Much-loved psychotherapist honored with Marian statue


By Theresa Carson

The ministry of Father Martin Padovani SVD was recognized with a special dedication of a Blessed Mother statue at St. Rose School in Belmar, N.J., on Nov. 12.

Colleen Caulfield donated the statue, which used to adorn her parents’ home. They wished to honor Father Padovani for his six decades in the priesthood and his decades of work in clinical psychology.

A sought-after speaker on relationships and parenting, Father Padovani has been a member of the Society of the Divine Word, the world’s largest Catholic missionary order, since 1952 and an ordained priest since 1960.

“Since he achieved his 60th year (of priesthood) during the pandemic, he wasn’t able to celebrate,” Ms. Caulfield said. “I’m thrilled to be able to be involved in this dedication. It is my way of personally recognizing what he has done for me, but more than that, what he has done for the many families whom he has touched.”

As a licensed marriage and family therapist in the State of New Jersey, he has assisted countless number of families. For decades, Father Padovani, a recognized psychotherapist, has encouraged counselors to help divorced Catholics gain insight into their first marriages, face their own faults and avoid carrying emotional and psychological baggage into second marriages.

Recognizing the high failure rate of second marriages, he has been an outspoken proponent of establishing education to help Catholics who are entering marriage again.

To extend that hope to people who cannot meet him in person, he authored two books—Healing Wounded Emotions (Twenty-Third Publications, 1987) and Healing Wounded Relationships (Twenty-Third Publications, 2006)—through which he integrates faith and science. The books have been translated into seven languages.

The dedication ceremony at St. Rose included a blessing at the school and a reception.

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