Written By Bobbie Jo Baier
If you look around, it is obvious that strong marriages and family life seem to be deteriorating right in front of us. Pope John Paul II said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” We all know that marriage and family life isn’t always beautiful and easy. It is usually messy and hard work.
But just because life and relationships become difficult doesn’t mean that we stand down and let the world tell us to let go, move on, and think only of our own happiness. I believe, instead, that is precisely the time when we should stand up and fight for our marriages and families and to resist the negativity coming at us that points us to total self-reliance, selfishness and accepting the easy way out.
- Since 1970, the marriage rate has dropped 61% (National Vital Statistic Reports).
- In 1970, one out of every 112 Catholic weddings was a Sacramental wedding. Currently, one out of every 460 Catholic weddings is a Sacramental wedding.
- In 1970, 40% of children came from a home with married parents. In 2021, 17.8% of children came from a home with married parents (US Census Bureau). 54% of children born in the US reach their 17th birthday without a married mom and dad in the home (Catholic University of America).
- This is the first time since the Gallop poll has been keeping track that the majority of Americans do not belong to a religious body. (Spring 2021) In 2021, 47% belonged to a house of worship.
Collapse of faith is the effect of the collapse of the family. As a church, I believe we have come to a time and place where we need to step up and support each other. Although these statistics are alarming, Ascension is trying to help. We offer the following ministries: baptism classes, Mothers of Young Children (0 years to 2nd grade), Mother’s Circle (mothers of teens and young adults), Fathers of St. Joseph, Marriage Preparation classes, Introduction to Natural Family Planning classes, Becoming One (engaged and newly married group), parenting and marriage enrichment classes to include Single and Raising Saints, BeDADitudes, Beloved and upcoming date nights for couples.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS offers Marriage Encounter retreats to assist couples in every stage of life to discover the spirituality of their marriage. Retrouvaille, also through the Archdiocese, is a group ministry offering couples in troubled marriages the opportunity to rediscover themselves, their spouse and a loving relationship in their marriage.
The Church of the Ascension also provides support for those dealing with divorce. In the Spring of 2023, the Surviving Divorce class will resume, while Called to Love Again provides ongoing opportunities and support. Please check out the Church of the Ascension website for additional Marriage and Family Life resources.