There is no shame here, and you are not alone.
I put those two things first because they are two thoughts I have encountered the most in this work with Catholic families affected by divorce.
28% of Catholics are divorced (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, 1/25/2015), which means that there are many families just like yours - probably at your church or school - experiencing the same journey you are.
Yet, there aren't many resources out there to walk with you and your children on this journey. And so your family hides away their needs for fear of being stigmatized within your parish or school.
Faith Journeys is here to change that.
Answering the Tough Questions
"Mom, why doesn't Dad live here anymore?" "Dad, are we still a family?"
"Do you still love us?"
Aside from your own emotions and heartbreak, one of the toughest parts of divorce is
watching how it affects children.
You know the stats about children of divorce, and while you need your own support as you walk through this journey, you know your children need a place to be supported too.
Plus, they are asking you a lot of questions about relationships, love, and family that you aren't quite sure how to answer. You want them to see that families come in all shapes and sizes, and most importantly, that they are deeply loved by you and by God.
How do you help them work through their feelings without projecting your own?
By a child of divorce, for children of divorce
I started Faith Journeys because of my own experiences watching my parents separate and divorce as a pre-teen and teen. At the time, I had many big feelings to process, but there were no support groups to help me with that processing, let alone groups that included my faith (as my relationship with God has always been a big part of my story). As a result, it took decades for me to unpack all of the experiences I had during my parents' divorce. (You can read more about my story here.)
As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and pastoral counselor, I now dedicate my life to ensuring no other child has to experience the same thing.
After years of volunteering with secular and Christian support groups, I decided to create my own, with a unique Catholic spin.
BRING THE CALM THE STORM PROGRAM TO YOUR PARISH OR SCHOOL
Faith Journeys offers a small group program for parishes and Catholic schools to accompany children of divorce, offering them the coping tools and psychoeducation they need to thrive not only socially and emotionally, but also spiritually.
Most often, a program is brought to a parish or school by someone like you, approaching your pastor or principal and asking if a Calm the Storm support group can be brought to your area.
In watching my mom and dad’s journeys through the separation and divorce, I know that you
are hurting too, and you need support.
I want to reemphasize - there is no room for shame here. You may be feeling hurt by the
Church or scared about what a Catholic program will teach your children about your relationship.
While the program is authentically Catholic and supports Catholic teachings on marriage, I am on a mission to help your relationship with your child, not harm it.
I also want you to know that the Church is here for you, whether or not you feel that support at your local parish level. From a parenting perspective, I have many resources for Catholic divorced parents, which you can find here.