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January - March 2023
Teresa Yohman, Director
Maria Wancata, MFM Specialist

A message from the director

I’m pretty sure ministry mimics our Northeast Ohio weather--two days are never the same!

I want to highlight some key achievements in 2022 and look forward to 2023.

On December 9th, we hosted a retreat for parish leaders and bereavement ministers to take a step back and process some of their own losses.  It was a wonderful day filled with an inspiring speaker, Steven Malec, Adoration and Reconciliation. Special thanks to the Catholic Cemeteries Association, especially Rhonda Abrams, for helping with the planning for that day. 

In Marriage Ministry, there are a few events planned in January. On January 21st at St. Adalbert, we are co-sponsoring a dinner dance for married couples. Retrouvaille is offering a weekend retreat for struggling couples January 13-15. Please see registration links and more info at the end of the newsletter.

We are moving forward with launching Marriage Mentor Ministry. The Prepare-Enrich program has been helpful in offering guidelines that we are utilizing in the development of a tiered approach to meet the needs of couples in our diocese. We will be holding training events throughout the diocese where priests, deacons and parish staff will be able to learn the marriage mentor model. This is one piece of the puzzle, as we work to build out the full catechumenate model for Marriage Preparation.

We have been meeting with Courage Chaplains and are expanding the conversation with regards to SSA/LGBTQA+ ministry needs for individuals and families.

I’m going to be trained by Star Behavioral Health for sensitivity with regards to ministry offerings for our Active Duty Families and Veterans.

Lastly, we have identified individuals from our districts, as well as professionals to be part of our MFM Advisory Committee.  The first meeting will take place on January 21, and we hope to develop relationships that will continue to help us serve all of our parishes.

Planning is ongoing and events will be announced on social media and listed on the diocesan website as the are scheduled, so continue to periodically check our website and social media for the latest. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like more information on how the office can serve your needs.

Peace & Blessings,

National Marriage Week 

Observed February 7-14, annually, this year’s theme is " flesh, given and received," which highlights the one-flesh union of husband and wife that is willed by God. It also indicates the personal self-gift of each spouse, one to the other! 

Marriage Mentors

On December 1st and 5th at St. Joseph in Avon Lake, we trained couples from different parishes in Lorain Country to be Marriage Mentors. It was inspiring to be around couples so excited to accompany engaged couples on their journey to marriage!

More Marriage Mentor trainings will be taking place around the diocese. Check our website or reach out to Terri for more information.

Springs of Love

A ministry whose mission is to encourage, educate and equip Catholics to discern and live out the call to foster and adopt. Along with many other resources, they are currently offering a virtual "Be Not Afraid" virtual retreat. 


Early Catholic Family Life

A program that teaches young Catholic parents how to create a joy filled home with Jesus at the center. It is Early Catholic Family Life's mission to assist parents in teaching their young children our Catholic faith, and to assist Catholic parishes and schools in evangelizing their young families and building community.  It has been very well received and the influence of attending the program has shown that parents feel more comfortable sharing their faith and more attachment to their parish. If you have a young family ministry at your parish or are thinking of starting one please reach out for more details.

[Click on the image to learn more about the event and register.]


Divorce and Beyond

From Saint Mary's Press, Divorce and Beyond, is a popular program for adults who have gone through or are currently going through a divorce. Designed to be facilitated over ten-sessions, participants reflect, participate in exercises, and learn from each other. 
The MFM office would like to help any parish looking to start this valuable ministry through facilitator training, program build, as well as assistance with resources.  Please reach out if you would like more information.

Bereavement Facilitator Training

We have been working with Catholic Charities to update bereavement curriculum, and that is still an ongoing process. In the meantime, we have continuing to partner with Cornerstone of Hope to develop appropriate training resources that will help parishes meet their needs.  We strongly encourage parishes to work together and share resources. We know that this work has begun, as several parishes have reported that ministers have coordinated schedules between parishes so they have leadership support and collaborative groups.

Mondays of Hope

If you remember, this past spring, it was quite apparent that there was a need for grief-specific bereavement groups due to the loss by suicide and potentially overdose deaths. Working with Cornerstone of Hope and Parish bereavement ministers in November the group held it's final session with the facilitators from Cornerstone. It was very well received and St Albert the Great has been kind enough to offer space for the group to continue to meet for 10 more weeks on their own. They have developed a support system that will help them in their grief potentially through the rest of their lives. Several folks have suggested that they attended because the group was held at a parish. If you know of a geographic area with need for a support group for loss to addiction or suicide please reach out to our office and we can work on scheduling this great support.

Two New Clinics

We are thrilled to have two brand new health clinics within our diocese offering primary care, obstetrics, gynecology and more in accordance with the USCCB’s ethical and religious directives for healthcare.

Both clinics aim to help women and families who are looking for pro-life medical care in a nurturing, restorative, wholistic setting.

NFP Trainers & Education

We are working to gather all NFP trainers within the diocese. Fertility awareness education within families and engaged couples is an important initiative for our office in 2023. It is vital we work together to spread fertility awareness and move education forward. If you are a trainer or would like to be involved in this effort, please reach out to Maria, our diocesan NFP Coordinator. 

The Good, the Messy, and the Beautiful: The Joys and Struggles of Real Married Life

by Edward and Beth Sri
From Ascension Press - No marriage is perfect, and neither is the Sri’s. This book is packed full of hilarious and relatable stories from their 20+ years of marriage. The Good, the Messy, and the Beautiful goes into the nitty-gritty, explaining what to do when reality hits—when the rubber hits the road.

Marriage Tip

On-going communication is the key to healthy relationships. Sharing news, complimenting each other and discussing issues as they arise keeps us connected and prevents difficulties from piling up and becoming more difficult to resolve. Regular communication is a great maintenance plan for your marriage!
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