EDMONTON – The archdiocesan Week for Family and Life will offer a wide variety of sessions for families at different ages and stages on their journey.
Speakers will address audiences at the Catholic Pastoral Centre and online at www.caedm.ca/webcast on topics such as giving children good values, protecting children from pornography and building strong step families during the May 4 to 12 celebration of life and family.
"The intention is to provide different family brackets with a concrete practical understanding of the faith in everyday life," said Diane Rouleau, the archdiocese's associate director of family and life.
The speakers will include psychologists and others who understand both faith and how it impacts the real-life experiences of families, Rouleau said in an interview.
Leading several sessions will be Bruce and Jeannie Hannemann, co-founders of RECLAiM, an online recovery program that helps struggling individuals break free from pornography and other unwanted sexual addictions.
Jeannie Hannemann is also executive director of Elizabeth Ministry, an international movement designed to offer hope and support for woman and their families on issues related to childbearing, sexuality and relationships.
The week will begin with the annual Vigil for Life Saturday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Basilica. Archbishop Richard Smith will be the catechist and Carmel and Chuck Hunt will provide the witness talk in the event that will also include Evening Prayer.
The Hannemanns will lead a session Sunday, May 5 from 12:15 to 4 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church in Stony Plain and Spruce Grove on protecting children from pornography.
Dr. Theresa Zolner, an associate professor of psychology at The King's University College in Edmonton, will speak on Building Strong Step-Families at May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, also known as the Pastoral and Administration Offices, 8421-101 Ave.
Her talk, like others at the Pastoral Centre, will also include discussion time and opportunity for questions, will be webcast live and then be available later for viewing on the archdiocesan website.
The following evening, a Tuesday, the Hannemanns will be at the Pastoral Centre at 7 p.m. to speak on Reclaiming Sexual Health: Facing Addiction in a Sex-Oriented Society.
The same day, archdiocesan clergy will be attending a session on Debunking Contraception and Treating Infertility from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Pastoral Centre.
It will be led by Alethea Peca, a doctoral candidate in bioethics at the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum in Rome, and Dr. Mary Ellen Haggerty, president of the local St. Luke's Guild of Physicians.
On Wednesday, the Hannemanns will return to the Pastoral Centre to lead a session from 10 a.m. to noon on Elizabeth Ministry: Reaching Out to New Moms.
That evening, Wednesday, May 8, Dr. Peter Lyons, a clinical psychologist at the Millard Health Centre, will speak on The Sandwich Generation: Tips for Living a Balanced Life. The event at the Pastoral Centre will begin at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, May 9, Archbishop Smith will celebrate the annual Mass for Life at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph's Basilica.
The Mass will be followed by the annual Alberta March for Life that begins at noon at the Legislature.
Later that day, Dr. Richard Rymarz, a professor and the Peter and Doris Kule chair in Catholic Religious Education at St. Joseph's College of the University of Alberta, will address the topic, Want to Give Your Children Good Values? His talk will be at 7 p.m. at the Pastoral Centre.
Mark Brunelle of the Brunelle Financial Planning Group will speak on Family Finances: Planning for Your Future. His Friday, May 10 will be at 7 p.m. at the Pastoral Centre.
Rouleau said people who want to attend the events at the Pastoral Centre can register beforehand by phoning 780-469-1010. She expects others will gather in groups in their parishes or with friends to watch the event online.