Separation and Divorce Ministry

Separation and Divorce Ministry

Support for adults and children who are experiencing separation/divorce in their family and a program helping separated/divorced parents improve their co-parenting relationship.



A 15-week non-denominational, peer support program for those who are separated / divorced. Participants meet once a week to reflect on and discuss topics outlined in a handbook. Individuals have the opportunity, if they wish, to share their story with others. Issues presented by participants during the meetings are held in confidence.

Topics of discussion include: “The Process of Divorce”; “Self Image/Self Esteem”; “Dealing with Stress, Anger, Guilt, Blame & Loneliness”; “Forgiveness”; “Fractured Families Can Be Whole”; “Growth after Divorce”; “Single Again—But Still a Parent”; “Children in Blended Families”; “The Declaration of Nullity” (annulment process). Transitions is offered twice a year, beginning in September and in February. The group size is limited to 20 participants and 4 facilitators.

Our next program will be held on Wednesdays, beginning October 10, 2018 at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, 120 - 17th Avenue SW.  


Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First

A non-denominational, educational program for separated and divorced parents to help raise their children through this difficult time and increase the understanding of needs of children for developing self-esteem and security. It will offer skills about managing diverse shared parenting situations and provide strategies for improving communication, resolving conflict, and managing day to day children’s issues between parenting partners.

Parents are encouraged to attend separately.

The next 5-week program will be offered 7 pm - 9 pm, during the Fall 2018 at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, 120 - 17th Avenue SW, Calgary.

  • Register online here
  • Register by phone. Please call 403-218-5505. We accept cash, cheque, Visa and MasterCard. 
    • Payment via cheque can be made to: Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary (120 - 17th Ave SW, Calgary AB T2S-2T2)
Related Offices Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC) Related Programs Separation and Divorce
Related Themes Parenting Divorce and Separation Family

Billings Ovulation Method (WOOMB)

The billings Ovulation Method is based on awareness of the woman's natural cycles of fertility and infertility, unmodified by any chemical, mechanical, or other artifical means. It takes advantage of the biological fact that women are infertile more often than fertile throughout their procreative years. The fertile phase, that time when conception may occur, is recognized by physical signs accompanying ovulation. This knowledge, together with planned abstinence, can be used either to achieve or to postpone pregnancy.

For more information please contact:

Related Offices Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC) Related Programs Natural Family Planning
Related Themes Parenting Moral and Ethics Life Issues Married Life Natural Family Planning Prolife Family

Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Children First

"Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First" is a program that encourages separated and divorced parents to exercise this concern for their children and to put the needs of the children first as the family adjusts to a new type of lifestyle in two separate homes.

  • Do you want to remove your child(ren) from the divorce conflict?
  • Do you want to be able to engage in relevant, focused discussions about the child(ren)'s needs with the other parent?
  • Do you want to move from parenting disrupted by divorce to effective, business-like co-parenting with appropriate boundaries and rules?

Separated or divorced parents must learn how to effectively co-parent with their child(ren)'s other parent. For some, this may come naturally, but for others it can be a huge challenge. Fortunately, help is available. Separating and divorcing parents can access assistance to ensure that the best interests of their children are protected throughout the process.

Developed in 2003 in Calgary, "Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First" is intended to:

  • help adults learn to co-parent effectively for the benefit of children during separation and divorce;
  • help parents learn new skills and apply them to their own unique situations;
  • increase parents' knowledge on how to reduce the main stressors of separation and divorce on children; and
  • encourage allowing children to maintain access to both of their parents and extended families in spite of this life change.

In this program, we consider the various ages and stages that all children go through. Participants who have children of similar ages break into smaller groups. In a family experiencing separation or divorce, there usually end up being two sets of rules or expectations as the parents start to parent more independently rather than together. As part of "Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First," we discuss the best ways to establish clear discipline limits, stick to normal routines, and attempt to establish consistency between the households.

This program involves examining the qualities of good communication, such as attentive listening, good eye contact, mutual respect and courtesy. Changing the communication from an intimate and personal level to more of a business-type exchange can help co-parents express information about their child(ren) while establishing and maintaining new boundaries.

Past participants have said:

  • "I appreciated learning tips and ideas about how best to communicate with my children's father."
  • "I learned that I am not alone in dealing with separation/divorce – the support, encouragement and hope was great and the group discussions allowed us all to learn."
  • "I was concerned about the statistics that indicated high numbers of children with divorced parents experience depression, anxiety, problems with authority, school difficulties, and addiction issues, but now I have a better understanding of how to avoid the pitfalls and am confident that my children can grow up to be well-adjusted if my former spouse and I can work together in their best interests."

Many parents have benefited from "Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First". It is non-denominational and provides a resource for families during the difficult adjustment period that accompanies almost any separation and divorce.

