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This profile was last updated on 2/24/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Mary Jo Pedersen

Wrong Mary Jo Pedersen?


Local Address:  Omaha , Nebraska , United States

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • M.A.
  • Master's degrees , history and theology
    Creighton University
62 Total References
Web References
Director: Mary Pedersen, ..., 24 Feb 2014 [cached]
Director: Mary Pedersen, D.Min., Email DBQCAF,
Lay Formation - Director: Mary Pedersen, D.Min., Email DBQCAF
IMPACT - Director: Mary Pedersen, D.Min., Email DBQCAF
Consultant: Mary Pedersen, D.Min. Email DBQCAF
October Archives [cached]
Mary Jo Pedersen, specialist in marital and family spirituality for the family life office of the Archdiocese of Omaha, will present the retreat with her husband Dave, a private practice lawyer.
At the retreat, said Pedersen, "we'll focus on promises made at the altar: what they meant then and what they mean now.We'll open up Christian traditions and teachings and look at marriage as a sacrament, a commitment and a vocation - a call to holiness."
A noted author, Pedersen presents workshops and retreats on marriage, family and lay ministry, both locally and nationally.She spent two years developing this retreat and will share research statistics that participants will find both alarming and reaffirming.
"Marriage is an institution that affects so many aspects of our lives," she said."Sociologists, psychologists, politicians, economists, clergy - all study the effect marriage and divorce have on our society.At the retreat, we'll look at research in terms of what makes a marriage work."
Approximately 40 to 50 percent of marriages currently end in divorce, Pedersen said.However, religious marriages are less likely to break up than nonreligious marriages.Catholics and Lutherans share a similar divorce rate, but it's lower than that of other denominations.
Pedersen believes premarital counseling is a contributing factor.
"Catholics and Lutherans have been very intentional about premarriage counseling," Pedersen said."In fact, 10 percent of those who go through the pre-marriage inventory choose not to marry because of what they learn about themselves and their partner."
What the Catholic Church does not do is offer yearly checkups, she noted.
"The greater the difference between what ..., 1 Jan 2009 [cached]
"The greater the difference between what you expect is going to happen and what happens, the greater your stress will be," says Mary Jo Pedersen, a teacher and author who worked for the Family Life Office in the Archdiocese of Omaha until retiring in 2008. "We have so commercialized Christmas and romanticized it and perfected it-your house looks a certain way and your tree, your clothes, your parties, your gifts-the expectation of what it [should be] is unrealistic."
It may be more realistic, she says, to anticipate stress and tension and not be surprised when it pops up. Most people celebrate Christmas with extended family, which makes things even more complicated.
"We have to look at the realities of extended families. Almost half of marriages end in divorce every year," Pedersen says.
Pedersen speaks of the family as a "school of love," using the words of Pope John Paul II in his 1981 message Familiaris Consortio. "That doesn't mean to have affection for them," she says.
That kind of reconciliation can be part of Advent preparation, Pedersen says.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Mary Jo Pedersen, a teacher and author on family issues, encourages Catholics to tune in to Advent: to pray and read scripture, light the candles on the Advent wreath, and look for chances for reconciliation and for helping others. Parishes can offer resources such as Advent calendars or inexpensive devotional books or opportunities for service.
"You just can't have a baby without a pregnancy," Pedersen says. "You can't have Christmas without Advent. You have to have a period where the spiritual work is to prepare yourself for accepting Christ into our midst."
Doing that spiritual preparation will change your expectations. "Spiritually you'll be in a different place. You're going to be seeking peace and reconciliation," Pedersen says.
"If you've been unhappy for the previous three months because your spouse is dead, then it's not a reasonable expectation to be happy at Christmas," Pedersen says.
Retreat offers enrichment to married couples - February 13, 2003, 13 Feb 2003 [cached]
The retreat was created and facilitated by Mary Jo Pedersen of Omaha, who holds her master's in theology and is a staff member of the Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Omaha.
During the retreat, Pedersen asked the couples to remember what they had promised on their wedding day - to love and honor one another.The couples were also asked to reflect upon the marriage vocation where they work toward oneness while maintaining individuality.
"They were encouraged to look at the marriage over the years and reflect on changes that have happened, what caused those changes and how they saw God's presence," said Hurni.
In one activity following a talk by Pedersen, the couples were asked to complete the sentence: "I am committed to my spouse and our marriage because ... "
"One of the things that the couples mentioned they appreciated was that she (Pedersen) had research and writings of the church that backed up what she said.
In a talk centered on marriage as a sacrament, Pedersen spoke to the couples about how their relationship is a sign to their children and their community of God's presence.
At one point, the facilitator had them write concrete promises as a couple.They kept that promise in mind particularly as she asked them to approach the reception of the Eucharist side-by-side during the liturgy that was held in the chapel.
"She also talked about how marriages go through cycles - infatuation, disillusionment and intimacy," noted Hurni."Couples should expect that cycle and when they are in disillusionment they need to pay attention and really work on their marriage because that is the time when they can become separated."She related this to the paschal mystery where the have Good Fridays, Holy Saturdays and Easter Sunday.
During the examination of conscience, Pedersen encouraged couples to look at how they had strengthened their marriages and how they had weakened it.
U.S. Catholic Magazine: Our love is here to stay, 28 Feb 2009 [cached]
Mary Jo Pedersen
Mary Jo Pedersen Retired member of the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska;
The editors interview Mary Jo Pedersen
If you ask Mary Jo Pedersen the secret to a good marriage, she just might point you to a dentist. How they think about teeth, she says, is how the rest of us should think about marriage:
"You get one set of teeth, that's it. They are of great value. If you don't take care of them, you can lose them, and it's going to cost you a lot of money and a lot of pain, so you go to the dentist and you get preventive care."
As a national leader in Catholic family ministry and faith formation, Pedersen has encouraged preventive care for marriage through workshops, publications, and retreats. She recently retired from 25 years on the staff of the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Omaha, and she's also served as an adviser to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Marriage and Family as they put together their forthcoming pastoral letter on marriage.
While communicating to couples the importance of ongoing marriage education and enrichment can be a challenge, Pedersen embraces it. "Marriage is life's most important work, ultimately. It's also a key investment in your health, your finances, your spiritual welfare. When you buy a new car, you take it in for an oil change every six months. Do you take your marriage in for a checkup every six months?"
Pedersen and her husband, Dave, have been married for 38 years and have three grown children.
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