Welcome to the Office of Family and Respect Life Ministries in the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg! This office provides comprehensive ministry to families by: offering direct resources to individuals and families for marriage preparation, marriage enrichment, and marital difficulties; collaborating with and supporting parishes and schools in their ministries to families; and training and supporting leaders in family ministry.
Providing comprehensive ministry to families
Our office coordinates marriage preparation. We serve as the diocesan contact for: the parish Mentor Couples program; God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage; and Catholic Engaged Encounter. In addition, we coordinate the Natural Family Planning (NFP) instruction in the diocese, including providing information to couples and putting them in touch with approved NFP instructors. Please see the marriage preparation and Natural Family Planning (NFP) pages for more information.
Our office supports marriage enrichment programs like: Retrouvaille, Teams of Our Lady, and Worldwide Marriage Encounter, as well as maintaining links that include many enrichment programs that can be run at the parish or home level.
We also support ministries for those experiencing marital difficulties. For those in strained marriages – including separated or even divorced couples – please consider attending Retrouvaille, a weekend program for couples in difficult marriages. For those whose marriages have ended through death or divorce, we also offer a peer-to-peer ministry called Beginning Experience.
To learn about the Church’s teachings on divorce, re-marriage, and annulments, please see our diocesan Tribunal’s page here.
Please see the different ministry pages for more information on these programs.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the name for a collection of methods which use the natural, biological signs of a woman’s menstrual cycle to predict fertility. With that knowledge, husbands and wives can adjust their intimacy to increase their chances of conceiving a child or – for grave reasons – to postpone or avoid pregnancy.
The Office of Family and Respect Life Ministries serves as the primary means by which the bishop communicates his vision for respect life issues to the people of the diocese. This is done primarily by: educating parishes, schools, and other groups about the sanctity of life; motivating individuals and parishes to be actively involved in pro-life groups and initiatives; and encouraging voters to vote in favor of, and petition their legislators for, pro-life and pro-family values.