Marriage & Family Life
Vallombrosa serves as a resource to the parishes, clergy and people of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in the areas of marriage and family life. For pre-marriage preparation we host the Engaged Encounter weekends provided by both the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of San Jose. These are excellent and comprehensive programs for marriage preparation for couples contemplating marriage. Whencouples find it difficult to devote an entire weekend to preparation, we offer our own alternative one-day program entitled “Engaging the Heart.” These programs are intended to supplement any pre-Cana (or marriage prep) programs offered by your local parish.
Training Ministers working with the Engaged
In addition to attending a weekend or daylong program, couples often complete the FOCCUS pre-marriage inventory with their priest or deacon. Vallombrosa provides training for ministers who use FOCCUS.This training ensures that the ministers are using the instrument correctly with maximum benefit for the engaged couple. Priests, deacons and laity who attend this training session in FOCCUS are registered withthe national office for FOCCUS with access to their services and products. Working with a certified ministeris the only way to ensure engaged couples that the results of the inventory are accurate, and that the processis being used according to the intention of the FOCCUS authors.
Getting a Civil Marriage Blessed
Sometimes couples miss out on a church wedding, and enter into a civil marriage without the benefit of the Church’s blessing. To be married in the Church after a civil marriage is called convalidation, and is a simple process for couples who are still married to their first partner. Vallombrosa provides the marriage preparation for convalidation in a program called REFOCCUS: Convalidation. (Call us to see if you qualify for this program.)
After a few years of marriage (just long enough to become disillusioned), couples often seek a retreat to renew their commitment and enrich their relationship. The most popular and well-known enrichment program in the United States is Marriage Encounter, a weekend experience. We host the Marriage Encounter program of San Francisco. We also sponsor our own enrichment program called REFOCCUS (similar to the program used for convalidation, above).
The French Have a Name for It
When a marriage is beginning to fall apart, yet the couple is willing to make one last effort to preserve and restore their relationship, we offer a program known as Retrouvaille (pronounced re-tro-vi with a long i), a French word meaning rediscovery. This is a weekend experience combined with 6-12 post-weekend sessions over three months. It provides tools to help put your marriage in order again.
The loss of a loved one through separation, divorce or death is one of life’s most traumatic experiences, resulting in feelings of loneliness and grief. Beginning Experience weekend program helps grieving single-again persons to emerge from the darkness of grief into the light of a new beginning. Rooted in the Christian tradition, the ministry is ecumenical, serving those of all faiths.