Father Pacwa is fluent in twelve languages and has the privilege of being bi-ritual, meaning he can celebrate the Maronite Mass of the Eastern Catholic Church. Father's parents divorced and he and knows the pain of a broken family.www.ignatiusproductions.com
On Helping Your Kids
Parenting is a lifetime job, and often difficult even with an intact and healthy marriage. The following list is only a quick reference to get you started.
DO pray first. Don't leave prayer as a last resort.
DON'T panic. An anxious parent can make the kids anxious. With an act of the will, trust God even if you don't feel like it.
DO accept that the perfect childhood is not going to happen--your children are already wounded. You, and they, will need to grieve that. But just as Christ's wounds brought great good, and his light shines through his scars, the same can happen for you and your children. Fruits of these wounds can be maturity, wisdom, understanding, compassion, kindness, and more.
DO take care of yourself FIRST when possible and appropriate: get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, get counseling. When YOU are stable, they can lean on you. When you're still a mess, it affects them.
DO maintain as much consistency as possible in daily schedules, bedtimes, curfews, routine and discipline. Don't let them start getting away with murder (disrespect, disobedience,etc.) just because of the divorce. Keep going to weekly Mass, saying prayers when you can, and reminding them God has his loving eye and his protective hands on them all.
DO learn, and teach the kids, that God is not a puppet master to take away problems and pain. He didn't remove the cross from Jesus--but he made sure even greater good came from it. After a divorce, that's our promise, too.
DON'T try to keep doing everything to be the "good" parent; you'll exhaust yourself and exasperate everyone else. Get help. If you haven't already, teach THEM to clean their rooms, do their on laundry, make dinner, do dishes, take care of the trash, lawn and more. It doesn't have to be perfect. Don't rob your children of the joys of maturity and feeling like part of the "team" because you think they can't do it (right).
DO let go of everything on your (and their) calendars that is not necessary. It doesn't mean that a few months or years later you can't add things back in. Cut back on excessive school programs and activities. We live in a culture of often-addictive busyness that stunts emotional and spiritual growth.
DON'T try to be the perfect parent (Disneyland Mom or Dad) , giving them whatever they want, so they love YOU more. You'll only set them up to expect the world to cater to them and to be selfish and unhappy young people. And your credit card debt will be huge!
DON'T badmouth the other parent or share inappropriate information. They don't need to know about the money, the courts, the arguments, or any other adult subject matter--including the details of your marriage and divorce.
DO share in age-appropriate ways what is happening in general: we are having a big problem here, not sure how it will all work out but it WILL, and you will always have two parents who love you, a home, and just enough of what you need.
DO encourage your children to open up; don't be upset that they are upset, just listen, affirm, encourage, and validate. Make plenty of time for talk, but don't force them. With their basic questions already answered, it may be that you are the one who really wants to talk. Call a friend.
DON'T make your child your surrogate "spouse", an emotional confidante, 'best friend', constant social companion, or in-house therapist. These have damaging and far-reaching negative consequences. They need you to be their parent even if they like the 'special attention' they are getting.
DO honor the court-appointed visitation schedule. Pay your child support on time and in full. Don't gouge the other parent in court. Don't spend years trying to get perfect justice; at some point trust God and let it go. Be an example to your children of refusing to stay engaged in bitter battles.
DON'T delay getting professional or medical help for yourself or your kids when there are major issues.
DON'T start dating or bringing dates home too soon. Don't try to replace a parent and blend families without very slow, extremely careful, and proper preparation. No civil divorce and Church annulment yet? No dating. You don't have the fullness of the "gift-of-self" to give anyone right now. Don't be selfish. Kids will bond with new people and when the new person leaves,too, the cycle of rejection and "divorce" will go deeper and bring more damage. Focus on your recovery and theirs for at least a year or maybe even much longer.
DO see this as a time for growing in faith. Listen to Catholic radio; watch Catholic TV; rent better movies and talk about the good v. evil themes. Read good books. Share what you are learning with your children in ways they can understand.
DO remember that nothing stays the same for very long, Whatever is hurtful and seems hopeless now can and probably will change.
Many parents attest that divorce forced them to grow up and take responsibilities they had avoided, and to get their priorities in right order. They have become much better and wiser parents. The best is yet to come.
Dr. Ray Guarendi - Parenting Resources - www.DrRay.com
If Aristotle's Kid Had an iPod - Conor Gallagher