Originally Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2013, 3:42 am
Last Updated: Aug. 24, 2013, 12:20 am

Divorced find care, support at St. Malachy program

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By Claudia Loucks, cjloucks@qconline.com

Photo: Claudia Loucks | correspondent
Shannon Carroll, left, Deacon Art Ries and Sharon McClain belong to a Divorce Care team at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Geneseo. A 13-week program begins Monday, Aug. 26, at the church, 595 E. Ogden Ave.

GENESEO -- She got remarried in 2010, but remained on a Divorce Care team at St. Malachy Catholic Church.

"I stay involved so I can help others through their journey," Shannon Carroll said.

She was divorced in 2007, she said."Divorce can be a very painful time in your life. We had been married nearly 13 years and had three children. My life as I knew it, changed and I knew I had to adjust."

After marrying Lance Carroll in 2010, she was asked by her son why she continued to go to the Divorce Care support group, and she said: "You get through the healing, but that doesn't mean all the pain is gone."

She treasured the support she got from her church and through its Divorce Care group and wanted to help ease the pain other people experience.

The Divorce Care program returns to St. Malachy's and will be offered in two 13-week sessions, beginning Monday, Aug. 26. Sessions will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays at the church, 595 E. Ogden Ave. A second 13-week session will be held in January on a different night of the week to be announced.

For information, call Deacon Art Ries at 309-945-9101 or St. Malachy's Church office at 309-944-5393.

Deacon Ries will lead the course, which will be co-presented by a group of church members who have experienced divorce or separation.

"Divorce Care is a confidential place where the people may come and say what they need to say, or just listen if they are not comfortable sharing," Deacon Ries said. "No one is required to talk if they do not want to, and it is important to know that anything said in the meeting stays in the room. It is OK to tell others you are attending the meetings, but not to say who else is in the group."

It is nondenominational and open to anyone who is separated or divorced. The course is free, and participants can choose whether to buy a $15 workbook that features readings and related questions designed to help, but not to be confused with any homework assignments.

The idea to start Divorce Care came from church member Mary Beth Farber, who approached Deacon Ries about five years ago, saying this type of ministry in the area was needed.

He agreed, and a team was organized.

"We recognize how difficult a time it is in someone's life when they are going through a divorce or separation, and we want people to know there is help in Divorce Care at St. Malachy's.

Each session opens and closes with prayer, team member Sharon McClain said.

"We know the only truly reliable person in our lives is God, and He will help us to heal and move on with our lives," she said. "That is the hope and prayer of the team for people attending Divorce Care, that, through our witnessing, life and joy after divorce is possible."

Divorce Care was developed by divorce counselors and people who have experienced divorce themselves. A series of 30-to-40 minute videos also have been produced and are used at the beginning of each session, and are followed by discussion.

Video subjects are:
-"What's Happening to Me."
-"Roads to Healing."
-"New Relationships."
-"Financial Survival."
-"Kid care."
-"Single Sexuality."
-"Growing Closer to God."