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The Event


Join us for a weekend of healing and hope for people who have suffered the pain and isolation of divorce. Find love and joy again at New Beginnings’ online summit.

The theme of the stained glass window is “Ode to the Sister Moon and the Brother Sun” by St. Francis of Assisi. Unique to Marin Catholic, this devotional work of art features the outline of Mount Tamalpais, which may be seen through the colored glass. Client: Marin Catholic School. Location: Kentfield, CA, United States

Who We Are

We are people of faith who have experienced the pain of separation and divorce. Because we believe that all things are possible with God, we are on a journey of healing and reconciliation. We seek to provide accompaniment, share our stories, and help find answers for those on a similar journey. We welcome people of all faiths or no faith at all.


Father Roger was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Although raised Lutheran, he was confirmed and received into the Catholic Church in 1989 at the age of 24. After earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an MBA from Georgia State University, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California, he received a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago and practiced employment law. He later discerned a call to the priesthood and attended St. Patrick’s Seminary. On June 7, 2014, Father Roger was ordained to the priesthood and assigned to St. Hilary Church in Tiburon for two years. He then became Pastor of St. Brendan Church in San Francisco. Since July 2020, Father Roger has served as Pastor of St. Hilary Church and Administrator of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Sausalito.

John Gray is an American relationship counselor, lecturer, author and personal relationship counselor. In 1992 he published the book “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” , which became a long term best seller and formed the central theme of all his subsequent books and career activities. His books have sold millions of copies.

Vince Frese is the author of the Daily Inspirations for Divorced Catholics, read by over 2,500 people each day. He is also the co-author of “Divorced Catholic. Now What?” . A book that has helped thousands of divorced Catholics worldwide. He is the founder of divorcedcatholic.org and the creator of the divorced recovery programs “Recovering from Divorce” and “Rebuilding after Divorce”. He has been blogging since 2009.

A native San Franciscan, Rev. Al Grosskopf serves as a pastoral minister at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California. A Priest Consultant to the national organization, Catholic Divorce Ministry, and a regular contributor to Jacob’s Well, a monthly newsletter for divorced Catholics. Father Grosskopf has ministered to divorced people for several decades.

Anne M. Vano, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with 19 years experience working with individuals, couples and families.  She has extensive experience helping individuals recover from various types of trauma including separation and divorce. In particular, she helps her clients understand how the abandonment and loss from the emotional storm of a powerful rupture like divorce, may trigger feelings of shame, and fear.  In order to heal fully, Dr. Vano helps clients gradually and thoughtfully explore all aspects of the trauma, encouraging self-compassion along the way, so that hope in oneself and in others can be restored. While she is working remotely now, Dr. Vano maintains a private practice in Mill Valley, California.

Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski is a licensed clinical professional counselor, pastoral counselor, and a leading figure in the Catholic pastoral care of children from divorced or separated families. As President and Founder of the Faith Journeys Foundation, Inc. Faithjourneys, she works with parishes and Dioceses to offer pastoral care programs to facilitate children’s healing in a Catholic context. Lynn is also a child of divorce who has been happily married for nearly two decades and, as such, serves as a beacon of hope for families. Her work has been recognized by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, the Knights of Columbus, and various dioceses. She has appeared on EWTN and Relevant Radio and speaks at conferences around the country.

As a child of divorce, Joey Pontarelli started Restored to help other children of divorce. Restored gives teens and young adults the practical advice and tools they need to cope, heal, and grow from the trauma of their parents’ divorce or separation, so they can feel whole again. He’s spoken across the U.S. and abroad. His articles have been featured on the Chastity Project, FOCUS, and Shalom Tidings Magazine. Joey lives in Colorado with his wife, Brigid.

Fr. Joseph Illo was born in a little Italian part of the Bronx, City Island, and baptized at Our Lady Star of the Sea .  He grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and graduated from High School in 1979.  He graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the Pennsylvania State University in 1983, and then moved to San Francisco to work for a Catholic publishing house, Ignatius Press.  He went on to study philosophy, theology, and history at Blackfriars, Oxford (England) for a year, then to Rome for a B.A. in philosophy from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the Angelicum).  While in Rome he lived one year with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary and another year as porter of the Benedictine Motherhouse, Sant’Anselmo on the Aventine Hill.  


FRIDAY, September 11 (5:30 pm - 8:00 pm)

5:30 PM PST, 7:30 PM CT, 8:30 PM ET

5:30 pm

Welcome and Opening prayer.

6:00-6:40 pm
Keynote Speaker: Mr. John Gray - “Rebuilding healthy relationships after divorce”.
6:40-7:10 pm

Q&A from the audience.

7:15-7:30 pm
Worship and Praise. Music by Saint Hilary's Band.
7:30-8:00 pm
Blessed Sacrament adoration from the Chapel of St. Hilary’s Church.

Note: Prayer Rooms will be opened through the night starting at 8:00 pm (PST).

SATURDAY, September 12 (9:00 am - 3:00 pm)

9:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM CT, 12:00 PM ET

9:00 am
Healing Mass: “The love of God the Father”.
10:00 am
Keynote Speaker: Mr. Vince Frese - “A return to love after divorce”.
10:45-11:00 am

Q&A from the audience.

11:00-11:15 am

Morning stretch break.

11:15-12:00 m
Round table discussion: Ms. Lynn Cassella- Kapusinski, LCPC,NCC, Mr. Joey Pontarelli – “Helping children cope with divorce” .
12:00-12:30 m

Lunch Break.

12:30-1:15 pm
Father Joseph Illo – “The gift of Forgiveness and Reconciliation”
1:15- 1:30 pm

Sing-and-dance break.

1:30- 2:30 pm
Round table discussion: Mrs. Anne M. Vano and Father Al Grosskopf – “Fear and healing the wounds of rejection and abandonment”.
2:30- 3:00 pm
Closing Message and blessing from Father Roger Gustafson.

Karen Beale

Master of Ceremonies

James Daley











We kindly request a voluntary minimum donation of US $ 20  to attend. This entire Summit is being brought to you by a team of donors and volunteers who, like you, have experienced divorce in their lives.

To give by check, mail to: St. Hilary Church, 761 Hilary Dr.,Tiburon, CA 94920 for“ New Beginnings Summit 2020”.

Organized by:

With the support of the Archdiocese of San Francisco