Love Your Marriage retreats help marriages to thrive, remain holy

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Richard and Megan Burks’ marriage was good: They served as Eucharistic minsters at Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Aurora, and while there was nothing necessarily wrong with their relationship, they knew God was calling them to more. This is why they chose to attend a “Love Your Marriage” retreat. With an enriched family life, they recommend the retreat to any couple of any age who wishes to love God and one another in a deeper way.

“We wanted to go and continue to invest in our marriage,” Richard said. “We wanted to figure out more ways to love each other.”

Among the practices they incorporated into their marriage and family was an intentional time for communication.

“[Now], we do a weekly recap of what were some good and not-so-good things during the week to help our communication and make sure we’re focusing on each other and making sure we’re keeping our relationship strong,” Megan said.

This also gives them accountability in praying together and passing on their faith to their two children, Richard added.

“It wasn’t just ideas, but specific examples. Being able to walk away with tangible things [from the retreat] was very helpful,” Megan said.

The “Love Your Marriage” retreats are part of an archdiocesan initiative to help couples accomplish their mission amid the strains of life.

“We need strong marriages.  With the demands of our daily lives, it can be hard to fit in quality time with our spouses, but it is so important,” said Carrie Keating, NFP and Marriage Specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver. “The Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries wanted to create retreats around the archdiocese that would serve marriages, bringing them closer to each other as well as to God.”

“We have parish host sites for ‘Love Your Marriage’ retreats.  They provide couples an easy way to invest in their marriage,” Keating explained. “We wanted it to be accessible on lots of levels: affordable, half-day time commitment, with food included.  ‘Love Your Marriage’ retreats also have wonderful content developed by trusted experts in the relationship field — St. Raphael Counseling and Marriage Missionaries.”

“The format is wonderful!” Megan said. “It’s so easy to attend and not too overwhelming like a whole weekend. Also, you meet other couples who try to live out their faith, and to hear what they have implemented in their own families and what they are doing is very helpful.”

“[These retreats] are good whether your marriage is good or not, no matter where your marriage is at, no matter where you are at in your faith journey,” Richard said. “People get the impression that you should go only if you’re in trouble, but it’s good even if you’re not, like it was for us.”

 

Love Your Marriage Retreat
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Denver, CO
Learn more or register online at archden.org/loveyourmarriage

COMING UP: Five Hispanic-American saints perhaps you didn’t know

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The American continent has had its share of saints in the last five centuries. People will find St. Juan Diego, St. Rose of Lima or St. Martin de Porres among the saints who enjoy greater popular devotion. Yet September, named Hispanic Heritage Month, invites a deeper reflection on the lives of lesser-known saints who have deeply impacted different Latin-American countries through their Catholic faith and work, and whose example has the power to impact people anywhere around the world. Here are just a few perhaps you didn’t know.

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo
1538-1606
Peru

Born in Valladolid, Spain, Toribio was a pious young man and an outstanding law student. As a professor, his great reputation reached the ears of King Philip II, who eventually nominated him for the vacant Archdiocese of Lima, Peru, even though Toribio was not even a priest. The Pope accepted the king’s request despite the future saint’s protests. So, before the formal announcement, he was ordained a priest, and a few months later, a bishop. He walked across his archdiocese evangelizing the natives and is said to have baptized nearly half a million people, including St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres. He learned the local dialects, produced a trilingual catechism, fought for the rights of the natives, and made evangelization a major theme of his episcopacy. Moreover, he worked devotedly for an archdiocesan reform after realizing that diocesan priests were involved in impurities and scandals. He predicted the date and hour of his death and is buried in the cathedral of Lima, Peru.

St. Mariana of Jesus Paredes
1618-1645
Ecuador

St. Mariana was born in Quito, modern-day Ecuador, and not only became the country’s first saint, but was also declared a national heroine by the Republic of Ecuador. As a little girl, Mariana showed a profound love for God and practiced long hours of prayer and mortification. She tried joining a religious order on two occasions, but various circumstances would not permit it. This led Mariana to realize that God was calling her to holiness in the world. She built a room next to her sister’s house and devoted herself to prayer and penance, living miraculously only off the Eucharist. She was known to possess the gifts of counsel and prophecy. In 1645, earthquakes and epidemics broke out in Quito, and she offered her life and sufferings for their end. They stopped after she made her offering. On the day of her death, a lily is said to have bloomed from the blood that was drawn out and poured in a flowerpot, earning her the title of “The Lily of Quito.”

St. Theresa of Los Andes
1900-1920
Chile

St. Theresa of Jesus of Los Andes was Chile’s first saint and the first Discalced Carmelite to be canonized outside of Europe. Born as Juana, the future saint was known to struggle with her temperament as a child. She was proud, selfish and stubborn. She became deeply attracted to God at the age six, and her extraordinary intelligence allowed her to understand the seriousness of receiving First Communion. Juana changed her life and became a completely different person by the age of 10, practicing mortification and deep prayer. At age 14, she decided to become a Discalced Carmelite and received the name of Theresa of Jesus. Deeply in love with Christ, the young and humble religious told her confessor that Jesus told her she would die soon, something she accepted with joy and faith. Shortly thereafter, Theresa contracted typhus and died at the age of 19. Although she was 6 months short of finishing her novitiate, she was able to profess vows “in danger of death.” Around 100,000 pilgrims visit her shrine in Los Andes annually.

St. Laura Montoya
1874-1949
Colombia

After Laura’s father died in war when she was only a child, she was forced to live with different family members in a state of poverty. This reality kept her from receiving formal education during her childhood. What no one expected is that one day she would become Colombia’s first saint. Her aunt enrolled her in a school at the age of 16, so she would become a teacher and make a living for herself. She learned quickly and became a great writer, educator and leader. She was a pious woman and wished to devote herself to the evangelization of the natives. As she prepared to write Pope Pius X for help, she received the pope’s new Encyclical Lacrymabili Statu, on the deplorable condition of Indians in America. Laura saw it as a confirmation from God and founded the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart and St. Catherine of Siena, working for the evangelization of natives and fighting or their behalf to be seen as children of God.

St. Manuel Morales
1898-1926
Mexico

Manuel was a layman and one of many martyrs from Mexico’s Cristero War in the 1920s. He joined the seminary as a teen but had to abandon this dream in order to support his family financially. He became a baker, married and had three children. This change, however, did not prevent him from bearing witness to the faith publicly. He became the president of the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty, which was being threatened by the administration of President Plutarco Elías Calles. Morales and two other leaders from the organization were taken prisoners as they discussed how to free a friend priest from imprisonment through legal means. They were beaten, tortured and then killed for not renouncing to their faith. Before the firing squad, the priest begged the soldiers to forgive Morales because he had a family. Morales responded, “I am dying for God, and God will take care of my children.” His last words were, “Long live Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe!”