Session 2 Panel 2

Personal Formation for Marriage Counselling and Facilitation:  Lay Leadership in the post-Millennial Age.

11:30 am: Personal Formation for Marriage Counselling and Facilitation:  Lay Leadership in the post-Millennial Age.
Merrion Room - EN

•    Bishop Lionel Gendron, Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Canada
•    Dr. Elizabeth Davies, Marriage Care, England 
•    Mrs Fran Watson, Marriage Care, England

In Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father tell us that “marriage preparation should be a kind of “initiation” to the sacrament of matrimony, providing couples with the help they need to receive the sacrament worthily and to make a solid beginning of life as a family” (207). This presentation discusses the importance of lay leadership to the pastoral care of families and the need for appropriate formation of lay counsellors and facilitators.


Bishop Lionel Gendron, Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Canada

Bishop Lionel Gendron P.S.S. was born 12 June 1944 in New Brunswick, Canada. Following theological studies in Montreal, he was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Montreal on 31 May 1969. He earned a doctorate in theology in 1975 from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and has been a member of the Society of the Priests of Saint-Sulpice (also known as the Sulpicians) since 1972. Before becoming Bishop, he carried out most of his priestly ministry as a seminary formator and professor of theology. He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 and appointed Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil in 2010. At the annual Plenary Assembly in September 2017, he became President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Since 2011, he has been a member of the CCCB Executive Committee and Permanent Council, first as Co-Treasurer, then as Vice-President, and now as President.

Dr. Elizabeth Davies, Marriage Care, England 

Dr Elizabeth Davies is Director of Marriage Preparation & Formation at Catholic Marriage Care, whose volunteers prepare nearly 3000 couples for marriage each year. Her current focus is on developing online formation, funded by the Charles Plater Trust, and increasing Marriage Care’s capacity for marriage preparation. In her previous post as Marriage & Family Life Project Officer at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, Elizabeth was responsible for a series of major projects addressing family-friendly parishes, family spirituality, passing on faith within the family and marriage preparation, as well as the pre-synod family consultations. Her doctoral work focussed on the role of the diocesan coordinator of family ministry in England & Wales. She is also a member of the Academic Board of INTAMS, the International Academy for Marital Spirituality in Belgium and has a Master’s degree in Family Ministry from Regis University in Denver, USA.

Mrs Fran Watson, Marriage Care, England

Fran Watson is married with four grown up children and lives with her husband in Oxfordshire, England. She joined Marriage Care in 2014 as a volunteer Marriage Preparation Course Facilitator and has helped to prepare more than 250 couples for Marriage within the Catholic Church. Since leaving her professional role as a Chemistry Teacher to work part-time in the family business she has been able to increase her voluntary role. In September 2017 she became Oxford Head of Centre and recently joined the Marriage Care National Training body. Fran has found a growing need to nurture the spirituality of both the couples and volunteers with whom she works. In order to support herself in this role Fran recognised the need to consider her own formation, and as a result is currently studying for a certificate in Catechesis on Marriage and Family with Maryvale Institute. 


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