by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The wounded walk among us. You may not see them or their wounds, but they are hidden in plain sight.
These wounded are the adult children of parents who are divorced, separated or never married. The broken relationships of their parents affect them still.
But thanks to the ministry Life-Giving Wounds, these individuals are finally getting the help they need.
The archdiocesan office of marriage and family life has invited Life-Giving Wounds to hold a weekend retreat, Feb. 24-26, at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
The retreat offers help to adults whose parents had broken relationships to give voice to their pain and find spiritual healing through this peer-led ministry.
“There certainly is a need for this retreat,” said Brad DuPont, consultant for the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life. “I know from personal experience that divorce has an impact on children.
“I personally am looking forward to attending the retreat, coming from a family whose parents are divorced, and I think it will help me address those wounds and to be a better husband and father.”
Life-Giving Wounds, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in the Washington, D.C., area, was founded by Daniel Meola, director and chairman, and his wife Bethany, vice president of operations.
Daniel has a doctorate in the theology of marriage and family, and Bethany has a master’s of theology degree. Both spouses earned their degrees from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington. Life-Giving Wounds grew out of work done at the institute.
The ministry offers retreats, establishes support groups through local chapters, provides online ministry and outreach, offers both print and online resources, gives presentations, and does leader training and consultation.
The retreat will also see the launch of a local chapter. Life-giving Wounds has 10 chapters in 12 dioceses — some dioceses share chapters. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas chapter will be the 11th chapter and 13th diocese.
“The first part of our mission is to give voice to the pain of adult children of divorce and separation,” said Daniel. “When we say ‘separation,’ it refers to all kinds of separations, like cohabitation dissolution, parent abandonment, unmarried parents, parents who received a declaration of nullity and even high-conflict homes.”
The pain is ubiquitous and has been normalized in society. In other words, people are just supposed to move on. The wounds, however, are real.
“We explore that pain in a constructive atmosphere,” said Daniel. “This is important because we don’t know how we’ve been affected. There is a well-documented ‘sleeper effect’ that doesn’t rear its head until adulthood.”
The retreat explores six common aspects of the wound: silence, identity, faith, the pursuit of love, unforgiveness, unhealthy family dynamics and the meaning of suffering in a Christian context.
The three-day retreat will include small group discussion, prayer, eucharistic adoration, music, confession and a closing Mass on Feb. 26. Father Dan Morris and Deacon Steve Nguyen will be at the retreat.
Craig Soto II, a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood, attended a Life-Giving Wound retreat while in Denver in 2021. He’ll be part of the team as a small group leader and speaker at the upcoming retreat.
“It’s not like a self-help retreat, where you simply talk about the things that we’ve experienced, although there is some of that,” said Soto. “I think the most important thing is how we are inviting Jesus into our wounds that we’ve experienced from our parents’ divorce.
“That’s where we can find true healing — where I found healing myself. And we allow ourselves to trust Jesus and bring him in the areas that we are really protective of: those deep, dark places.”
The cost to attend is: $75 for one registrant commuting; $145 for one registrant with two nights in a double room; and $175 for one registrant for two nights in a single room. Scholarships are available. For information about scholarships, call Brad DuPont at (913) 647-0301. To register online, go to: archkck.org/lgw/.
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