There has been some positive news about marriage in Duval county. In 2016, the divorce rate dropped by 17.6%! There were fewer divorces last year in Duval County than in any previous year on record, dating back to 1970. We believe that this significant reduction in the number of divorces is largely due to a commitment by churches in Jacksonville to increase marriage education and enrichment.
The Church has made a great investment in family life with two Synods of Bishops and an apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis, which has provided renewed enthusiasm and guidance for addressing the challenges of our times. To work towards fulfilling the vision of the exhortation and continuing the momentum we have experienced in northeast Florida, the Office of Family Life is partnering with other organizations and ministries with the goal of reducing the divorce rate by 50% over the next 3-5 years through a city-wide collaboration called the First Coast Healthy Marriage Initiative.
“Marriage Building” is a diocesan effort to help parishes, families, and volunteers achieve this goal.
With the support of Live the Life and MarriageBuilding USA, the Office of Family Life will be focusing on 4 areas over the course of the initiative:
Coordinating and promoting diocesan and city-wide events that foster healthy relationships.
Promoting local marriage/family ministries and providing resources for parish-based efforts.
Equipping parish and family ministry leaders and growing the volunteer base to support local efforts.
Promoting the use of spiritual tools to cultivate healthy marriages and families.
Live Your Sacrament!
The most simple and yet most profound way to change the culture is for couples to live their sacrament – in both its sorrows and joys – as God’s witness of love to the world.
Take every opportunity to learn more about one another as a couple, develop more effective relationship skills, deepen your spirituality, and grow in holiness together to fulfill God’s plan of love for you. The effect you will have on your children is greater than any relationship course or program they may take in the future.
The Diocese is blessed with many marriage and family life ministries. Some are diocesan-wide and some are parish based. If there isn’t a ministry at your parish, there are many easy to facilitate programs.
Parish Family Life Coordinators
Many parishes throughout the Diocese of St. Augustine have a volunteer Family Life Coordinator assigned at their parish whose ministry is to promote a culture of marriage and family and offer programming and resources. The coordinators are appointed by the pastor and trained at annual workshops provided by the Diocese. If you parish does not have one and you would like to serve the parish in this way, please contact Mike Day, Director of Marriage & Family Life at firstname.lastname@example.org or (904) 262-3200 for more information.
Our office hosts copies of materials that can be provided to the parishes for limited use.