CatholicMatch Gives: Help Divorced Catholics Find Hope


Our parish pastor recently took time during his homily to tell us about a mission trip he had taken to Guatemala.

He told heartwarming stories of how he and the other missionaries cleaned and cared for the homeless in the town they visited. He ended by detailing the need for all of us to be aware of people who were suffering; to make time for them and be generous in helping them.

I wanted so much to stand up and shout, “Wait! You don’t have to go to Guatemala – just look around you! There are people right here who are suffering through a divorce and no one is doing anything for them! They’re around us every day, trying to find healing and rebuild their lives!”

There are many, many ways to suffer in this world, but I believe that the men, women and children who suffer through the tragedy of divorce are truly the walking wounded of our society. Their battlefield, the home, is the very place that should be an oasis of familial love and tranquility, and the wars they are forced to fight are cruel and unusual punishment.

When a spouse dies, crowds gather, flowers are sent, condolences offered, meals prepared. But when a divorce occurs, it is not typical that any of those supportive actions take place.

There are many reasons why divorces occur and in nearly all cases, one spouse did not want the divorce and fought to save the marriage. However, the no-fault divorce laws in each state virtually guarantee that if one spouse wants a divorce it will happen.

With the divorce rate among Catholics being equal to that of the rest of society, it has become obvious that we have a huge problem: a community of men, women, and children within the church who are suffering tremendously because of divorce and are largely left to fend for themselves.

A journey to hope

That’s why DivorcedCatholic.Org was created, to bring accurate information, support and healing to those families affected by the devastation of divorce.

At DivorcedCatholic.Org, we offer accurate information about the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding divorce and the truth about the healing that can be found there through books, DVDs, podcasts, blogs, a discussion forum and much, much more. Most notably, however, we have the Journey of Hope 2011 conference, an annual international event that is very powerful in helping divorced Catholics. The healing that takes place at this event is truly a gift of the Holy Spirit.

We offer the sacraments and Eucharistic Adoration for most of the weekend. Our speakers this year are Father Thomas Williams, LC, ThD, author of many books; Johnnette Benkovic, EWTN’s host of Women of Grace and Living His Life Abundantly; Father Tony Palazzolo, pastoral consultant for the diocese of St. Augustine, Fla.; Yvonne Marchese, executive director of Catholics Come Home; and many more.

Every year, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta celebrates Sunday Mass for us, delivering an incredible sermon full of the wisdom and encouragement that comes from such a compassionate shepherd of Christ’s flock.

The only drawback is the cost of the event. Many people are unable to afford even $30. Last year we had many people attend because of the generosity and graciousness of others who donated funds, and this year, we are hoping that there will be others to do the same. We’ve already received many requests for scholarships.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for anything you can give.

Editor’s note

Here’s how you can support

  • Every comment you leave on this post allocates $1.
  • Every tweet gives $1.
  • Every Facebook “like” gives $0.25.

CatholicMatch Gives” will cap at $1,000 and end with Epiphany on Jan. 6. So act now and spread the word! (And when you do, be sure to introduce people to our new blog for Catholic singles.)



  1. Ajeer-592775 December 13, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Lisa.

  2. Paul-929810 December 8, 2013 Reply

    Jess C has hit the nail right on its head.

    I was alone and an outcast when my wife walked out on me and took her 2 children – I was devastated and heart broken, genuinely – my heart was broken into tiny little pieces.

    I try to remain true to Christ’s teaching and generally see the so called annulment process a bit of a cop out – also a good earner for the Church – they certainly know how to charge for that so called concession – we await another Martin Luther to accuse us of selling, not indulgences this time but annulments.

    I’m not sure how my life will work out, I hate being single and somewhere is Scripture it says that ;”it is not good for man to be alone”, but in a way I have forfeited the right simply because my wife wanted out. But then Christ’s teaching is very clear. What a difficult world we live in, and an unsympathetic one too especially when the advice is such as ‘work as a volunteer in a soup kitchen’. That might be good advice and it might give some sort of temporary relief, but I did that for 3 years and now that’s run out of funding!

