Focus groups give voice, hope to families

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By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor

Marc and Teresa Dvoracek had several reasons for venturing out to St. Anthony’s Parish Center in St. Cloud on the blustery evening of Feb. 23.

The couple, members of Holy Spirit Parish in St. Cloud, were among Catholics who participated in focus groups this week at the request of Bishop Donald Kettler to give input on what the church can do to provide better pastoral care to families.
Marc Dvoracek noted examples of a newlywed cradle Catholic who told him there was “nothing in parish life for her,” and a divorced friend who felt out of place and unwelcome. He shared his own experience of how, as a newly married couple, he and his wife were invited to join a Bible study with other young couples with young children who had “no money for babysitters.”

“We would meet in a church basement and let the children run wild so that we could pray together,” he said. “This provided a great stabilizing force in our lives and really provided the glue to make us feel like somebody actually wanted us in the church. I think today’s young parents need to have those same supports that we had. I hope we can find ways to offer that.”

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