Families Local

Benedictine College to host first-ever Family Week

Happy family in a park in summer autumn. Mother, father and baby play in nature in the rays of sunset.

by Joe Bollig

ATCHISON — It’s not that Tory Baucum wants to start a fight. But he does want to provoke some thought among married couples with this question.

“Do you love your wife or husband more now than you did last year?” he said. “If you can’t say ‘yes,’ there’s room to grow — and you’re a wonderful candidate for Family Week.”

Baucum, director of the Center for Family Life at Benedictine College in Atchison, is leading an effort to conduct the first-ever Family Week, May 22-28, on the college campus.

He knows that not every married couple in the archdiocese will go — but they should.

Family Week is a weeklong family enrichment retreat hosted by the Center for Family Life. It promises “a true experience of an authentic Catholic vision for marriage and family life.”

“I think the church — and the clergy — have done a good job of explaining to the laity the rulebook of marriage, but they haven’t done nearly as good a job of explaining the playbook of marriage,” said Baucum.

“Family Week is kind of like summer camp for learning the playbook of marriage,” he said, “how to do marriage well, how to teach the meaning of the sacrament of marriage to other lay couples, making lay couples not just the object of the church’s ministry but the subject. They are the chief protagonists of passing on the teaching of the sacrament of marriage because they live it.”

Family Week means bringing the whole family along for the ride — and trust him, this is going to be great, said Baucum.

The days will consist of engaging talks by dynamic presenters, fellowship, prayer and fun family activities. During the mornings, couples will explore various topics and strategies relating to marriage and the family while the kids have fun activities and faith formation. The afternoons and evenings will be fun and formative family time.

“There will be some theology of marriage taught, some spirituality of marriage taught and there will be practical relationship skill-building taught,” said Baucum. “So head, heart and hands will all come together at Family Week.”

And when Baucum says Family Week is “kind of” like summer camp, he means comfortable summer camp. No tents. No latrines. Participants will eat in the Benedictine College dining hall and sleep in the dorms.

One couple — J.P. and Christina DeGance — will travel all the way from Virginia with eight of their kids to attend Family Week.

DeGance was in the archdiocese on Feb. 26 to give a presentation to pastors and couples about the book he authored along with John Van Epp, “Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America.”

DeGance, who is also president and founder of the nonprofit church consultant organization Communio, will also speak at Family Week.

“Family Week seeks to equip the domestic church to live its vocation of being the domestic church,” he said. “Catholics have a great theology and anthropology of marriage and the sacraments. What Baucum and the Center for Family Life are trying to do is connect that great theology and anthropology with terrific skills and practices that can strengthen and deepen the spiritual bonds of the family and marriages.”

The message in “Endgame,” the work of the Center for Family Life, the work of Communio and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s key objective of marriage and family life in the archdiocesan mutually shared vision all complement each other, said Baucum.

Thus, the end result of Family Week will not only be personal enrichment, but also the establishment of marriage and family life ministries in parishes.

“One of the reasons we presented [‘Endgame’] to so many members of the archdiocese was the idea of bringing our Communio support to individual parishes across the archdiocese,” said DeGance.

“Our hope is to see 10-15 partnerships across the 104 parishes of the archdiocese begin implementing our model and vision — to equip individual parishes to be the hub for healthy relationships and marriages in their communities, which is the most effective way in the 21st century to evangelize and spread the Gospel.”

If approved by the archdiocese, this work will begin in late June and be implemented by September. To see DeGance’s “Endgame” presentation on Feb. 26 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas, go online to: livestream.com/archkck/live/videos/229867022.

The cost to attend Family Week is $275 per adult and $170 per child, with the family cost capped at $890. Scholarships are available.

To register for Family Week, apply for scholarships and get conference information, go online to: Benedictine.edu/events/family-week/index, or for information, call the Center for Family Life at (800) 467-5340.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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