President-elect of the Catholic Family Life Association hopes to model the image of the Holy Family in her new national role
DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Socorro Truchan is all about familia. When you walk into her family home of more than 30 years near St. Maria Goretti Parish in Dearborn Heights, you notice an abundance of two things: family and her Catholic faith.
The walls, tables, and even her refrigerator are covered with pictures of her four adult children and her husband, whom she always refers to as her “beloved husband, Tony.” Pictures of her parents and siblings, who hail from Mexico, and of in-laws from Ukraine are everywhere. Where there isn’t an image of her earthly family, there is of her heavenly one: "Mama Mary," Jesus, the saints and angels.
This outward display is a true reflection of the inner desire and drives of Truchan’s heart — all of which makes her recent appointment as president-elect for the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers make sense.
“I have always seen the family as the place for everything, warts and all. Family is home. Family is life,” Truchan told Detroit Catholic.
The NACFLM, which recently changed its name to the Catholic Family Life Association (CFLA) to better accommodate the numerous individuals, apostolates, parishes and movements it supports, “offer(s) support and professional enrichment for those who minister to and with families” and “strives to implement a vision of marriage and family ministry encompassing the entire life cycle.”
Truchan previously worked for the Archdiocese of Detroit, first as a fourth-grade teacher at St. Sebastian in Dearborn Heights and then as private secretary to then-Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Flores, the first Hispanic bishop in Michigan. She then served as the archdiocese's coordinator of marriage, family and pro-life ministries for three years.
For the past nine years, Truchan has worked for the Diocese of Kalamazoo as associate director of the domestic church (marriage and family). Truchan still lives in the Detroit area and commutes every week to Kalamazoo.
In October 2022, Truchan was made president-elect of the association and will officially become president in October 2023 at the CFLA's annual conference.
Truchan’s vision for the association is simple: she points to Mother Mary.
“It is about Mary bringing us to her son,” Truchan said. “The vision for the association is of marriage and family ministry accompanying the entire life cycle, but at the center of this is Mary. She has been calling us since Fatima and before that even. She keeps calling us in so many different ways to come to her son. We just celebrated Christmas, and we couldn’t have Jesus if it weren’t for Mary, if we look at the natural sense of it. She said yes.”
The Holy Family can serve as the perfect role model for the family, Truchan said, and it all began because of Mary’s perfect “yes.”
Consecrated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Truchan was born in Mexico, the second child and first-born daughter of seven children. While she was still in her mother’s womb, her grandfather dedicated her to Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro: Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
“He commissioned a statue that I inherited from my mother, who inherited it from him,” Truchan said. “(Our Lady) is my mom, and she is a real mother, and she will guide us; she listens to us, and leads us to her son.”
The statue now sits in Truchan’s bedroom, a reminder of Mary's perpetual love and help.
Truchan’s deep love for the domestic church began with her own family, and when she speaks about her father, Dr. Aristeo Acosta Carreón, it is with reverence and awe.
Truchan’s father worked in the agricultural field, which led the family to travel around the world, eventually settling in Morocco for four years when Truchan was a teenager while her father worked directly with USAID and the U.S.
“My father specialized in wheat, and there were days that we would go into the fields with him and learn how to cross-breed the wheat,” Truchan explained. “This was all done as a family — we learned together, and we prayed together. Even though Morocco is a Muslim country, my parents always found the Catholic Church.”
While there, Truchan recalls piling into a Volkswagen bus as a family and traveling to nearby holy places, including Fatima and Lourdes.
This time was extremely memorable, Truchan said, and through it all, she remained dedicated to her faith and served as a catechist and Eucharistic minister wherever she was.
“Those were all seeds for me growing up. Even though at the time I was a teenager, I remember all of this very well,” Truchan said. “I know that I was called to serve in some capacity.”
A vision for family life
Truchan has been involved with the NACFLM for more than a decade, and has been instrumental in forming the Federation for Hispanic Family Ministry, which is under the banner of the association. Truchan has served on the board and as the association's representative for Michigan and Ohio.
“(The association) would need someone to do something, and I would raise my hand ... and then I ask questions later: ‘What am I supposed to do?’” Truchan said. “I have learned along the way and had great mentors.”
As president, Truchan hopes to convey a message told to her by her father: tu vales mucho — "You are of much value."
“My father would say that to me, to all of us, when we were struggling. He would come up to me and touch me on the forehead, and looking at me in the eyes, he would say, ‘Tu vales mucho.’” Truchan said. “That message and the way that it was expressed to me by my father, whom I loved and admired, helped me become the women I am today.”
This message takes time to convey and be believed, Truchan said. However, even in leadership, when people are busy and consumed by their work, it is important to take time for the individual.
“Even though Jesus called the crowd, he approached each one of his apostles individually. He approaches everyone individually: the woman at the well; the woman who was being stoned,” Truchan said. “So when I am at the conferences, the events, I make it a point to go out and meet as many as I am able.”
During her two-year term, Truchan also hopes to enrich the Federation for Hispanic Family Ministry. It is not enough to create parallel programs in Spanish that are simple translations, Truchan said; it is important the programs be shaped through the cultural lens of a Hispanic family and their values.
Overall, Truchan hopes to help enrich the domestic church and allow families to see Christ in their ranks.
“I remember seeing the face of God in my father as a child,” Truchan said. “I saw God in my father’s face when he reached into the basket and gave food to a homeless person on the street after we’d been shopping. That is the kind of experience that can only happen in a family when we are truly communicating God’s love.”
Family life Personal witness