Amoris Laetitia Webinar Series

The Pastoral Response in Accompanying Families in Faith

The Strong Catholic Families National Partnership hosted several thousand ministry leaders, teachers, school leaders, parents and clergy together in 2016-17 for a four month webinar series focusing on the pastoral implementation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Four Master Teachers presented video reflections on the themes below followed by live panels reacting to the content and discussing practical applications to various ministries. The links to all the recordings are archived here for you.


Session 1: Listening to the Joys and Hungers of Families
Dr. Tim Hogan, Director of Grace Counseling Center, Detroit

Encountering Christ is a mutual experience, discovered in the posture of listening, which involves more than just hearing. It is the reciprocal action of listening to the other, through which each party has something to discern and learn.  As ministerial leaders, demonstrating this practice sanctions the accompaniment model, as the foundation of sharing and discovering the Good News.

  • Panel Reflection on Video - Moderated by Margaret Matijasevic and featuring panelists: Michael Theisen, Alice and Jeff Heinzen, Fr. Frank DeSiano, Dan Ryan and Roy Petitfils
  • Panel Application to Ministry - Moderated by Margaret Matijasevic and featuring panelists: Maureen Poulin, Dr. Pam Bernards, Lydia Pesina, Dr. Jim Healy, and Dr. Tim Hogan.

Session 2: Accompanying Families
Bishop Richard Malone, Diocese of Buffalo

Accompaniment has become a primary and critical theme in the leadership and writings of Pope Francis who has urged all ministry leaders to learn “the art accompaniment… which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169). This Emmaus-like journey always begins where the person, couple or family are, requiring leaders to listen, converse and walk with them patiently and deliberately toward the Good News of Jesus Christ.

  • Panel Reflection on Video - Moderated by Michael Theisen and featuring panelists: Diane Kledzik, Andrew Lyke, Steve Bollman, Mary O’Meara, and Jayne Mondoy 
  • Panel Application to Ministry - Moderated by Michael Theisen and featuring panelists: Mickie Abatemarco, Linda Moses, Giovanni Perez, and Tom East

Session 3: Assisting Families in Discerning God’s Movement    
Julianne Stanz, Director of New Evangelization, Green Bay

Each individual and family journey is a unique one, requiring leaders to be both deliberate and flexible in the “process of accompaniment and discernment which guides the faithful to an awareness of their situation before God.” (Amoris Laetitia #300). With trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the teachings of the Church and the prominence of each individual conscience, leaders are challenged to assist individuals and families in recognizing and discerning God’s presence within their daily lives and how they are being asked to live and share this Good News with the world.

  • Panel Reflection on Video - Moderated by Andrea Kopp and featuring panelists: Dr. Lauri Pyzybysz, Fr. John Belmonte, Drs. Bob and Maggie McCarty, and Catherine Cornue
  • Panel Application to Ministry - Moderated by Andrea Kopp and featuring panelists: Sedonna Prater, Dr. David Thomas, Dobie Moser, Teri Burns, and Mar Munoz Visos

Session 4: Engaging for Mission  
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington

The journey of accompaniment is the process of evangelization. When done intentionally, each individual and family is engaged to respond to the transformative moment of grace that highlights an authentic journey of faith. This is a critical moment for the universal Church and ministry leaders to be present to, and receptive of, the gifts and strengths that the domestic church is now prepared to share. “Only on the basis of this experience will the Church’s pastoral care for families enable them to be both domestic churches and a leaven of evangelization in society.” (Amoris Laetitia #290)

  • Panel Reflection on Video - Moderated by Christina Lamas and featuring panelists: Dr. Sean Reynolds, Dr. Joseph White, Colleen Gerke, Dennis Johnson, and Dr. Tim Cook
  • Pa nel Application to Ministry - Moderated by Christina Lamas and featuring panelists: Dr. Barbara Edmondson, Lucia Baez Luzondo, Leisa Anslinger, and Denise Utter

The Strong Catholic Families Webinar Series was sponsored by Paradisus Dei
and presented in partnership by these national Catholic organizations working together to help parents bring home the faith.

National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry
National Conference for Catechetical Leadership
National Catholic Educational Association
National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers

Click Here for More Information on the Strong Catholic Families National Initiative