Catholic Charities' Parish Liason Network gives families what they need

Parish lay leaders recently joined Arlington Catholic Charities to discuss ways to strengthen the family and how Catholic Charities helps with this throughout the diocese. The quarterly gathering of Catholic Charities Parish Liaison Network included representatives from 36 parishes. The PLN acts as the link between both the parish and Catholic Charities and between a parish and other parishes.

Beverly H. Tauke, a family counselor, author and member of the Catholic Charities board of directors, gave a presentation on working through family hardships. She discussed identifying and correcting dysfunctional family systems and breaking the cycle of pain and unhealthy behaviors. She also underscored the important role that faith plays in emotional healing.

Tauke explained how a person's family-of-origin might impact their adult relationships, including marriage, parenting or friendships. She pointed out that people who choose to face residual family pain usually fare much better.

"People who focus on their family-of-origin issues fast-track their emotional and relational repair," Tauke said.

Anne Devine, a therapist and program manager for Catholic Charities' counseling progam, identified ways that Catholic Charities works to strengthen families facing the struggles that Tauke described.

Catholic Charities offers Catholic-based treatment to clients on a sliding scale. They provide individual, marital, parent/child, family and group counseling and see clients in 11 different locations throughout the diocese, including at many parishes.

Counseling is the Catholic Charities service that is most requested by pastors and priests.

"Those who seek counseling services are courageous because they are willing to say 'I need help,'" Devine said.

These discussions come at a time when the family is a heavily discussed topic by the Holy Father.

"I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without," Pope Francis said in his address to Congress.

In addition to helping families through such services as counseling, or providing housing and food Catholic Charities offers a speakers' series on strengthening families that is geared toward parishes, schools and ministry groups.

"The most beautiful thing that God made, the Bible says, was the family," said Pope Francis.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015