The Diocese of Owensboro Office of Marriage & Family Life is excited to announce they are a recipient of a $10,000 matching grant from the Catholic Marriage Initiatives Fund to be used specifically to expand existing marriage ministries or implement brand new marriage ministries in the diocese.
“Marriage ministry is a powerful tool for discipleship and evangelization,” says Danny May, Director of Marriage & Family Life for the Diocese of Owensboro. “When we say ‘marriage ministry’, we mean both marriage preparation and marriage enrichment.”
According to their website, the purpose of the Catholic Marriage Initiatives Fund is “to dramatically increase the availability of and participation in high quality Catholic Marriage Ministries throughout the United States. We do this by empowering U.S. dioceses and parishes to implement high quality marriage ministries that are balanced between vision, skills, and support, across all the ages and stages of the marital life-cycle. In this way, we are assisting and empowering the local Church to operationalize the Gospel by teaching people how to love.”
Every diocese in the United States had the opportunity to apply for a matching grant of up to $50,000 to be spread over a three year period. The Diocese of Owensboro was one of five dioceses to receive an initial $10,000 award in January of 2022, which makes them eligible for additional $20,000 matching grants in 2023 and 2024.
The Office of Marriage & Family Life will use the grant to implement a three year project called Living the Joy of Marriage, which will focus on building stronger marriages in the Diocese of Owensboro by inviting married couples into on-going marriage enrichment models in both English and Spanish, offering skills-based workshops to any couple in the diocese, and introducing two new crisis support ministries.
“Pope Francis is calling us as dioceses and parishes to lay a pathway for married couples to continually grow together and here in the Diocese of Owensboro we do that in three phases: 1) cultivating or preparing well; 2) invigorating new marriages and keeping good marriages healthy; and 3) rejuvenating marriages that need healing or restoration,” said Danny May. “Our approach is to provide a balance between Catholic vision, life-long learning and practical skills, and on-going support through all stages and phases of marriage.”
The four ministry areas the grant will fund in 2022 are Grace Marriage, Banqueta de Boda, Life Giving Wounds, and Red Bird Ministries. Currently, there are 50 couples in the diocese participating in Grace Marriage, which is an on-going, parish-based discipleship model for married couples in English. The plan is to double the number of groups and participating couples in 2022. Banquete de Boda is a one-day marriage retreat which was offered in Spanish in several locations around the diocese before the pandemic shut everything down. The plan is to resume those retreats in 2022 and offer four more Banquete de Boda retreats across the diocese. Life Giving Wounds is a new healing ministry for those affected by their parent’s divorce or separation. Red Bird Ministries is a ministry for parents affected by the loss of a child. A portion of the grant funding will be used to cover start-up costs to bring Life Giving Wounds and Red Bird Ministries to the Diocese of Owensboro in 2022 and make them available to any parish in the diocese in 2023.