Divorced, Separated, & Widowed


Divorce is not an event but a process, a process that most did not realize they would need to undergo. The pain of divorce is far more reaching than just with the couple. Divorce affects the entire community surrounding the divorcing couple. This process is a time of grief and great pain. It is a form of death. For within it, one is experiencing the loss of a dream which he or she had envisioned would last till death. The individual must face that he or she is single again and will most likely have to inherit many responsibilities that would have been shared with his or her spouse. It is important that an individual seeks assistance and help at this time of grief. Self-care is vital. The children, one’s job, or extended family will all suffer more if one fails to maintain his or her health.

What Support Does The Church Offer To Divorced Persons?

The Church understands the pain of those caught in this situation. When divorce is the only possible recourse, the Church offers her support to those involved and encourages them to remain close to the Lord through frequent reception of the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, p. 287)

How Does The Church View Divorce?

The Church’s view on divorce remains faithful to the understanding that God, who authored marriage, created this special union to be one of permanence. As we see in the scripture, Jesus taught about this permanence. (Matthew 19:3-6). With this belief, the Church does not recognize a civil divorce because the State cannot dissolve what cannot be dissolved. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2382-2386)

For more questions regarding the Church’s stance on divorce, visit For Your Marriage, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Upcoming Events

Save the Date
Saturday, May 4, 2024
9 am to 4 pm

Conference for Divorced or Separated Catholics

Saturday, May 4, 2024 from 9 am to 4 pm

Christ Cathedral Cultural Center

The Office for Family Life is hosting an informative and inspiring conference at the Christ Cathedral Cultural Center about healing after divorce. 

$40 per person

Registration is open.

Sponsors/exhibitors invitation information available online.

Programs & Resources in the Diocese of Orange

Beginning Experience®

A weekend retreat designed for those have experienced the loss of a loved one through separation, divorce or death. This weekend is designed to be a time of closure on the past and renewed hope for the future.

Vision:A hurting people, healed, transformed, and free again to love themselves, others, and God.

Mission:The purpose of the Beginning Experience ministry is to facilitate the grief resolution process for adults and children who have suffered a loss through death, divorce or separation, thereby enabling them to again love themselves, others and God.

We accomplish the purpose by offering quality, copyrighted, grief resolution programs presented by trained peer ministers. These programs are designed to move grieving people through a transformational process to a new beginning in their lives.

We believe that through resolving the grief of a significant loss:

  • Individuals participate in the death and resurrection of Christ as he lives in the world today;
  • that those working through this experience can effectively walk with others for whom the experience is new and hard;
  • and that the invitation to recover offers an opportunity for life transformation, and for freeing individuals to love self, others and God in new and deeper ways.

For more information contact:

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Upcoming Weekend Retreats:

If you are grieving the loss of your marriage through death, divorce or separation, join us at the ProSanctity Center in Fullerton on March 8-10, 2024. A trained team leads participants through a healing and growth program. If you are ready to move through your feelings of grief, into the light of a new beginning and hope, this weekend may be for you. Contact Kim at 714-336-3221 or Melissa (bilingual, Spanish) at 949-697-3352 for more information. Early registration is encouraged. Click here to register online.

Support Groups Meetings:

Divorced, Catholic, Now What?
Journey of Hope Divorce Recovery Series

St. Joseph Parish in Placentia is sponsoring a 13-week Journey of Hope Divorce Recovery Series on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 pm beginning Wednesday, January 10 to April 10, 2024. The series offers much needed support, healing and help to answer questions asked as a result of a separation or divorce.
The program is designed to help divorced and separated Catholics recover by more fully learning and living their faith. The sessions will be held in person and online.

For more information or to register, call or email Carol Koppenheffer at 714 528-1487 or [email protected]

External and Online Catholic Programs & Resources

Catholic Divorce Ministry

North American Conference of Separated & Divorced Catholics provides Support for families experiencing separation and divorce.
Regional 14 Representative:
Julie Monell-Auzenne

Divorced Catholic

Programs created just for divorced Catholics to help you move forward with hope and confidence.

Life-Giving Wounds

LGW is a ministry for adult children of divorced or separated parents. Visit their website for more information and to register for a support group.

life giving

St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation for Freedom, Family & Faith

The Mercedarian friars offer priestly consultations and other resources for families in crisis and for those affected by divorce and separation. For more information on their services, visit their website For the Divorced at https://www.nonnatus.org/forthedivorced.html

Other Programs & Resources


Divorce Care is a seminar/small group resource designed to help your church effectively minister to people hurting because of separation and divorce.

Free to Love Again

This divorce recovery non-profit is dedicated to helping men, women and their children who have or are experiencing divorce grieve, heal, grow, gain hope and be free to love and be loved again. Based in Orange County, this faith-based ministry provides workshops that will facilitate the process of your ability to go forward with hope and wholeness towards being free to love and be loved again.


Provides a bridge to emotional healing for children, adolescents, and adults confronting death, divorce or other painful family transition.