Marriage and Family director prepares to step into retirement

There are many euphemisms for those completing a journey: end-of-the-line, winding down, topping off the building with a tall flagpole or my personal favorite: It’s not over until the fat lady sings.

By Chris Codden

Well, after 31-plus years at the Diocese of St. Cloud, plus a few more as a volunteer, I am officially retiring in January.

I want to thank each of you for your dedication, courage and integrity in serving your families and communities to bring the Gospel message to the world. It has been an extreme privilege and honor. I have admired your love for Christ and his church, for the sanctity of life and your defense for the most vulnerable in our society — the unborn.

Through these last years, there have been many issues and challenges. The threats to life and family have been many. It is not surprising that the evil one strikes at the heart of the basis of society. One hundred years ago, Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who witnessed the

Rich and Chris Codden (Photo courtesy of Chris Codden)

Marian apparitions at Fatima, foretold of this danger. Before her death, she predicted that the final battle between Christ and Satan would be over marriage and the family. And the battle has been raging for some time.

In this ongoing battle, we have won some fights — for example, the ban on partial-birth abortion and overturning the HHS mandate on religious organizations being forced to pay for abortions. Some fights we have lost, such as the marriage amendment recognizing the sacredness of marriage only between one man and one woman. And, for some issues, it is too soon to know the outcome.

I have been part of initiating important ministries, such as the 40 Days for Life campaigns, Project Rachel ministries, Courage and EnCourage, the Catholic men’s and women’s conferences, Honoring Marriage Day, Vespers for Life, Fortnight for Freedom and purity balls.

Chris Codden speaks at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Chris Codden)

During my tenure, I have personally had the great privilege to present to well over 100,000 people on topics of sexuality, respect life, puberty, gender theory, pornography, marriage and dating. I will carry with me the lessons I have learned and the inspiration I have received working with so many of you.

Soon, a new director of this office will be named. As for me, I will still be working part time with the Fully Engaged program. My husband, Rich, and I will be traveling in our fifth-wheel trailer throughout the country much of the year, training new mentor couples to prepare engaged couples in the sacrament of holy matrimony. So, while my journey as director of the Office of Marriage and Family may be coming to an end, a new adventure begins.

When God closes a door, he opens a window, and it’s time to hit the road. And while the fat lady may be singing, what I will strive to hear is, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Please join in our continued prayers for an end to the tragedy of abortion, for the sanctity of marriage and family and particularly for holy Mother Church.

Blessings … Chris

Chris Codden is director of the Office of Marriage and Family of the Diocese of St. Cloud. Contact her at


Author: The Visitor

The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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