Pope John Paul II tells us: “The prayer of families is their joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, birth and birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries of the parents, departures, separations and homecomings, important and far-reaching decisions, the death of those that are near” (Familiaris Consortio, #59). The Pope’s words describe so well the sacred moments in the life of a family and the life giving ministries of Family Life Education.  

Marriage Preparation

We help engaged couples prepare to enter into the permanent, loving commitment of the sacrament of marriage. Check our web site for the many options available to the engaged in all regions of our diocese. Workshops offered during a conference cover topics such as communication, finances, spirituality, adjustments, natural family planning and parenting. Diocesan marriage preparation conferences in the Western Region are now being held on Saturdays. Call (315) 472-6759 to hear an updated recording of the first conference available. We strive to provide couples with an experience wherein they realize the sacramental significance of relating to each other and to God.
Brand new on our web site is our outstanding five-session marriage preparation program for use by parish facilitators and mentor couples. The program is easy to use, guides the engaged to a deeper understanding of each other and the sacrament of marriage and is available in English and Spanish. Using this resource recharges, renews and reinvigorates work with the engaged.

Ministry to Separated/Divorced

Our mission is to heal the broken-hearted. We create a safe and welcoming environment where those who suffer through separation and divorce can find faith, hope, courage and unconditional love to heal and move forward.


• Nearly half of all marriages experience separation or divorce.
• The Syracuse Diocese Ministry to Separated/Divorced has been healing these wounds for over 25 years.
• Each year, hundreds of families are positively impacted throughour network of support groups, retreats, workshops, informational sessions and educational resources.
• We reach out to all families regardless of race, creed or religion.
• We have support groups that meet year-round on a regular basis throughout the diocese.

Our next major event is “A Day of Renewal” to be held at Christ the King Retreat House on Saturday, March 12, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The program features keynote speaker Father Michael Carmola. The theme is “Come Thirsty, Streams in the Desert.” The day offers choices of workshops on a variety of practical, helpful, enriching topics. The day closes with Mass. For more information or to register go to

Marriage Enrichment

The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Initiative focuses attention upon the urgency of building strong marriages. Treat yourself to a visit to the Bishops’ new website,
www.foryourmarriage.org. You will discover amazingly helpful marriage enhancers. Marriage is a journey with joys and sorrows, excitements and disappointments, enjoyments and challenges. Fortunately, marriage is a journey we make with the help of our spouse and our God. The time we give to our marriage is time so well spent. Caring for our marriage is ESSENTIAL. We offer many effective ways to strengthen marriage on our own website,

The Third Option

This marriage program strengthens, heals and saves struggling marriages through practical relationship skills, peer support and prayer so we have more intact, healthy and spiritually mature marriages. It is also great for couples who want to learn new ways to communicate, solve conflicts and handle differences. It’s practical, insightful and even fun and it operates on a donation basis. The program runs continuously every other Sunday evening, and reservations are not needed. Just come. The Diocese has two groups: Bishop Harrison Center, Syracuse and Good News Foundation, Utica.
See www.thethirdoption.com  or www.goodnewsfoundation.org.

Baptism and Parenting

Our publication A Holistic Approach to Infant Baptism offers a detailed roadmap for parish renewal. “This book on baptism, produced by many individuals with experience in the field, contains a wealth of practical ideas and suggestions for preparing and celebrating the sacrament. These will prove extremely helpful for pastoral ministries in keeping alive for some that barely flickering flame of faith and in deepening for others a faith that is already strong and flourishing” (Msgr. Joseph M. Champlin). Many parishes of our diocese find this manual to be a most valuable resource.
Our parenting ministry offers parish ministers and parents a wealth of information on faith development in the family as well as education regarding skills for developing a strong Christian family. Consultations and workshops are available for parish leaders. We also have the resources: Family Rituals & Traditions and Conversation Starters available.
The resources of our department come alive on our newly-enhanced website. Encouragement, information and resources are there for the taking at www.familylifeeducationsyracuse.org.  Also, we can be contacted by calling (315) 472-6754 or e-mailing familylifed@syracusediocese.org.
We close with these words from Pope John Paul II highlighting the significance of family: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”  We add to his thoughtful statement: … and so goes the Church.

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