From Sept. 30 through Oct. 1, around 80 priests, deacons, and laity gathered at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Nashville for a case sponsor training with the Diocese of Nashville’s Tribunal office as new and old case sponsors went through a refresher of the process, learned about the different types of cases processed, and completed continuing case sponsor education.
The Tribunal is in place to assist those interested in entering into a marriage in the Church after previously being married, explained Erin Stracener, director of the Tribunal. A case sponsor acts as the liaison between the client and the Tribunal office.
“A case sponsor is someone who assists a person in the parish when they first learn that they have an irregular marriage situation that needs to be addressed,” Stracener said. “A case sponsor helps them figure out what they need to do and helps them communicate with us.”
Those who attended one of the two sessions were a mix of both old and new to the process. Patrick Held, annual appeal coordinator for the Office of Stewardship and Development, was one of the latter.
“I wanted to be a case sponsor due to some of my classes from seminary,” explained Held, who was previously a seminarian for the diocese before discerning out. “I thought since I had been in formation for some time, I could help the Tribunal out with some of my education.”
“I learned that it is a complex process, and it is important to gather all of the right information,” he said of the training. “The Tribunal has made it somewhat easier by providing questionnaires that narrow things down and make sure we get everything at the start of the process.”
While complex, Held said he is looking forward to being able to serve in this new role.
“This new responsibility will allow me to serve the Church and Her faithful in a much deeper way by helping those seeking annulments and help provide healing along the way,” he said.
For more information about starting the annulment process, email email@example.com or call 615-783-0271.