According to www.lifegivingwounds.org, the Life-Giving Wounds heart was hand-drawn by the artist Michael Corsini, a member of their traveling retreat team. “It depicts a wounded heart with a large central wound coursing throughout the middle and fraying the heart… The wound cuts deep and affects the whole. However, notice that the wound is in the shape of a winding, frayed path to the cross of Christ, which is mysteriously present in this heart. This wounded path indicates that our wounds can be unique, intimate pathways to Christ’s very own loving heart.” COURTESY OF LIFE GIVING WOUNDS
Life Giving Wounds Ministry coming to diocese
New retreat ministry serves adult children of divorce
BY DANNY MAY, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
Let’s do a quick, informal poll here: How many people reading this paper right now are adults whose parents are divorced or separated? Or, how many of you reading this article have friends or family members whose parents have been divorced? My guess is that’s a lot of people. Thankfully, the Office of Marriage & Family Life has come across a healing ministry called Life Giving Wounds that is specifically intended for adult children of divorce.
According to Dr. Daniel and Bethany Meola, founders of Life Giving Wounds, millions of Americans are adult children of divorce or separation, and one quarter of all young adults are adult children of divorce – an experience that has deep effects on a person’s identity, faith and relationship with God, future relationships, and more.
“Life-Giving Wounds exists to bring God’s healing to the many wounds experienced by adult children of divorce or separation,” said Bethany Meola, co-founder and vice president of Life-Giving Wounds. “We acknowledge their pain, we grieve with them, and we want to accompany them on the healing journey to reclaim their identity as a child of God, capable of great love, faith, hope, and joy.”
The retreat presentations are delivered by trained leaders who are adult children of divorce themselves. Topics including forgiveness, family boundaries, dealing with anger and anxiety, building strong relationships as an adult child of divorce, addressing wounds to one’s identity and faith, and more. The small group sessions, which are led by trained peer leaders, are an opportunity for attendees to connect with other adult children of divorce who understand the challenges of their situation and can provide support and encouragement.
Several parishioners from the Diocese of Owensboro have experienced a Life Giving Wounds retreat online, but the long-term goal is to launch the retreat ministry here in the Diocese of Owensboro and offer in-person retreats beginning in 2022. To do that, we are partnering with the Diocese of Evansville to bring the Meolas into our diocese to train and equip a local team to present future retreats here. As part of the retreat process, follow-up groups and occasional social events will also be organized to support participants after the weekend.
If you are interested in learning more about the ministry and/or attending an online retreat, visit www.lifegivingwounds.org.
If you’re interested in helping launch this ministry here in our diocese, consider this your invitation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (270) 852-8336. We have one year to recruit a small team of volunteers, including a priest and a counselor, preferably who are adult children of divorce themselves.
Danny May is the director of the Diocese of Owensboro’s Office of Marriage & Family Life. Learn more at owensborodiocese.org/office-of-marriage-family-life.
Originally printed in the October 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.