    Roll on death – de-mob’s too far away. Paul

  3. Jeff C. October 15, 2013 Reply

    Those who want to remain faithful to Christ’s teaching that marriage is permanent and that divorcing and remarrying amounts to adultery, and yet must survive a divorce they didn’t want (sometimes neither party wants it, but despite desperately trying in counseling they still fail to get along), are standing against a society that tells them that life is worthless without romantic love and without (gasp) sex. It really is a kind of martyrdom – not to overdramatize it, but we have to exclude ourselves from what mainstream culture says is the primary purpose of life, and says without which no one can be happy. It requires one to believe in what God promised us, a happy and full life, when the world around us is telling us that this is just what we are throwing away.

    And unfortunately, even in the Church, there is another variant of the same message. If you can find Catholics who remain faithful to the faith (that is often a task, with Catholics almost as often telling us that we are fools to give up the prospect of a second spouse), they still tend to subscribe to the idea that meaningful life means either being a vowed celibate, being married, or preparing for one or the other. Of course, as divorced Catholics who want to remain faithful, we cannot be any of those things.

    We want healing. And we would benefit greatly from some reassurance that our often painful choice to hold true to Christ’s teaching really means something. We stand up and take a beating for the Church. We really want a place in it.

    Love to all.

  4. Ken-663834 January 16, 2011 Reply

    I hope everyone comments to:
    -offer support for those lives who are forever changed from divorce and to help them attend such an event to obtain healing
    -for those who fight to keep their marriages intact

  5. Jeff B. January 11, 2011 Reply

    This is an important topic and I am grateful to CatholicMatch and their support of the upcoming conference. Let us also remember to keep the Conference participants and all those suffering and in pain as the result of divorce in our prayers.

  6. Ingrid-318891 January 11, 2011 Reply

    Didn’t realize this support existed. I am glad that this is here for us.

  7. Carolyn-672138 January 10, 2011 Reply

    In some ways divorce has felt worse than deeling with a death. Especially when it is due to one spouse having committed adultery after many years of marriage. The rollercoaster of emotions drags on for a long time. The way back to God is through a broken heart. This is true in my case.

  8. Angela-11187 January 10, 2011 Reply

    Divorce causes so much suffering. What a wonderful and needed ministry. I didn’t see where the conference is being held, though?

  9. Amanda R. January 9, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for advocating for those of us wounded by divorce. I have found the forums on to be wonderfully encouraging and inspiring. If you feel lonely, like no one in your parish or among your friends understands what you are going through, or if you need spiritual support to live through divorce and become closer to God through it all, then visit the forum. You are sure to be uplifted and encouraged by the many words of hope and deep spirituality.

  10. Johanne-560389 January 8, 2011 Reply

    .Thank you! Thank you! for expressing so eloquently how we, survivors of divorce, are left to fend for ourselves. When a loved one dies, that is an honorable death. Divorce is like a death, but there is no honor. The Church must address this issue, from it’s grass roots. We need concrete support and ways of rebuilding our lives and families. Thank you for expressing our hurts thru words.

  11. Karen C. January 7, 2011 Reply

    Good news!

  12. Pete T. January 7, 2011 Reply

    Such a wonderful resource for those in need.

  13. Robert-3483 January 6, 2011 Reply

    The Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried – John Paul II to the Pontifical Council for the Family – January 24, 1997

  14. Judith A. January 6, 2011 Reply

    Not only is this a great ministry for divorced catholics, but a where true healing takes place through the grace of the Holy Spirit! I am thankful to have been part of this ministry in Atlanta, Ga.

  15. Karen T. January 6, 2011 Reply

    A much needed-fundraiser for a much-needed ministry!

  16. Rhonda F. January 6, 2011 Reply

    What a great cause! This support is desperately needed to help victims of divorce recover and find healthier happier relationships! Keep up the fantastic work!

  17. Denise H. January 6, 2011 Reply

    This ministry helps me every day.

  18. Patrick-82751 January 3, 2011 Reply

    I could have used this 5 years ago. Now at 38, my ex wife (not Catholic) and I get along fabulously with no drama. But the fact I don’t have my wife and my daughter with me 24/7 still hurts at times, especially this time of year. She lives with a guy now (very nice guy) and I don’t condone that. My daughter goes to mass every Sunday with me and is 10 now. My parents just celebrated 49 years of marriage the day after Christmas. Getting divorced is brutal when you were raised like I was. My ex’s parents divorced after almost 20 years, then remarried and divorced. The only way I was able to get through the loss of my family was to pray, pray and pray some more. Thanks for my Rosary. It would have been great to have other Catholics to talk to who were going through a similar experience. My only saving grace is that my divorce was probably one of the most amicable there could ever be. May God Bless those going through a divorce, especially our fellow Catholics.

