Fostering a "marriage-building church" is the focus of a statewide convocation of Ohio's priests, to be held on November 5-6 in Columbus.
?The Catholic bishops of the United States have made marriages a top priority,? said the Most Rev. R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville and chairman of the committee planning the convocation. ?Most lay people are called by God into the married life, and we need to do more to support this wonderful vocation. This convocation will serve as a stepping stone that will strengthen many other marriage and family initiatives at the diocesan and parish levels.?
The convocation, believed to be the first statewide gathering of priests in Ohio, will emphasize the importance of marriage in the Church and in society. The theology and sacramentality of marriage, practical issues in contemporary culture and the church, and pastoral concerns regarding marriage that priests face in the parish will be addressed. The convocation also affords the priests opportunities to join together in prayer.
The gathering is sponsored by Ohio?s bishops as one means for implementing the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. During the convocation, priests and bishops will hear from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, chairman of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops? subcommittee on Marriage and Family Life and a principal author of the pastoral letter. Archbishop Kurtz will discuss the USCCB?s marriage initiative, what it means to be a ?marriage-building church,? and the particular role of the parish priest.
Also speaking will be two nationally recognized presenters on marriage and the family: Joann Heaney-Hunter, Ph.D., and Scott Stanley, Ph.D. Heaney-Hunter, a theologian and parish pastoral associate from New York, is the author of the marriage preparation program titled UNITAS. Stanley, a sociologist and researcher, is co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver.
The National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage is an effort of the United States bishops to bring Catholic belief into dialogue with contemporary needs in order to promote, strengthen, sustain, and restore marriages.
For more information, contact Carolyn Jurkowitz, Executive Director of the Catholic Conference of Ohio at (614) 224-7147.