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 CNS Story:

KANSAS-MARRIAGE Jul-18-2012 (390 words) With photo. xxxn

Kansas Catholic Charities agencies launch healthy marriage campaign

By Catholic News Service

WICHITA, Kan. (CNS) -- A new Catholic-run Kansas public awareness campaign to promote healthy marriages and relationships also can help build stronger families, said the executive director of Catholic Charities in the Wichita Diocese.


Home page from "Love Letters From Kansas," a state Catholic Charities public awareness program seeking to uplift the value of marriage and assist people in forming strong, healthy relationships. (CNS)

"Relationships impact the daily fabric of our society. The services we offer provide tangible tools for individuals that enhance the way they interact with everyone in their lives, not just their spouses or partners," Cynthia Colbert said in announcing the campaign.

Catholic Charities affiliates in the dioceses of Wichita, Salina and Dodge City and the Archdiocese of Kansas City have launched "Love Letters from Kansas," a public awareness campaign that includes English- and Spanish-language television and radio spots, news stories, promotional materials and a website, www.KansasLoveLetters.com.

The statewide effort is being funded by a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded last October. With the grant, the "Love Letters" campaign expands on an existing Catholic Charities' Marriage for Keeps program that focuses on stabilizing families in crisis and strengthening families for life.

The expanded campaign provides programming for singles, dating couples, engaged couples as well as married couples from all faiths and backgrounds throughout the state.

"As the Holy Father says, we serve out of our Catholic faith," Colbert told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview July 17. "That's our strong social mission," she added, regardless of the faith of those served and "whether the church is providing, shelter, food or counseling."

Since 2007, the four Catholic Charities affiliates in Kansas have provided free relationship education services to more than 1,100 individuals and couples through the Marriage for Keeps program.

Through "Love Letters from Kansas" Catholic Charities wants to help married couples strengthen their relationship "for a lifetime," and to help single people "identify what is a healthy relationship," she said.

The program features small-group, interactive relationship and marital education workshops. Colbert said the "Love Letters" campaign also provides additional services to strengthen families, such as helping couples access community services, receive employment and career development, and get parenting skills training.

Sessions are being offered "in many settings" all over the state.

Because of the federal grant, Catholic Charities cannot incorporate church teaching on marriage "or proselytize in any way," Colbert emphasized, but she added there is no barrier to a priest or minister having follow-up sessions with couples beyond the campaign's programming.

END


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