  19. Tim M. January 3, 2011 Reply

    Fantastic work and greatly needed. Keep it up!

  20. Elsie R. January 3, 2011 Reply

    This is a very generous thing to do. I appreciate the those who have been divorced will have the opportunity to attend this conference because of our actions. Those of us who have been divorced or know of a family who has been impacted by divorce can make this difference for others. Thanks for providing us this opportunity.

  21. Jim-647865 January 3, 2011 Reply

    this is great site. It has helped me in more ways than I can list. I can now start to heal. Thanks for all the help and prayers.

  22. Kwaku-654846 January 2, 2011 Reply

    True that, divorce is often overlooked as a major problem!

  23. Betty B. January 2, 2011 Reply

    A great source of support. I especially like getting the daily messages in my email. Betty

  24. OJ-415586 January 1, 2011 Reply

    This is great, There are many suffering from divorce that need help and support

  25. Grethel H. December 31, 2010 Reply

    I attended Journey of Hope conference in Atlanta, GA. I learned how to live out a HOLY DIVORCE, where there was no bitterness in me at all, thanks to Our Lady’s intercession, daily rosary and daily Mass. Being fed at the Conference with truly Catholic teachings among other wonderful Catholic divorcees made me feel part of God’s Church more than ever.

  26. Patricia D. December 31, 2010 Reply

    Such a great ministry to help so many who are suffering from divorce.

  27. Meg McDonnell
    Meg McDonnell December 31, 2010 Reply

    A beautiful and needed ministry. “Wait! You don’t have to go to Guatemala – just look around you! There are people right here who are suffering through a divorce…” How true!

  28. Sarah L. December 31, 2010 Reply

    God bless you for this much needed outreach to those in need of God’s compassion and hope!

  29. Karen-593713 December 31, 2010 Reply

    This is a wonderful ministry! Thank you, Lisa, for your ever-encouraging words. And for bringing a much-needed resource to the divorced community!

  30. Valerie D. December 31, 2010 Reply

    Great ministry!

  31. Marianne S. December 31, 2010 Reply

    A GREAT cause! Thanks, Lisa.

  32. Linda H. December 31, 2010 Reply

    as someone who is going through a divorce I looked to find some kind of support but the only thing I found was a vague group more than an hour away. Even going to the diocese website made it hard to find any information on surviving a divorce while remaining true to my Catholic faith. The Church needs a stronger ministry to the divorced.

    • Joann-451185 January 7, 2011 Reply

      I definitely agree that the Catholic church needs some good support groups for everyone who is going thru adivorce or separation !! There is 1 group Divorced & Separated Catholics but it just deals with the social end of it…some of them use it as a way to meet people which is good but they do need a recovery program and also a program which gives you info on anullments ect/////

  33. Debbie L. December 31, 2010 Reply

    Such an important gift — I could have used something like this years ago!

  34. Stacey-101742 December 31, 2010 Reply

    I was watching Women of Grace this morning on EWTN , and it just so happened the show had this topic on with 2 separate people on there , one man and one woman who have started support groups that are structured to give the necessary help for those struggling going through a divorce and every thing they mentioned was exactly what I went through , word for word . It was the first time in 16 years some one else seemed to repeat the pains of loss, death, grief and walking by faith and in darkness because of all the clouded emotions of failure and shame that are associated with divorce when you are a catholic . Especially when you took your vows sincerely !
    16 years ago , I was completely all alone in it , raising 3 kids and trying to keep my home while being abandoned , my financial life dropped about 50 thousand dollars and I was immediately in poverty because when my now ex and I got married we agreed I would stay home and be there for our family and my husband . And I did what I said I would do . I worked hard . And after 16 1/2 years of marriage , my now ex came home and said I don’t love you anymore, can’t stand the sight of you and I want a divorce . ( lied about having a relationship with a Kathleen ) … My kids had to tell me about her . And they were 3 , 7, and 10 at that time and traumatized as well . Our whole family was in shock for a long time . I was numb . When I went to my Parish Priest , he said, well what are you going to do , its happening every where. What a shame . That was my support !!! I never felt so alone in my life . So support for this is wonderful for all those suffering and numb . God Bless to all.

  35. Lisa-2533 December 31, 2010 Reply

    What a great way to reach out to an often forgotten group!

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