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In their statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. Catholic bishops urge Catholics to form their consciences through being open to truth, studying Scripture and Church teaching, examining facts and background information, and prayerful reflection (no. 18). Visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org to learn about the steps you can take to form your conscience and to watch videos, download podcasts, and access other great resources on conscience formation for faithful citizens.
Bishop Richard Pates has called the year beginning Oct. 19 to be the Year of Marriage & Family in the Diocese of Des Moines to celebrate and enrich marriages and focus on the needs of families, the foundation of our parishes, called the “domestic Church.”
More than half of the diocese’s parishes have already named representatives, or parish ambassadors, who will spread the word of diocesan events related to this special year and who will encourage parish-based events focusing on marriage and family.
The timing of the Year of Marriage & Family in the Diocese of Des Moines is perfect, given the year will be bookended by two major events at the Vatican that also focus on marriage and family. Preceding the diocesan special year is the Oct. 5-19 Extraordinary Synod, a meeting of Pope Francis, bishops, clergy and laypeople where challenges of marriage and family life will be discussed. At the end of the local Year of Marriage & Family, a meeting of bishops is expected to be held at the Vatican where proposals will be offered to Pope Francis for pastorally applying Church teaching in areas of marriage and family.
Just prior to the launch of the Year of Marriage & Family, the diocese hosted a pregnancy and infant loss retreat facilitated by Immaculate Hope Ministries. This retreat, held last weekend, was for couples who have experienced any type of pregnancy or infant loss and a chance for spouses to open the door to communication about their loss.
The official launch of the Year of Marriage & Family comes Sunday, Oct. 19 with a
2 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Pates at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High St. in Des Moines. All are invited. The Mass will include a renewal of vows and an anniversary blessing for those celebrating a milestone anniversary. Certificates of blessing are available for couples with a milestone anniversary. Contact Adam Storey, diocesan director of Marriage & Family Life at 515-237-5056 or email@example.com. Immediately after Mass, there will be a free carnival-themed gathering for families at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave. All are invited. At the celebration there will be information about various family and marriage ministries active in the diocese and related to upcoming events.
Several opportunities for couples to strengthen their marriages will be available throughout the year. Childcare will be provided for families with young children at these events.
Two marriage enrichment daylong retreats are already planned: Oct. 25 in Osceola and Oct. 26 in Greenfield. Contact Adam Storey for details.
Watch the diocesan website www.dmdiocese.org under Year of Marriage & Family for additional events.