by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kansas — The best-kept secret to having a successful marriage and raising faithful kids might be — you.
That’s right, YOU.
Despite the grim news about family life in today’s society, there are some really great Catholic families out there doing great things, maybe even your family.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas wants to hear all about it and en- courage other families to follow suit.
Beginning in February and continuing through early March, the archdiocese will conduct a number of listening sessions with groups of married couples at several locations across the archdiocese.
The sessions are a joint project of the archdiocesan school office, the evangelization and Catholic formation for youth office, and the marriage and family life office.
“The second key initiative of the archdiocesan mutually shared vision — ‘to strengthen the vocation of marriage and family life’ — has two sub-goals,” said Deacon Tony Zimmerman, lead consultant for the archdiocesan marriage and family life office.
“The first sub-goal is to summon and equip couples to better live the heroic call to Christian marriage by inviting each married couple in the archdiocese to commit to participate in a marriage enrichment activity by February 2017,” he said. “The second sub-goal is to devise and communicate a strategy for strengthening and equipping parents to be the primary teachers of the faith by Sept. 1.”
Most of the disciples of Jesus are living out their vocations in the context of family life, explained Deacon Zimmerman.
“So family has great importance, and marriage is the very foundation of the family,” he said.
Ours, however, is a confused society. Many people don’t know what marriage is and how it is to be lived.
“We have to take it back to being, rst and foremost, a follower of Jesus Christ,” said Deacon Zimmerman. “Looking at that, we go back and ask, ‘What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ who is married?’”
“That’s our starting point — not what society says, or what the president says,” he added. “Those are irrelevant. God is the author of marriage. We know where it comes from, so how do we live it out?”
Indeed, how do we live it out? Answer: Ask Christian couples. Soon, letters will begin to go out to married couples asking them to participate in 90-minute listening sessions. The archdiocese is also inviting interested couples that have not received invitations to volunteer to participate.
Half the participant couples will be invited, and the other half will be couples that have volunteered to participate. There will be six to eight couples per session.
Some of these sessions will be in English and some will be in Spanish. The dates and locations for the English language sessions are known, but their times have yet to be determined. No information is yet available about the Spanish language sessions.
Participating couples will be given three questions to discuss during the sessions.
“We’re going to ask them about their experience and what helps them to grow in love, to identify their needs and how we can best present those offerings for their needs,” said Deacon Zimmerman.
“Those answers [from the listening sessions] are meant to guide what we will do over the next three to four years in terms of providing forms of marriage enrichment and support for parents forming their children in the faith that they will nd the most valuable,” he said.
Couples that want to volunteer to participate in the listening sessions can call Deacon Zimmerman at (913) 647- 0329 or send an email to: famlife@arch kck.org.
English language listening sessions for couples
- Feb. 4 — Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Seneca
- Feb. 17 — St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas
- Feb. 18 — Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa
- Feb. 25 — Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka
- March 3 — Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa