The Office of Family Ministry works with parishes to provide a variety of services that support and minister to families, whether these families are traditional, single parent, blended, or extended. Many of these programs are focused on supporting couples. The Coordinator of Family Ministry, Charlene Bearden, may be contacted as follows: charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org or 601.960.8487.

Marriage Preparation

The main goal of marriage preparation is to assist engaged couples to fully understand the church’s beautiful vision of marriage and to equip them with the information and tools necessary to deal with day to day joys and struggles of married life. Each couple begins their marriage preparation process by contacting their local parish at least four months in advance, discerning which parish based or diocesan based marriage preparation program they will attend and discussing further requirements that are required on the local parish level. The following links are provided to assist couples in the wonderful experience of engagement. To begin the process, contact your Pastor, Deacon, Pastoral Associate, or Lay Ecclesial Minister.

Diocese of Jackson Marriage Policy

Diocesan Marriage Preparation Opportunities:

  • Engaged Encounter Weekend – Is a weekend offering couples the time and opportunity to question, examine and deepen their relationship with each other and with God. The Diocesan Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreats will resume the weekend of October 15-17, 2021 at Camp Garaywa & Conference Center in Clinton, MS. The following Engaged Encounter weekends are schedule for 2022: January 14-16, 2022; March 11-13, 2022; July 15-17, 2022; October 14-16, 2022. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Engaged.Encounter@jacksondiocese.org.
  • FOCCUS – Facilitating Open Couple Communication Understanding and Study. To participate in the FOCCUS program, please contact your Pastor, Deacon, Pastoral Associate, or Lay Ecclesial Minister.
  • A Redeeming State – Blended family engaged couples gather on Saturday or by weekday appointment to address blended family issues, of step-family structure and step parenting. For more information, please contact the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Charlene Bearden at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.
  • For Better & For Ever is designed to help couples reflect on topics they need to address before committing to a Christian marriage. The couple meets with a sponsor couple at pre-scheduled times. To begin this marriage preparation process, contact your Pastor, Deacon, Pastoral Associate, or Lay Ecclesial Minister. For additional information, please contact the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Charlene Bearden at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.

The Diocese of Jackson also offers the following helpful links:

  • For Your Marriage – United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website on Marriage Preparation and the living out the Sacrament of Matrimony.
  • Retrouvaille– The word Retrouvaille™ (pronounced re-tro-vi with a long i.) is a French word meaning rediscovery. The program offers tools needed to rediscover a loving marriage relationship. Thousands of couples headed for cold, unloving relationships or divorce have successfully overcome their marriage problems by attending the program. The Retrouvaille Program consists of a weekend experience combined with a series of 6-12 post-weekend sessions over 3 months. It provides the tools to help put your marriage in order again. The main emphasis of the program is on communication in marriage between husband and wife. It will give you the opportunity to rediscover each other and examine your lives together in a new and positive way.
  • USCCB

MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT

The Diocese is very aware of the demands placed on today’s families and how overwhelming life can be. The church has responded in creative and flexible ways in providing workshops and programs to assist couples that are working hard to live out the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Office of Family Ministry of the Diocese of Jackson works with parishes to provide a variety of services that support and minister to families, whether these families are traditional, single parent, blended or extended. Below you will find some of the programs offered:

  • REFOCCUS – A marriage enrichment program helping couples reflect on how their marriage has grown and changed, celebrating their strengths, and seeking healing in their struggles. To participate in REFOCCUS, please contact your Pastor, Deacon, Pastoral Associate, or Lay Ecclesial Minister.
  • Marriage and Family Counseling – The Solomon Counseling Center at Catholic Charities provides therapy to individuals, couples and families including play therapy for younger children. These services are based on a sliding scale. Please call Charlene Bearden at the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email her at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.
  • World Marriage Day (WMD): World Marriage Day is an annual Diocesan wide celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz in February. The celebration involves a Mass held at the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle in Jackson, with a wedding reception immediately following Mass. Couples celebrating 25, 50, and 60 years, and couples celebrating other significant anniversaries are honored. Parishes and missions are asked to submit names of those couples wanting to attend. Anyone is welcome to attend the World Marriage Day celebration. Honored couples are invited to bring their families. We ask parishes and missions to advertise the event in their bulletins in November, as the deadline for registration ends on December 31 of the year that is prior to the scheduled event year. For more information, please contact the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Charlene Bearden at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.
    • World Marriage Day (WMD): Mark your calendars! The Catholic Diocese of Jackson and the Office of Family Ministry is pleased to announce that the 2022 Diocesan World Marriage Day Celebration will be held Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 3:00 pm at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson, Mississippi. There will be a Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, with a reception immediately following. The Mass honors all married couples, but invites those celebrating their 25th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries, or any significant anniversary. Parish staff can Click here to print a copy of the couple registration form. Please return the couple registration form back no later than December 31, 2021 to charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.orgDetails:  Contact Charlene Bearden, Coordinator, Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487, or via email: charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.
  • Natural Family Planning (NFP) continues to be an important aspect of our diocesan marriage preparation and marriage support efforts. The Diocese of Jackson has made the following NFP program procedural changes: Going forward, parishes are responsible for all NFP instructor trainings, NFP overviews and classes, and all costs incurred for NFP purposes. 

DIVORCE SUPPORT

In every parish, there are some marriages struggling to survive. Sometimes, some of these marriages end in divorce. The first place most Catholics turn when confronted with divorce is to their own parish. The Office of Family Ministry of the Diocese of Jackson works with parishes to provide support and ministry for parishioners recovering from divorce.

  • Recovering from Divorce Parish Program – Is a parish program that supports parishioners recovering from divorce, by assisting them with learning and living their faith more fully. For more information, please contact the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Charlene Bearden at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.

RESPECT LIFE

Billboard states Choose Life Pray Pray Pray

JACKSON – A partnership between St. James parish Gulfport in the Diocese of Biloxi and the Office of Family Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson have brought billboards asking all to “Choose Life” throughout the state. The billboards are located in Jackson, Batesville, Natchez, Gulfport, Biloxi, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Ocean Springs, and Hattiesburg. The initiative has even reached Mobile, Alabama; Lafayette, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Dallas, Texas; Destin, Florida; and Columbia, South Carolina. Pictured is the billboard in Jackson .3 miles south of Briarwood Drive on the east side of I-55 North. (Photo courtesy of Charlene Bearden)

Human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception until natural death. From the first moment of existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270).

Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Jackson supports respect for life through a variety of services including its Parish Social Ministries Office, Adoption and Maternity Services, Domestic Violence Shelter, Solomon Counseling Center, Rape Crisis Services and more.

The Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Family Ministry also provides support to crisis pregnancy centers, pregnancy care centers via councils of the Knights of Columbus, as well as marriage and family support and outreach. For more information, please contact the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960- 8487 or email Charlene Bearden at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.