Divorced? Guide to handle holidays is for you

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SAN DIEGO — If the pain of divorce or separation has you approaching the holiday season with dread, the Office for Family Life and Spirituality is here to help.

The diocesan office has invited Vince Frese, co-author of “Divorced. Catholic. Now What?” and creator of the support program “Recovering from Divorce,” to lead an online workshop.

“Handling the Holidays” will be offered via Zoom on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“The holidays magnify everything,” said Frese. “In good times, they magnify the good times; in bad times, they magnify the bad times.”

Frese, who is divorced and brings his personal experience to his ministry, described the upcoming event as “a mini-workshop” that will cover various scenarios divorced Catholics are likely to encounter during the holiday season and offer practical tips on how to deal with them.

“We know (the holiday season is) a really challenging time for those that are divorced or separated, because you’re creating new traditions no matter what your family life used to look like,” said Janelle Peregoy, associate director for Separated & Divorced Ministry in the Office for Family Life and Spirituality.

Peregoy said her office regularly offers a special workshop for divorced and separated Catholics around this time of year. She said one way that Frese’s presentation will differ from previous installments is that it will have more to say about the challenges associated with co-parenting during the holidays.

“I know how challenging divorce is … particularly when you have kids involved,” said Frese, who had three young children when he and his wife divorced 22 years ago.

Frese, whose “Recovering from Divorce” program is currently offered at St. Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach and has been used by other diocesan parishes, said he wants those participating in “Handling the Holidays” to leave with a sense of hope.

“The key for me in healing and really giving me a road map of living my life after divorce is my Catholic faith,” he said.

“Living that faith not only helps you navigate the uncertainty … but also gives you the graces that will strengthen you and help you to cope with the challenges you’re going to confront, no matter how long it’s been since your divorce.”

For more information or to register, contact Janelle Peregoy at (858) 490-8292 or

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