From the Office of Marriage & Family
How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege? By Claire Cain Miller @clairecm SEPT. 25, 2017 printed in New York Times

Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.

Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.

Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults ages 18 to 55 are married, according to a research brief published from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America.

Note: One of the photographs Norman Rockwell used as a reference to paint “Marriage Counselor.”Credit Bill Scovill II, via the Norman Rockwell Museum Collections
The Heart of Christian Marriage

Fifteen married couples joined Pope Francis for a Mass in Casa Santa Marta in celebration of marriages lasting 25, 50, and 60 years. During his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the three pillars of the spousal relationship: faithfulness, perseverance, and fruitfulness. Pope Francis described these pillars as the “three loves of Jesus”: for the Father, for His mother, and for the Church. These three pillars are exemplified in the love of Christ for the Church, His Bride, but are also at the heart of Christian marriage.

About the pillar of faithfulness he stated, Christ’s faithful love for the Church “is a faithful love,” said the Holy Father. “It is a persevering love. He never tires of loving his Church. It is a fruitful love. It is a faithful love. Jesus is the faithful one. St. Paul, in one of his Letters, says that, if you confess Christ, He will confess you, before the Father; if you deny Christ, He will deny you; even if you are not faithful to Christ, He remains faithful, for he cannot deny Himself! Fidelity is the essence of Jesus’ love. Jesus’ love in His Church is faithful. This faithfulness is like a light on marriage. The fidelity of love. Always.”
Forgiveness: Healing the Hurts in Marriage
On our 25th wedding anniversary, Neil and I celebrated with our faith community at Mass. By chance the Gospel was the parable of the prodigal son, but it probably wasn’t chance at all! This story is often applied to parents and children, but as I listened, I heard our journey in marriage.

I remembered one of our sons saying that the father didn’t just happen to be on the hill that day, that he went out every day and watched the road, waiting to forgive. In many ways this is what happens in marriage. We become road watchers. Marriage involves
waiting, sometimes through real or emotional distance, sometimes through deep hurts, and it calls us to seek and offer forgiveness.
  1. Are you a vehicle (e.g. supportive, helpful, understanding) or a roadblock (e.d. impatient, critical, unkind) in your spouse’s journey to heaven?
  2. When your spouse shows you a sign toward heaven (e.g. invite you to pray, is kind to you, helps you accomplish a task) do you receive this sign with open arms or do you reject them?
  3. When your spouse becomes a roadblock on your path to heaven, do you reach out and bring him/her back on the path to heaven or are you condemning in any way?
Share This Reflection from the Alexander House
Just Write Messages on Mirrors
From National Center for Fathering
One Great Way to Affirm Your Daughter by Michelle Watson, PhD, LPC
I forget what age I was when I heard my first nursery rhyme, but there is one in particular that is burrowed deep into my memory bank like a steel nail into softened wood: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

This quote, as you probably remember, comes from the fairy tale Snow White. Every day Snow White’s stepmother would ask the mirror this infamous question. And though at first glance it might seem like a benign inquiry, I believe it powerfully illustrates the way a woman often determines whether or not she feels beautiful or adequate. She tends toward asking this power-packed question of inanimate objects, as if they were the judge and jury, be it a mirror on the wall or the number on a scale or the size marked on the back of her jeans. No human interaction necessary.
Expectant Joy: A Prayer of the Domestic Church Celebrating the Gift of Life -
 R eview of a new book from
When I was in the second half of my thirties and my two children were bracketing their tenth birthdays, I felt a growing desire for daily prayer with Scripture. Figuring my parents would know where to buy the Liturgy of the Hours, since my dad was a permanent deacon who prayed the Hours, or Divine Office, I put that prayer book on my Christmas wish list. The Liturgy of the Hours is a principle form of Church liturgical prayer through which clergy, consecrated religious, and many lay people sanctify their day. Ever since I unwrapped my parents’ gift on Christmas Eve, I have been praying Morning and Evening Prayer, the two most significant Hours, and sometimes Daytime and Night Prayer.
Thirteen Reasons Why is one of the most recent media blockbusters of the growing film company Netflix and in the past few weeks it has become an ideal product of consumption for lovers of “binge-watching”. In essence the American series can be classified as a brilliant adaptation of the best-seller by Jay Asher of the same title, published in 2007. Its social impact is also considerable, since its excellent narrative unfolds through thirteen chapters with their respective ascending tone. In them, director Brian Yorkey tells us the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Lagford), a teenager who has made the decision to take her own life, leaving as a testament thirteen audio-cassettes in which she explains the reasons that caused her to take the fatal step of suicide. It appears to me that from the aforementioned tragedy there can be drawn three reflections which can be used to “inoculate” those interested in delving into this emotionally painful series. 
Respect Life
40 Days for Life Campaign through Nov 4
40 Days for Life Ending Rally is Saturday November 4 - from 10 am to noon on the sidewalk n front of Planned Parenthood, East St. Germain

For more information, e-mail Judy Haag at or call at 320-453-7592
Mother Teresa’s 5 Lessons for Pro-Life People From LifeNews by Alithea Williams 
Mother Teresa is best known for her work among the poorest of the poor, caring for “all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society” in the slums of Calcutta. By her death in 1997 the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, had grown from a 13-member Calcutta congregation to more than 4,000 sisters who managed orphanages, AIDS hospices and charity centres worldwide, caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine.
Natural Family Planning
Do you know God’s plan for your marriage?
Natural Family is a reliable and trustworthy way to regulate fertility, is easy to learn, and can be a source of unity for couples.  To be sure, using NFP requires sacrifice and patience, but sacrifice and patience are not obstacles to love, they are a part of love itself. Used correctly, NFP forms gentle, generous husbands, and selfless, patient wives. It can become a school of virtuous and holy love.