For more information or to register, please contact the Life and Family Resource Centre

Phone: (403) 218-5505 or email

Related Offices Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC) Related Programs Co-Parenting(LFRC)
Related Themes Parenting Divorce and Separation Marriage

Alleluia, the Lord is Risen - Easter is Here

NOT QUITE! We still have a few weeks to go before we can say that. It is only the beginning of March, but already it is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. For our children it might seem like a long stretch to Easter Sunday. For adults it certainly is not. We have so many things to do, especially in the last couple of weeks before the Big Day. Why not involve the entire family in the preparations for Easter?

List all "to do's" including quiet and prayer times.

Sample List (for weekdays)

  • Get up early enough for morning prayer before leaving the house
  • Attend Mass at least once during the week (morning or evening)
  • Attend a penitential service and go to confession
  • Assign daily household chores to all family members
  • Participate in the Stations of the Cross at your parish on Friday evenings
  • Don't forget – adjust your meal plans to "meatless Fridays"
  • Conclude the day with prayer, a reading from the Bible, and talk to the children about the Holy Family

Sample List (for weekends)

  • Attend Sunday Mass as a family
  • Take time to talk about the colour purple displayed in the church to the children
  • Create a sacred space in your home where you gather as a family or for quiet time by yourself
  • Engage the family in spring cleaning by making it into a game (example: before you wash the windows have a window colouring contest)

… and choose some of the weekday list activities

The colour purple found throughout the Church during Lent symbolizes not only Christ's suffering and death, but also His kingship. It is the colour of royalty. Then at the Easter Vigil the colour changes to white symbolizing Jesus' victory over death.

As we journey through the last three weeks of Lent, we might want to explore how we can make them more special during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. One of the first things that might come to mind is helping others in need. However, before we can help anyone, we have to recognize what their needs are. We usually recognize someone else's needs when our needs are satisfied.

The basic principles in psychology are described in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Who was Abraham Maslow? He was born in 1908 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of seven children. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. The family was poor. He and other young people in his neighbourhood were struggling to overcome acts of racism and ethnic prejudice. Eventually he entered college, and later university, where he studied psychology. One of his best known works was the Hierarchy of Needs. These human needs start with the very basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, all things that most of us take for granted. Until these needs are met, one cannot meet the next level of needs.

Related Offices Carillon Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Easter Parenting Family

The Perfect Gift

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above."  James 1: 17

For the last three years now I have faced insistent questioning from my eleven-year-old daughter Sophie about whether or not there is a Santa. Her sense of hopeful wonder has been struggling mightily against the majority of her classmates and their clear certainty about the ruse. And as we talked this through I remembered and told her about a wonderful story I had heard. It was about a similar child who, upon hearing from classmates that Santa was fictional, fled to his matter-of-fact grandmother for the truth. His grandmother never sugar coated anything and he secretly feared that she would support his classmates. Instead, she insisted that Santa did exist and took little David to a general store to prove it. "Buy something for someone who desperately needs it," she said. "I'll wait in the car." And she left him there with ten dollars.

The young boy agonized over whom to pick. Then he remembered a classmate who never took recess because he couldn't afford a winter coat. So David grabbed a warm-looking jacket from the rack and placed it on the counter, explaining to the shop owner that it was for his friend Billy, who was destitute. The shopkeeper paused, and then packaged the $100 coat and placed it in the boy's hands. Needless to say the young boy was thrilled when he saw his friend on the playground wearing the new coat. When he told his grandmother she squeezed his hand and said: "Well done … Santa."

I have always bristled at the commercialization of Christmas, and especially the emphasis on gifts at the clear expense of Jesus who should be the heart of the season. So it is critical to remember, at this extraordinary time of year, that at heart we can all be Santa – if we remember why we give. I'm reminded of this when I look at all the caregiving organizations in Calgary alone. Each year, one of my favourite charities—the Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch—opens its doors to the most disadvantaged families in Calgary for a remarkable Christmas party. Once at the ranch, children can load up on winter clothes, stuffies, food and Christmas cheer, all provided free of charge by the ranch's owners, and distributed by an army of volunteers. Each year St. Mary's University in Calgary sends scores of students, staff and faculty to this remarkable event. Last year almost one fifth of university students signed up to help!

So although I remain cranky at commercialization, I have no issue at all with the giving culture as long as it's wrapped in the spirit of good and the commitment to all that is the hallmark of Christ's teaching. In that context I remember the unsung Santas: certainly the volunteers, but also people like the shopkeeper or the owners of the ranch. And in that context I can comfortably say, Yes, Virginia and Sophie there really is a Santa!

Written by: Dr. Gerry Turcotte

Related Offices Religious Education
Related Themes Parenting Christmas Family Cathechist
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