Providing a Catholic framework on the truth and meaning of sexuality, love, and family

Archive for May, 2012

Family Honor Director will be guest on Catholic Answers Live

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

On Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00pm ET, Brenda Cerkez, Executive Director of Family Honor will be a guest on Catholic Answers Live. Brenda will be talking with guest-host Teresa Tomeo about Family Honor’s new parent program, Leading & Loving. This program has been developed by Family Honor to work with parents to create an individual plan for purposeful parenting. Leading & Loving provides hope, practical tools, and key basic concepts for parents as it strives to empower parents to become knowledgeable, confident, and competent leaders of their families.

Be sure to tune in on Wednesday, May 16 on your local Catholic radio station and please offer a pray of support for Brenda.

As a call-in program, Catholic Answers Live connects listeners to prominent leaders in the Church today—including scholars, nuns, priests, bishops, and cardinals—and touches on every aspect of our lives as Catholic Christians.


Family Honor Programs Highlighted in National Publication

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Family Honor programs help to define and offer ways to develop virtue, especially chastity. The idea of “purposeful planning” is developed and empowers parents to see how virtue is developed from a young age. The programs also teach the importance of role modeling and parental guidance. Family Honor’s Director of Programs and Training, Vincent Weaver, shares a personal story about the importance of “raising children with a plan” in the Couple to Couple League’s publications Family Foundations.

Click here to read the full article.

Childcare Available at TOB for Families Conference

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The Theology of the Body for Families Conference organizers and St. Mary Magdalene parish are happy to provide on-site child care for families attending the conference! There will be a few on-site events planned for teens during the conference as well, including a special talk for teens and young adults by Damon Owens on Friday evening entitled “What is the Harm in a ‘Friends with Benefits’ Culture?”

Friday, July 6 & Saturday, July 7, 2012
St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church ♦ Simpsonville, SC

“We who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm which reaches into the interior behind the veil.” Heb. 6: 18-20

Child Care:
The Theology of the Body for Families Conference organizers and St. Mary Magdalene parish are happy to provide on-site child care for families attending the conference! Please note, however, that space is limited and pre-registration is required for child care. Thus, we encourage families to register as soon as possible if you will be requesting child care, and include the child care fee as part of the check you send to the Family Life Office. Register here and indicate the number of children who will need child care.

Child care hours:
Friday, July 6: 12:30pm – 5:30pm
Saturday, July 7: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Teen Activities:
There will be a few on-site events planned for teens during the conference, including the talk for teens and young adults by Damon Owens on Friday evening entitled “What is the Harm in a ‘Friends with Benefits’ Culture?” Please note, however, that the conference will NOT have a separate ‘Teen Track.’

Celebrate the 4th of July in Greenville, SC:
Come to South Carolina for the 4th of July and stay for the TOB for Families conference! Check out these sites for fun Family Activities in Greenville, SC. Visitors to Greater Greenville will have no problem filling the days and evenings with every kind of leisure activity. Greenville’s international community has created sophisticated dining and entertainment options that may surprise first-time visitors.

Red, White and Blue Festival – Greenville – showcasing one of the state’s largest fireworks displays

Book Review: “Beyond the Birds and the Bees” by Dr. Greg Popcak

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Parents often feel like they are “up a creek without a paddle,” and wonder if it might be easier to succumb to the current of the culture that seems to suggest we give up on our kids. Parents usually want to do the right thing when raising their children, but are frequently confronted with questions like: “How do I equip myself to help my child grow in genuine love?” “Can I really expect my kids to lead a holy life?” “How do I explain challenging topics to them when those subjects were never really taught to me?” (Read more)

Fortunately, Dr. Gregory Popcak – MSW, LCSW, offers parents a valuable resource that should prove helpful in addressing these questions and more. “Beyond the Birds and the Bees” (published by Our Sunday Visitor) is a highly pragmatic, well-researched, and very readable book that parents will appreciate as a ray of hope in their fight to do well by their kids. Popcak spells out how to lay a solid foundation long before “The Talk,” and offers very specific pointers on addressing those really challenging (but good!) questions that kids have (in an age-appropriate way). These are just an example of the little gems that parents will find in this book.

