July 23, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 19
Bethany and Geoff Gasparini with their five children, including 2 day old Genevieve, who is in her father’s arms. The other children are “over-the-moon” at her arrival home the father told The Catholic Virginian. The four siblings are Matthew, 7; James, 3; Thomas, 5, and daughter, Mary Grace, 2.
New program to focus on Marriage, Family and Life
Bishop DiLorenzo has approved plans for a new initiative in the diocese known as the Center for Marriage, Family and Life.
He has appointed Father Michael Boehling, Vicar for Vocations and Vicar of Pastoral Services, to oversee the operation and structure of the new Center.
“Every individual, at some point in life is part of a family, and that family undergoes periods of transition and change during which people should be able to look to the Church for support,” Father Boehling said.
“The Center will become a central resource to collect and provide access to important pastoral resources to people within the diocese who are looking for physical, spiritual and emotional support, and to manage their way through these various life transitions and stages.”
In particular, the Center seeks to provide tools to strengthen and enrich Catholic and ecumenical marriages, various family situations, and the dignity of human life.
The “center” approach is the vision rather than that of a new Diocesan Office. An Advisory Board comprised of individuals with expertise in a variety of subjects pertinent to the goals of the Center has been organized.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS ARE:
- Deacon Mark Allison, at Saint Andrew, Roanoke
- Father Romeo Jazmin, Pastor of Prince of Peace in Chesapeake
- Father Daniel Beeman, Pastor of Holy Trinity, Norfolk
- Sheri Kemp, associate director, Office of Christian Formation
- Jay Brown, director, Office of Justice and Peace
- Joanne Nattrass, executive director, Commonwealth Catholic Charities
- Jeff Caruso, executive director, Virginia Catholic Conference
- Frank Nelson, Deacon candidate at Holy Rosary, Richmond
- Carl and Karen DeSpiegelaere, Worldwide Marriage Encounter Representatives
- Joan and Mike Nelson, parishioners at Saint Edward the Confessor, Richmond
- Jim and Sandy Dyk, previous coordinators of Marriage Formation
- Margaret (Margie) Robertson, former executive director, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia
- Geoff and Bethany Gasperini, parishioners at Saint Bridget, Richmond
- Andrea Sexton, parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Salem
- Guillermo Gonzalez, Deacon candidate at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Newport News
- Father Kenneth Shuping, Campus Minister, James Madison University
- Nita Grignol, director, Office of Persons with Disabilities
- Michael and Beth Siewers, parishioners at Saint Bridget, Richmond
- Chris and Jennifer Gross, parishioners at Saint Gregory the Great, Virginia Beach
- Dr. Jeffrey Staab, Judge and Promoter of Justice for Marriage Cases, Diocesan Office of the Tribunal
- Matt and Kimberly Hamrick, parishioners at Church of the Ascension, Virginia Beach
- Chris Tan, chief operating officer, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia
- Kevin Hogan, Deacon candidate at Saint Edward the Confessor, Richmond
- Brad and Danielle Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and parishioners at Saint Thomas Aquinas, Charlottesville.
The Advisory Board will set the overall vision and direction of the Center as it grows and develops. Existing Diocesan staff will facilitate the work of the board, implement the initiatives it puts forward, and run the day-to-day operations of the Center.
Jim and Sandy Dyk, of St. Edward Parish, Richmond, have volunteered their time as Coordinators of Marriage Formation in the Office of Marriage Formation since 2004. With the new Center for Marriage, Family and Life, all of the initiatives and programs supported by that office are now functions of the new Center.
Although the Office of Marriage Formation no longer exists in a formal fashion, the Dyks will be an integral part of the new Center as members of the Advisory Board.
“We are very thankful for the support and guidance so many have given us over the years as we worked in the Office for Marriage Formation,” Mr. and Mrs. Dyk said. “This is a great time in our Diocese as programs and services for engaged and married couples, families and parishes are supported, developed, and nourished.”
As part of the new structure, Michael F. School will serve as the executive director of the Center for Marriage, Family and Life in addition to his role as Director of the Office for Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults. Bert Drummond will serve as the director of Programs and Support for the new Center in addition to his role as Associate Director for Young Adults in the Office for Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults.
“One of the Center’s first initiatives will be to gather information on the good programs and areas of support that currently exist within the Diocese,” Mr. School said. “With that, we can better equip pastors, deacons, lay leaders, and families with quick access to the services they need and we can begin to identify and address the needs that are not currently being met.”
The Center for Marriage, Family and Life is developing a new website to house much of this information.
The website is www.richmonddiocese.org/cmfl and will be continually updated as the Center matures from infancy. The direct phone extension for the Center is 804-622-5109 and the direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.