Ministry for the Divorced

St. Boniface Parish is pleased to announce the beginning of a new ministry to men and women who have suffered from divorce: The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide.
This 12-week program features 30-minute DVDs that cover topics of shock, denial, anger, grief, guilt, forgiveness, money, the courts, the kids, the ex-spouse, annulment, dating,
sexuality, spirituality, remarriage or staying single, and much more. Whether you got divorced recently or many years ago, the program offers valuable insights for everyone.

What? Top Catholic personalities bring hope, healing, wisdom and wit to those who are divorced. Professionally produced 12-show DVD series (see details on the sessions below) is used as a 12-week program for finding the Peace, Power, and Passion that may have been lost in divorce. The program also includes a Participant Guide for the members to use during small group sharing.

Who? Popular Catholic author and frequent media guest Rose Sweet has written and produced a powerful series featuring divorced Catholic men and women who share their inspiring, true stories. Unlike any other program, the series—distributed by Ascension Press—also includes the counsel of some of the brightest and best in Catholic media:

Dr. Ray Guarendi – Catholic psychologist, host of “The Doctor is In” Ave Maria Radio; EWTN TV show host “Living Right with Dr. Ray”

Father Mitch Pacwa – EWTN television host, author and a child of divorce

Father Donald Calloway – Author, speaker, and a child of divorce

Christopher West – Theologian, author, speaker on Theology of the Body

Father Steve Porter – Seasoned spiritual director and host of Catholic TV’s “Divine Intervention”

Why? Too many people stay stuck in their pain and don’t know how to find their way “home” after the breakdown of the marriage. The program was created to move the divorced Catholic past the pain so they can find the Love that truly satisfies in the Sacraments: intimate encounters with the Love that never leaves, never fails. Topics included in the series include shock, denial, fear, anger, depression, loneliness, financial issues, battles in court, custody and visitation, annulment, dating again, marriage, sex, chastity, and singleness.

When, Where, and How?  The 12-week series begins on Thursday, May 18 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm and continues weekly on Thurssday evenings. All sessions are at St. Boniface Parish at W204 N11940 Goldendale Road in Germantown. The cost to participants for the entire program is $25.



Part 1 - Finding Perfect PEACE Recovery requires mental and emotional stabilization before action. Too often the divorced person wants to run from the pain either by withdrawing from or attacking life, allowing their emotions to take charge. These first four sessions point to Christ — the perfect Peace that surpasses all understanding — as the first place to begin a new life after divorce.

Session 1 - Getting Your Bearings Covers initial shock or areas in which the viewer may still be in denial, how worry and fear may be overwhelming, and how God can bring full healing.

Session 2 - Finding Right Direction Reminds the viewer to avoid looking for love “in all the wrong places”, how to find help in the Church, and how to begin making a specific “survival plan”.

Session 3 – Getting Through Your Anger Replaces the popular concept of “managing” anger to going deeper to the root causes, and showing how and when anger is not necessarily a sin and can actually be helpful.

Session 4 – Finding Perfect Peace Points to a conscious union of the cross of divorce with Christ on His Cross as a way to perfect peace, including handling the normal feelings of isolation and depression.

Part 2 - Finding Perfect POWER Most divorced people feel powerless at the loss of a spouse, their identity, family and friends, possessions, security, and dreams. Family court can also be a place where people battle for power. But our Catholic faith teaches that true power is interior: in the counter-cultural concepts of humility, acceptance, suffering, and forgiveness. Easy to say . . . hard to do! That’s’ where grace comes in.

Session 5 – Learning to Forgive Helps the viewer understand the difference between emotions and will, forgiveness and trust, and to choose forgiveness as the right response to the injustices of divorce.

Session 6 – Dealing with your Family Explores the common problems of being in emotional bondage to the ex-spouse, the pitfalls of parents using their children as personal lifesavers, and how to begin to depend totally on Christ above all others.

Session 7 – Handling Money Wisely Offers practical advice on reorienting the way divorced people view money (and the loss of it), how to live on a budget, and how to grow in generosity.

Session 8 - Finding Perfect Power Gives insights into knowing when or when not to go to court and how to be generous with money and time, especially in sharing custody and granting visitation time with the other parent.


Part 3 - Finding Perfect PASSION When divorced people are feeling better, they’ll usually be anxious to find new love. But most people make “false gods” out of relationships that in some sense will ultimately fail them. These last shows introduce the powerful principles found in Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body”, including the spousal analogy with Christ as the Bridegroom, the personal encounter with Christ in the Sacraments, and the intimate union with Him found only in the Eucharist.

Session 9 - Seeing God in Romance Introduces how romantic relationships are only meant to mirror the more profound “courtship” and eternal marriage of Christ the Bridegroom with every human soul, and how our culture lies about that Love.

Session 10 – Relearning How to Date Advises the viewer to reconcile the broken marriage if possible and to seek an annulment if not - giving practical advice on the right way to seek a new spouse or choosing to stay single.

Session 11 – Loving All Church Teachings Challenges the viewer to open their mind to deeper truths found in the Catholic Church, to seek the gifts she offers (especially in Confession), and to desire holiness as a way of life.

Session 12 -  Finding Perfect Passion Encourages the viewer to think past the divorce and more about the eternal picture, to know and love more about Jesus, and to say “Yes!” in letting Him feed the hungry heart in the Eucharist.

To view the sample videos go to



Bob and Chris Smialek have been active in marriage and divorce ministry in the Diocese of Rockford, IL, and the Archdiocese of Dubuque, IA, for 17 years. They authored a marriage preparation program, Two Become One, currently used in the Archdiocese for Catholics remarrying in the church. In addition to leading The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide program, they also offer the Divorce and Beyond support program. Bob and Chris each hold a Master of Ministry degree from Loras College. They recently moved and now spilt their time between Germantown, WI, and Venice, FL. You can reach them at (815) 275-5305 or