New Formation Associate’s Focus is Marriage and Family Life

Photo by Colleen Rowan

By Colleen Rowan WHEELING—As the new formation associate with a primary focus on Marriage and Family Life for the diocesan Department of Formation and Mission, Christopher Bayardi wants parishes to know he is ready to assist with what they need.

Bayardi began in the position last month. “I’m delighted to welcome Chris to our team here in the Department of Formation and Mission,” said Nick Mayrand, director of Formation and Mission. “Chris will be spearheading our efforts to serve couples and families across West Virginia as they live out their Catholic faith amidst life’s many joys and struggles. Thanks to Chris’s experience, passion, and creativity, I fully expect us to be able to build up a robust set of marriage and family life ministries in the coming months and years!”

Bayardi’s experience includes serving as a campus minister at West Liberty University and Bethany College, and as pastoral associate for Formation and Education at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling. He was also religion teacher and director of Campus Ministry and Mission Integration at North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township, Pa., and was a religion teacher in Columbus and Pittsburgh schools. Bayardi has a Bachelor of Arts in English Education Grades five-12 from WLU and a Master of Arts in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.

In his new role, Bayardi is dealing with all things regarding the sacrament of marriage—helping with marriage preparation, offering support to parishes and family life coordinators, priests, deacons. “Whoever needs help with preparing couples who are entering into the sacrament of marriage and then family life after that,” Bayardi said. This also includes baptismal preparation, raising children in the faith, coordinating Natural Family Planning presentations, and offering support for sponsor couples.

What Bayardi hopes to accomplish in his new role, he said, is to offer a solid marriage and family life program that is useful, accessible and encouraging to the diocese. “To help couples and families realize the dignity, the beauty and the responsibility of living out the sacrament of marriage and family life itself,” he said. The family, he said, is an image of Christ’s love for the church and God’s love for the world. “It’s the best icon for that love,” he said. “I want people to be aware of that.”

Bayardi also wants parishes and those who work in marriage preparation and family life to know that they can contact him anytime for any of their needs. “Let’s have a conversation about what you need, what you want, what you are hoping for,” he said. One of his goals, he said, is to help married couples know that God has a special gift for them. “I want married couples to realize the grace that is available to them every day in their marriage,” he said. “They minister the sacrament to one another all the time. Husband and wife are help mates to heaven for each other. There is grace in living out the sacrament of marriage available to them. God gives you grace to love your husband, to love your wife.” Bayardi and his wife of 17 years, Sarah, live in the Northern Panhandle with their two sons on a 160-year-old homestead.

They are members of St. Anthony Parish in Follansbee. Bayardi can be reached by calling toll free (888) 434-6237, ext. 334, or by sending e-mail to