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Separated, Divorced and Widowed convention in January

What does God have to do with me now?

Being divorced, separated or widowed has a shattering effect not only on the individual but on entire families as well. But what is worse is that our confidence in self and trust in others reaches rock bottom. Can I trust anyone? What does God have to do with me NOW?

The Archdiocesan Family Life Commission’s ministry to the Separated, Divorced and Widowed (SDW) under the patronage of His Grace, Archbishop Joseph Harris will hold its Convention on January 21& 22 at the Seminary, Mount St Benedict.

The theme of the convention is What does God have to do with me now?

Archbishop Joseph Harris will open the convention with the celebration of Mass, after which he will deliver the first talk entitled “The Facts on Annulment”.

It is said that, “One of the most serious spiritual decisions a divorced Catholic faces is to remarry without an annulment”.

This subject remains a mystery to many Catholics both married and unmarried and even for many priests.

It is understood that an “Annulment is a declaration by the Church tribunal system that a marriage was not canonically valid. A marriage may be invalid according to the Church for one or two reasons – because of a law or because of a consent that was in some way defective.

In addition to Archbishop Harris’ presentation, there will be other dynamic speakers and testimonies from others who are divorced and widowed; a diocesan priest will share his amazing journey to the priesthood and there will be workshops and a chance to share with those in this ministry from various Caribbean territories. We are expecting delegates from Dominica, Surname, Guyana and Grenada.

New Beginning retreat

The SDW Ministry has been part of the AFLC (Archdiocesan Family Life Commission) since its re-commissioning in 2003 by Archbishop Edward Gilbert. One of the programmes which has been used to bring healing and closure for those experiencing separation, divorce or the death of a spouse is the New Beginning weekend retreat which is held three times a year.

This weekend provides the opportunity for healing and closure on their marriage for those persons who experienced the breakdown of the marriage relationship through death separation or divorce: to help persons to re-discover themselves in God’s plan as it unfolds in their new circumstances; to deepen through faith-sharing the trust that builds authentic family and Christian community. The New Beginning team will be available to discuss and to provide further information as regards this ministry.

History

The first New Beginning weekend retreat was conducted in Trinidad by Wilfred and Kay Holder in 1988. It was adapted from a Canadian programme put together and developed with the blessings of Archbishop Pocock and the support of the sisters of St Joseph and team couples from Marriage Encounter.

This weekend has deeply touched many in Trinidad and given new life to their purpose in life. Although this weekend is a Catholic expression it is opened to other faiths.

The Jan 21-22 convention is a call to our Catholics who are separated, divorced or widowed, nevertheless, it is a ministry being developed and therefore this convention presents a great opportunity for those in parish family ministry to attend. It is our vision that in every parish there be a programme of pastoral care for the Separated, Divorced & Widowed. We therefore urge every parish to send delegates.

It is important to call and register now; space is limited.

Convention fees ($200) include meals and for those who would like to sleep in from Friday to Sunday the fee is $400 for accommodation and meals.

For further information, please contact one of the following persons:

Lucille – 653-7487; Zena – 391-4352; Jennifer – 622-1139; Kay – 658-6648.

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