A First Instruction in the Billings Ovulation Method will be offed in:

  • Little Falls: Tuesday, November 7 & December 5 at 7:30 PM
  • Long Prairie: Monday, November 27 at 7:00 PM & December (call to schedule)
  • Rice: Monday, November 6 & December 4 at 6:30 PM
  • St. Cloud: Thursday, November 30 & December 21 at 6:30 PM
  • St. Michael: Monday, November 13 & December 11 at 6:00 PM
  • Wadena: Friday, November 24 & December 22 at 5:30 PM
The Giddy Appeal of Humanae Vitae by Rick Becker
We live in a world beset by sexual confusion, and all Christians need to be knowledgeable regarding the Church’s tradition of biblical teaching in this area.
Has Natural Family Planning been a blessing for your marriage? Join our NFP Witness Couple Program!
Couples often tell us that NFP brings joy and blessings to their marriage and family life. We'd like to add a few more faith-filled couples to our NFP Witness Couple Program. Would you be willing to speak for 10-15 minutes about the benefits of NFP in marriage? You can choose to present to just a few couples during our regular NFP classes, or take on the challenge of presenting to a larger group at our Diocesan Marriage Courses. Learn more about this important and rewarding ministry on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 7:00 PM at the Pastoral Center in Saint Cloud. For more information or to register contact Sheila Reineke, NFP Program Coordinator, at or call 320.258.7609
Tips on Teaching Your Kids About Sex
 from Abstinence Clearinghoouse
Our culture paints a tremendously tainted version of sexuality. Blaring messages thrown around on TV, social media, and billboards must be challenged and confronted in the home. Our culture is not ashamed to talk about sexuality; therefore, parents cannot afford to be ashamed to address sexuality in the home.

How you pursue and model relationships in your own life is a great start to teaching your children about healthy relationships. Ultimately, portraying sex as a positive thing in the correct context is important. Here are two practice tips for teaching your children about sex:

1. Sex is not a bad thing.
The goal of purity is not to get rid of your desire for sex, but to manage your appetite for it. Saying no now means saying yes to better things in the future. Your sexuality is important. According to author and speaker Kris Vallotton, “the value of virginity is in the battle it took to keep it.” It gives something valuable; something to sacrifice and fight for, to give away to the one they love on their wedding night.

2. Teach your children to manage their desires from a young age.
This principle begins when they’re young! Think about how your kids threw a tantrum in the grocery store because you would not allow them to have the candy bar on the shelf. This is an opportunity to teach your child to manage this desire by telling them they need to wait until after dinner to have candy. This trains them in gratification delay, so that when they’re older they’ve already learned how to wait for good things. We can’t always get what we want when we want it, and every child needs to learn this lesson from a young age. It will only help as they manage their sexual appetite when they’re older.
The Lion is Not Safe
by Christina Mead from Life Teen 
“Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he… quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”)

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, I’ll give you the spark notes, snippet interpretation – Aslan is an allegory/image of God – the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5), the King of Kings – and he comes to save the world of Narnia from evil and darkness and eternal winter.

He is not safe… but he is good.

The way those words encapsulate the mystery of God’s love is so powerful to me. 
November 7 - Healing Hearts of Suicide Survivors
When a loved one has died by suicide, a group to work through the complex emotions with support and hope of other survivors who will walk alongside "through" the grief. For more information contact Roxann at (320) 248-1563
  Worldwide Marriage Encounter
Worldwide Marriage Encounter For more information, call Alan & Missy Block at 888-455-3496 or visit their web-site:
Retrouvaille Weekend
Retrouvaille weekend for couples struggling in their marriage. For more information, call 651-464-5855 or click here
Save the Date!!!
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Humanae vitae. To commemorate Blessed Pope Paul VI's encyclical, the Office of Marriage & Family is coordinating the Catholic Men's Conference and Catholic Women's Conference on this theme.

We are bringing in internationally known speakers for both events, both familiar with working with teens and young adults. Please consider sharing this information with your students and families.
Catholic Men’s

Men of Integrity: 
A Call to Responsibility

Saturday, February 3, 2018
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Humphrey Auditorium
St. John’s University

Damon Owens,  international speaker and evangelist, founder and executive director of  Joy To Be , the first executive director of the  Theology of the Body Institute , and served as Chairman of the 2016 International Theology of the Body Congress. Damon and his wife Melanie taught Natural Family Planning (NFP) for 14 years, and served as NFP Coordinators for the Archdiocese of Newark (NJ).  

Title of his talks:
  • "When a Man Loves a Woman"
  • "We are Missionaries of Joy"
Catholic Women’s Conference

  Why the Pope was Right:
A Day of Reflection

Saturday, March 10, 2018
9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Church of St. Anthony
2405 North 1 st  Street, St Cloud

Dr. Janet E. Smith, Ph.D  is   the author of  Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later  and of the  Right to Privacy.  She is serving a third term as a consulter to the Pontifical Council on the Family and serves the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Prof. Smith has appeared on many news shows plus various series on EWTN. More than 2 million copies of her talk, "Contraception: Why Not” have been distributed.  

Title of her talks:
  • “Why is Sex so Complicated?”
  • “Hormones R’ Us”