WASHINGTON, D.C. – Catholic couples with one at least one spouse on active duty in the U.S. Military and married for at least two years are eligible to take part in a Catholic Marriage Enrichment Retreat Dec. 7-9 at the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra, CA. The registration fee is $50 per couple. That includes a private room and meals. To register, visit https://www.milarch.org/ams-marriage-enrichment-retreat/.
The Office of Evangelization of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, (AMS), is sponsoring the retreat at the direction of Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio. Archbishop Broglio noted, “Marriage is indeed a union most sacred and serious. The generous benefactors who have allowed the AMS to offer this second marriage retreat recognize how important this opportunity for dialogue and growth is. Married couples have suffered greatly during these long years of war and so this precious gift requires care, support, and sustenance.”
This is the second Catholic Marriage Enrichment Retreat to be sponsored by the AMS. The first was held in February at the Bon Secours Retreat House in Marriottsville, MD, where 20 couples participated. In post-retreat evaluations, the couples reported the weekend of topics, sharing, and discussion sessions served as a catalyst for developing ways to strengthen their marriages.
Typical of the comments were these:
- “The calm setting allowed me to block out normal life distractions. I had more one-on-one discussions with my spouse than we’ve had in many years.”
- “I appreciated the chance to discuss the various topics with other military couples and see how they approached things in terms of their marriages and religion.”
- “The retreat was a reminder of the important things that my spouse may be feeling that I may have forgotten over time.”
- “The retreat gave me a better understanding of the progress and process of our marriage.”
- “We made a commitment to engage further in our Catholic faith and how it strengthens our marriage.”
Dr. Mark Moitoza, AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, said the Catholic Marriage Enrichment Retreat is meant to give military couples “an opportunity to step away from their busy lives, where they’re constantly moving forward, to have an opportunity to gain a snapshot of the gift of love in their life, and the gift of Christ in their marriage in the present moment.” He added, “[i]t’s a way to look at marriage as a process, look at intimacy, look at compatibility, communication, and commitment. Those are the areas of focus, where couples will have an opportunity over the weekend to review their experiences and dialogue with one another.”
Dr. Moitoza said the format of the Catholic Marriage Enrichment Retreat departs from that of conventional married couple retreats by dispensing with keynote speakers. “We’re flipping the model a little bit,” he said, “by using the REFOCCUS inventory model, which comes out of the Archdiocese of Omaha. And this is really looking at an inventory process where each spouse goes through a list of questions, and they’ll tick off whether they agree or disagree or are uncertain about a statement, and then they come back together and dialogue, and they take two things that they agree on and celebrate those, and then two things that they disagree on, and talk about ‘why is that?,’ and then what are some areas where they could grow.”
Dr. Moitoza said the objective is not only to give the couples an insightful weekend but also “some tools beyond the Marriage Enrichment Retreat itself” to use in developing their prayer life and a deeper understanding of how their marriage is “a gift of Christ, and a way to reveal Christ in the world.”
The Alhambra retreat will commence on Friday, Dec. 7, with check-in at 5:00 p.m. (PST) with dinner to follow at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On Sunday, Dec. 9, Archbishop Broglio will celebrate Mass at 11:30 p.m. (PST) followed by lunch before departure.
Space is limited, so couples are encouraged to register right away to secure a space. To register, visit http://www.milarch.org/ams-marriage-enrichment-retreat/.
Any questions about the AMS Marriage Enrichment Retreat may be directed to Dr. Mark Moitoza, Vice Chancellor for Evangelization, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-719-3648.