Dr. Popcak helps parents gain a solid understanding of the Catholic vision of love and prepares parents to pass on this vision to their children through daily interaction and conversations. He also holds a parent’s hand through each age and stage of their child’s sexuality in chapters like “Laying the Foundation” (birth to age four); “The Years of Innocence” (middle and late childhood); “The Apprenticeship Years” (ages 10-14); and “The Vocational Years” (ages 15-19).

Dr. Popcak’s book “Beyond the Birds and the Bees” supports the charge of all Catholic parents, as told to us in Blessed John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio: “Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen by them.”

Family Honor highly recommends this book as an excellent follow-up resource to our programs – particularly in conjunction with our parent-only Leading & Loving program, designed for parents of young children. Any virtue-minded parent should find Dr. Popcak’s insight useful in helping them to fulfill their God-given vocation as mom or dad.

-Vincent Weaver, Director of Programs and Training

Reflections from a Real Love & Real Life teen participant…15 years later.

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Tucked in my wallet, behind my driver’s license, is a card I signed when I was 15 years old, pledging to practice the virtue of chastity and to save sex for marriage. I had attended a Real Love & Real Life program from Family Honor and signed my chastity pledge card then. I felt that if this is what God wanted for my life then I was on-board! This wasn’t always an easy commitment to stick to, but it was the best decision I made as a teenager. There are a few lessons that I’ve learned about family, friends, and love since then.
First of all, my parents know more about life and love than I gave them credit for. When I was younger, I thought they were narrow-minded when they told me that some my friends were bad influences. I thought they were over-protective when they gave me a curfew and insisted on always knowing where I was going. However, much to my surprise, they were often right. It was embarrassing to cancel plans or leave a party when trouble showed up, however that embarrassment was quickly replaced by relief to leave a bad situation and be back in the safety of my family. At first, it can be hard to find friends who share your beliefs, but don’t settle for anyone except those who recognize your true worth and bring out the best in you. Now, as an adult, I actually try to introduce my friends to my parents. I want to know what my parents think!
Don’t worry so much about whom you will date—worry about who you are becoming. Pursue your relationship with God, study what you love, travel, volunteer your time, share your gifts with the world, and develop your SPICE (the Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative and Emotional components that make you the unique person you are). In the process, you will learn more about yourself and what God is calling you to do and who He is calling you to be. If you feel called to religious life, learn more about different communities; write to various religious orders and visit them. If you feel God is calling you to marriage, be confident that He will send you the right person. To paraphrase the advice of Curtis Martin (founder of FOCUS), “Follow God—then see who’s walking next to you.” This is the source of the greatest friendships and relationships.
I believe that God is calling me to marriage and I have gone on many dates since I signed that commitment card in 1997. Some of them have been fun; some of them have been disastrous. I’ve met some great guys that I’ve remained friends with and some guys that I never want to see again. However, what I’m grateful for is that I could walk away from all of these encounters with my dignity intact—knowing that I didn’t lose myself in the process of getting to know someone else. I have a few regrets from the past fifteen years, but they involve bad hairstyles and heinous floral prints – not guys.
Since attending Family Honor’s programs and making a commitment to chastity, I’ve learned that my parents really do want what’s best for me. I’ve learned that the relationships I’ve found among those seeking to follow God have been the best. Most importantly, I’ve found that real love is doing what’s best for others—even when it’s difficult—and living life free of regret.

Family Honor’s parent-empowering, family-centered approach helps parents to feel more competent and confident in discussing God’s gift of sexuality with their children and teens. Alison Griswold is a Youth Minister in Hilton Head, South Carolina, a Family Honor presenter, and a regular contributor to Parent and Teen Tips. She shares her thoughts about the impact Family Honor programs have had on her family here.

Parents and Children Deeply Impacted by Family Honor Programs

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Family Honor’s parent-empowering, family-centered approach helps parents to feel more competent and confident in discussing God’s gift of sexuality with their children and teens. Alison Griswold is a Youth Minister in Hilton Head, South Carolina, a Family Honor presenter and a regular contributor to Parent and Teen Tips. Alison talked with her mom about the impact Family Honor programs have had on her family and parenting and shares her reflections here.

