Parish Ministry Conference - Christ, the Sure Foundation


Marriage, Family and Moral Education in a Challenging Age

Patricia Murphy, PhD & Fr. Kevin Belgrave, STD

Today's families find themselves in increasingly challenging circumstances. More than ever before, fruitful family ministry requires us to understand deeply the Catholic vision of the family, marriage, and morality, and to be able to communicate and live it joyfully and confidently.

This track will offer existing and prospective family ministry leaders (such as clergy, parish staff, catechists, leaders of mothers and fathers groups) an accessible "big picture" vision of the meaning of the family, marriage, and morality. We will consider what it means to be made in the image of God, and how this foundational dimension of the human person shapes everything from the meaning of marriage and family and the daily moral choices we make as we live out our vocation, to how we respond to the difficult moral challenges that often confront family life today.

Participants will learn basic principles of St. John Paul II’s beautiful teaching on human love, marriage and family in Theology of the Body, as well as a simple yet comprehensive way of understanding and explaining the moral life to people of all ages. This track will conclude with some practical reflections, resources, and best practices on how parents can support the moral formation of their children in this complex and often difficult era.

Dr. Patricia MurphyDr. Patricia Murphy is a graduate of the Christianity and Culture Program at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Her Boston College doctoral dissertation in Theology explored Aquinas’ teaching on the vice of acedia, or “sloth,” and concluded that for Aquinas, acedia means “flight from God as friend.” Dr. Murphy is the Associate Professor of Moral Theology at St. Augustine’s Seminary. She taught at in the areas of the foundations of moral theology, bioethics and human sexuality and marriage since 2004. Her students include seminarians, men in the permanent diaconate formation program and their wives, and lay women and men in the Institute of Theology. She speaks regularly before a variety of audiences and is the author of Catholic Marriage: An Intimate Community of Life and Love (Novalis, 2011).

Fr. Kevin BelgraveFr. Kevin Belgrave was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Toronto in 2008. After ordination, he spent a year in parish ministry before continuing his studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, where he received a License in Moral Theology in 2011 and a Doctorate in 2014. He is currently on the academic and formation faculty of St. Augustine’s Seminary as Assistant Professor of Moral Theology, where he teaches a number of courses in moral theology, including bioethics, foundations of moral theology, human sexuality, and Catholic social teachings. In 2014, Cardinal Collins assigned Fr. Belgrave the chaplain of the Courage chapter for the Archdiocese of Toronto, and since then he has been closely engaged in pastoral work with men, women, and families navigating questions of sexual identity. Fr. Kevin's presentations are deeply shaped by the fruit of this pastoral ministry with Courage as well as his teaching ministry in the area of the Catholic vision of morality, the human person, sexuality, and pastoral care.

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