Divorce / Widowed
1. WIDOWED/DIVORCED/SEPARATED CATHOLICS OF OMAHA – www.wdsofomaha.com
A support group of widowed, divorced and separated persons of all faiths. This group holds a monthly general meeting, usually with a speaker and other organized activities such as attend Mass together, social outing, summer picnic and Christmas celebration.
2. BEGINNING EXPERIENCE
A healing ministry. Trained volunteers who have experienced death or divorce conduct the sessions. Sessions are offered four times a year.
- Adult Coping Sessions: For individuals who are adjusting to the changes in their life because of death or divorce. Each series has six weekly sessions. Sessions are offered four times a year.
- Children and Young Adult Coping Sessions: Who Am I Now?: For children ages 5-15 who are adjusting to a divorce or death in the family, whether recently or in the past.
- Beginning Experience Weekend: This weekend will help you gently close the door on your past relationship and open a new door of possibilities. Contact the Family Life Office at 402-551-9003, ext. 1304 or visit our website here.
- DivorceCare: A 13 week video seminar and support group for people experiencing divorce and separation. DivorceCare features nationally recognized experts on divorce and recovery topics. Seminar sessions include “Facing My Anger”, “Facing MKy Loneliness”, “Depression”, “New Relationships”, “KidCare”, and “Forgiveness”. Pre-registration is requested. The cost is $20.00 and includes the seminar workbook. Contact the Family Life Office at 402-551-9003, ext. 1304.
- The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide: A 12-DVD Parish Program with workbook, personal guides, web access and more. Features Catholic personalities including Dr. Ray Guarendi, Christopher West, Father Donald Calloway and more…plus 12 divorced Catholics telling their story of hope and healing. The series is woven between powerful personal testimonies and timeless Catholic principles that are 100% faithful to the Magisterium. It is Christ-centered and leads the viewer past the pain of divorce to the freedom and joy of the Sacraments. Available to parish support groups. Contact the Family Life Office at 402=551-9003, ext. 1304.
Always Our Children
Support ministry for Parents of Gay & Lesbian Children
Contact: Jerry & Lucy Furlong
Parishioners & Parents
Our Mission Statement
“Always Our Children – A Support Ministry for Parents of Gay and Lesbian Children” offers parents a safe place to share. . . an opportunity to receive the support of other parents who have already struggled to accept the homosexual orientation of their child. . . a place of compassion for those beginning the journey of acceptance. . . and an environment of trust and confidentiality where participants can speak freely and frankly without fear.
We will meet with interested parents in our home – initially at a time determined convenient. If any attendees decide they would like to continue meeting, or if a group of parents is eventually formed, we will consider meeting on a regular basis.
What We Hope To Do
Provide a safe, confidential and non-threatening opportunity for story-telling and the sharing of personal experiences.
Through this sharing process – help alleviate the doubts, confusion, helplessness, anger, anxiety and other negative emotions that can be so destructive of family love and relationships when a child “comes out.”
With “Always Our Children” and other Church documents as resources, discuss the Church’s position on homosexuality. We will distinguish between orientation and behavior. We will stress the pastoral aspects of positive Catholic writings as they apply to the dignity of the gay/lesbian person, the fundamental nature of the homosexual orientation, the critical need for parental and family love and support, the unconditional love of God and the Church’s guidance on social justice and pastoral issues affecting the gay/lesbian person.
As the interest of individuals or the group seems to dictate –suggest/discuss materials (books, videos, audio tapes) and resources (including Catholic authors, moral theologians and the personal experience of parents) that offer historical, moral and pastoral perspectives on homosexuality.
What We Will Not Do
- Teach / preach
- Advocate for legislative action/causes.
- Promote therapies aimed at changing orientation.
- Be judgmental in the discussion of pertinent topics or material.
- Attempt to influence the moral decisions of others
A Personal Testimony
The Need: Our son is gay. So is an estimated 10% of the population. Even if you halve this generally accepted estimate and apply the demographic to our parish, it means St. Stephen the Martyr has a minimum of 500 gay or lesbian parishioners. Given the age profile of our parish, a homosexual orientation, where it is present, is obviously not yet evident or understood in some of our young people. But it will be. There is no logical reason for our parishioners to defy the averages.
Youth not withstanding, there are people hurting in our parish right now. Young (and not-so-young) people are struggling with questions, fearful their secret may be discovered and they might lose the love and acceptance of their family. Parents are experiencing marital tensions –full of heart-rending anxieties, doubts, questions, anger and deep fears about their child’s safety, future happiness and even eternal salvation. And, finally, other family members are questioning how to respond to a situation that carries the potential to cause severe and lasting harm to family relationships.
It is not just the gay or lesbian person we must count. Include moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. – and you begin to realize the extent of the pastoral impact when a child says, “Mom, Dad – I’m gay.” While our own situation may not be the norm, our son’s gayness bears directly on 15 other family members registered in St. Stephen’s. Perhaps a family multiple of 4 or 5 would be more typical for our population of 500 – and we see more clearly the need for this type of ministry. Homosexuality could personally affect 20% or more of our parish members.
And one last consideration: This is a need to-date unaddressed by our local Church – a fact painfully clear in our personal experience. In response to the encouragement of the Second Vatican Council and the urgings of the American Bishops in “Always Our Children,” our interest is to begin a parent support ministry in St. Stephen the Martyr parish for parents of gay and lesbian children.