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Surviving divorce retreat – ‘Do you want to be well again?’

Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon in March facilitated a moving session for persons who are separated and divorced. The poignant question that reverberated: “Do you want to be well again?” The scene was set with a contemplation of the paralytic man, a figure emblematic of those grappling with separation and divorce, as depicted in the biblical narrative.

The paralytic, immobile for 38 years, found himself stationed by a pool yet unable to immerse himself in its healing waters. This image resonated deeply with individuals experiencing the paralysis of separation or divorce, positioned right next to the sanctuary of healing, church, yet unable to partake in its grace.

In the reflection upon the paralytic’s plight, Archbishop Gordon shed light on a fundamental truth: the recognition of the human condition and our dependency on God for restoration.

Just as the paralytic relied on Jesus’ intervention to access the pool of healing, individuals traversing separation and divorce are reminded of their inherent reliance on God’s grace for redemption and renewal.

The journey through separation and divorce is fraught with challenges, often shrouded in shame and perceived failure. The Archbishop illuminated the struggle of disclosing such personal turmoil, underscoring the societal stigma that accompanies these experiences.

Yet, in the paralytic’s decisive action of picking up his mat, Archbishop Gordon discerned a pivotal moment of reclaiming one’s identity and reintegration into the community.

In his exploration of the Sacrament of Marriage and its profound reflection of the divine bond between God and His Church, he explained the Catholic Church’s stance on divorce.

Drawing parallels between earthly unions and the unbreakable commitment of God to His people, he emphasised that just as God never forsakes His Church, the Church similarly upholds the sanctity of marriage despite any human failings. This teaching mirrors the eternal fidelity of God serving as a tangible manifestation of the enduring relationship between God and His beloved.

For those grappling with the aftermath of failed relationships, the path to reconciliation is paved with introspection and repentance. The Sacrament of Reconciliation becomes a beacon of hope, offering solace and forgiveness to those burdened by the remnants of past mistakes.

Additionally, the concept of annulment was clarified not as a divorce but as an acknowledgment that the marriage never truly transpired, offering a pathway to spiritual liberation.

Participants of the retreat found the teachings on forgiveness and scripture analysis particularly valuable. Many resonated with the ongoing forgiveness process. One participant reflected, “The cycle of forgiveness also stood out as I have identified that there are still some areas in my healing process that have not yet been addressed.”

The retreat also provided a safe space for introspection, with one participant sharing “The meditation done by the Archbishop was a powerful experience, allowing for reflection and connection with our inner selves.” Overall, the retreat served as a beacon of healing and comfort for individuals navigating divorce and separation.

The AFLC continues to host monthly meetings via Zoom for persons who are separated and divorced using the ‘Surviving Divorce’ series.


For more information, please contact the AFLC at 299-1047;


Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash