Donna Petrocelli - Program Director

After my marriage of 46 years ended, I knew I needed help rebuilding my life and desired to find something more substantial than a three-day retreat weekend. Unable to find what I looked-for within the Catholic Church, I attended a 12-week session of Divorce Care, presented by a local protestant church. Although it offered the necessary fundamentals, one major element was lacking; the Christian teachings were not those of my own faith tradition. My heart ached when I heard of couples I knew in my parish who were divorcing and leaving the Church. I sensed God was calling me to provide something that would impart insights for managing the devastation of divorce, but it was vital to find something faith-based.
Armed with a background and education in ministry, I began my ministerial and spiritual mission. With the assistance of my pastor, we discovered The Catholic’s Divorce Survivor Guide, similar to the Divorce Care program but specifically for Catholics.
In the fall of 2013, I held my first session and twelve people quickly responded. Recently, I met with our new Bishop, Thomas Daly and he was more than receptive to have this pastoral program be offered to Catholic divorcees in his diocese. Bishop Daly reiterated how well this pastoral program conforms to the Pope’s desire to enlighten Catholics who are estranged or unaware of the teaching of the Church on divorce, as well as how well it dove-tails his declaration for “A Year of Mercy”.

“It is my hope and prayer that this program grows throughout the diocese so that more parishioners and those who have left the Church following a divorce, can experience it and be blessed by it.”

Rose Sweet - Author

The author of the video series is Rose Sweet. She is also the author of seven books, an expert on divorce issues and formerly with the San Bernardino Marriage Tribunal.

The weekly sessions are comprised of a combination of video seminars, presented by Catholic priests, theologians and divorced laity. Participants will spend time sharing their thoughts and experiences that relate to the video. A safe environment is established within the context of the weekly sessions so that every participant can be vulnerable and share their struggles without fear of judgement or reprisal.

“It is so wonderful to know that as a divorced Catholic, I am accepted by the Church and need not be ashamed of myself in any way, and that God loves me.”