In 1995, Barbara Griswold attended her first Family Honor program, Real Love & Real Life, with her oldest daughter. Over the years, she brought two more daughters to the program. Family Honor’s Real Love & Real Life program began a conversation that would continue as her children attended high school, college, and as they began careers and families of their own.

While parenting is certainly not an easy task, Barbara likened fostering the virtue of chastity in her children to other aspects of promoting a healthy lifestyle, such as providing children proper nutrition. She explained, “As our children grow, we provide food that will promote good health because we want them to enjoy a long and happy life, as free as possible from pain, suffering and disease.” Barbara continued, saying that, “The same principle applies to chastity education. I wanted my kids to understand and enjoy emotional, spiritual, and sexual health, so I was sure that they were given information that promoted those values.” An important part of cultivating spiritual, emotional and sexual health in her children was attending Family Honor’s programs, where Barbara said “The beauty of God’s plan for sexuality was presented as a way of life for the whole family.”

The ideal of chastity was never compromised with information about condoms or birth control as a back up. This, Barbara explained, would have sent a mixed message and a lack of confidence in their self-control and ability to live a virtuous life. Furthermore, “Misleading them on this critical aspect of their well-being would be like giving them junk food– or worse, poison– rather than healthy and nourishing food.”

Like many parents, Barbara shared that a difficult aspect of chastity education has been the “incessant deluge of harmful messages coming from all sides, often from so-called ‘experts'”. Family Honor affirmed that while many “experts”—doctors, teachers, the media, and even some spiritual leaders—may offer their opinions about current trends and ideas, parents are still the experts of their children and parents know what is best for them.

Where can parents go to find reliable information? Barbara compares the Theology of the Body and Family Honor to a “stream of living water—even in the sewage of our culture of death—refreshing and fortifying parents and their children with the beautiful truth about God’s gift of sexuality.”

While her middle school aged children may not have been excessive in their gratitude for participating in Family Honor, now that her three daughters are adults, they realize just how different life is when the virtue of chastity is introduced and encouraged. Barbara and her daughters are solid proof that a parent’s involvement in developing the virtue of chastity does make a world of difference!

Family Honor’s Chairman of the Board Wins Prestigious Award

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Last month, at a black-tie event in South Bend, Indiana, Family Honor’s Chairman of the Board, Mr. J Cabot Seth, and wife Tonia received the Family Exemplar Award from Notre Dame University. The prestigious award was established in 1999 and is presented annually to an individual, couple, or family who has been exemplars in their own lives and what they do to improve the quality of family life.

J Seth is a long-time resident of Sumter, SC and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. While at Notre Dame, he made the dean’s list, was pole-vaulter on the University’s Track and Field team—winning a monogram in the sport – and was the Cadet Commander of the Air Force ROTC unit.

Tonia was born in Elkhart, IN and met J on a blind date at Notre Dame’s Air Force Ball. Tonia attended Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and received her RN in the summer of 1975.

J earned his Law Degree from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law in December 1977. While J was in Law School, Tonia worked as a critical care nurse, helping the Sisters of Charity open the first open-heart surgery unit in South Carolina at Providence Hospital.

J served on active duty in the Air Force for 4½ years as a Judge Advocate, and retired from the Reserves as a lieutenant colonel in 2003. As one of the founding partners in the law firm of Jones, Seth, Shuler & Jones LLP, J’s private practice work has taken him as far east as Kenya, Africa, and as far west as Hawaii. He has served as Sumter County Prosecutor and Sumter Municipal Judge.

While her primary role has been raising their five children, Tonia has worked in Labor and Delivery, taught natural family planning (NFP) for the Diocese of Charleston, and is passionate about promoting pro-life causes.

J and Tonia enjoy spending time with their ten grandchildren and are active members of the Catholic community of Sumter. They have been very active in local civic and church affairs and are particularly proud of having co-founded two non-profit organizations – Family Honor, Inc. and St. Francis Xavier School, Inc.

J and Tonia also serve as Presenters for Family Honor parent-child programs.

Family Honor provides and promotes a family-centered Catholic approach to chastity education. Family Honor has been active for 22 years and currently has affiliates in seven states. Family Honor has helped thousands of families convey to their children the good news of God’s gift of sexuality.