The following comes from an August 7 story in Catholic San Francisco.
For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, Ed Hopfner is all in as director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life Ministries of the archdiocese of San Francisco. Hopfner comes to the archdiocese after serving for five years in a similar marriage and family life role for the diocese of Oakland.
Marriage and family life work first piqued Hopfner’s interest while acquiring a graduate degree in theology from the Dominican School of Theology and Philosophy in Berkeley. His way in was Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body, a work he called “a catechesis delivered by Pope John Paul II on the nature of the human person, and our relationship to God, to other persons particularly in marriage, and to ourselves.” The teaching’s being accessible to “the modern person” impressed Hopfner greatly saying it “quite naturally led me into the areas of marriage and family.”
He also holds a graduate degree in chemistry and taught for “many years” at the high school and college level in Seattle. “The teaching experience is very important, as a big part of this job is teaching about marriage and preparing leaders to do the same,” Hopfner said.
A surprise to some may be that the new marriage and family life director is not married. “At least not at this point,” Hopfner said parenthetically in his email interview with Catholic San Francisco, admitting that being minus a bride does make the job more challenging. “I don’t have the immediate experience of marriage to draw on, to add ‘authenticity’ to what I have to say,” he said. His experience, that marriage is based on universal principles and the church’s 2,000 years experience helps ease the crunch.
“Even though each particular marriage is unique, there are ways to make marriage work well that apply to everyone,” Hopfner said. “I’ve had the great fortune to speak in depth to many happily married couples – some married over 50 years – as well as to study what makes marriages successful, so I’m convinced that I am able to present couples with information that is well validated by experience….”
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