Camden Highlights Diocesan Implementation
Momentum is building in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey as local emergent leadership couples train mentors, present talks on Living in Love, and strategize to spread the word. Two individuals have already become Catholic, and a third is entering RCIA. Twenty-three couples have been certified to mentor the engaged using Preparing to Live in Love with two more training groups currently underway. Several more mentor training opportunities will be offered this fall.
Model parishes - St Charles Borromeo (Sicklerville), Our Lady Of Hope (Blackwood), and the Church of the Incarnation (Mantua) are seen as model parishes for the diocese’s vision for evangelization centered on the Sacrament of Matrimony. Even though all three parishes hosted their first Living in Love early this spring, they each have already trained mentors who are offering Preparing to Live in Love to the engaged with powerfully positive results
St Charles Borromeo has scheduled another LL weekend for November thanks to the enthusiasm of Dick and Marie Schmitt and Fr. Vince Orum who experienced most of the retreat personally. St Charles has been printing testimonials in the parish bulletin each week from couples who made Living in Love in June. The November weekend will be the first in the diocese to be presented entirely by parishioners with only behind the scenes support from the PMRC to train the presenting team.
Our Lady of Hope typically has more weddings than any other parish in the diocese, and is committed to using Preparing to Live in Love to ensure that their engaged couples are welcomed into the community and experience the church as relevant and helpful. Because of the large volume of weddings, OLOH will probably be the first to also utilize “Beginning to Live in Love,” a group application of the same content, exercises, and witness contained in Preparing to Live in Love, as an additional approach to parish based marriage preparation during this transitional year. Whenever, Beginning to Live in Love is offered, it will be open to any engaged couple of the diocese and broadly publicized to pastors who may wish to take advantage of this opportunity and send their engaged.
Utilizing Local Mentors
- Even before a parish has its own mentors, it can utilize the mentors from nearby parishes. Check the Living in Love Web Site (Resources>Locate a Program or Mentor) to locate mentors in your area and feel free to encourage engaged couples to register online or contact Dick and Marie Schmitt (856-435-1629, or firstname.lastname@example.org
) to arrange for a mentor couple.
Personal Contact - The Diocesan Office of Life- long Formation, the PMRC, and local living in love leadership teams have launched a communications campaign to combat misinformation, assess the needs of each individual parish and make every pastor aware of the resources at his disposal. Ron and Kathy Feher’s meetings with pastors have been personal and productive while providing a very valuable liaison with the diocese and giving rise to new positive initiatives.
Deanery approach: Pastors who may be concerned about hosting a Living in Love weekend on their own can join forces with other local parishes to service the needs of a deanery. Fr. Chris Ruggles from Christ the King in Haddonfield successfully piloted this approach last November. The parish whose facilities best fit the needs of the retreat workshop can act as the host parish while neighboring parishes advertize and send couples to attend. This approach is being considered by pastors in the shore parishes as well as those in smaller parishes.
Living in Love can empower couples to support other diocesan goals –Did you know that the Living in Love retreat workshop and the Living in Love Every Day course are not focused only on producing mentors for the engaged? Both can be utilized to empower couples to staff any parish ministry where the sacramental presence of a couple is an asset. In Camden, the new pastoral initiatives can seem daunting without realizing that couples are our greatest resource. The Vision talk on Living in Love and the Commissioning Ceremony in Living in Love Every Day can be tailored to the needs of the parish and call forth the volunteers needed to staff new and existing ministries
June Living in Love Weekends Light up New Jersey and New Mexico
Walter and Min Deery presenting at
St Veronica’s, Howell, NJ
(photo by Maria Dolan)
In June, St Veronica’s Parish hosted the first Living in Love weekend in the Diocese of Tenton, New Jersey. Ron and Kathy Feher led an exciting team of couples including Robert and Maria Dolan of the Trenton Diocese and Walter and Min Derry of St Charles Borromeo parish in the Camden Diocese who were presenting for the first time having experienced Living in Love themselves only 6 weeks previously. Parishioners, Anne and John Brunetti were instrumental in bringing Living in Love to St Veronica’s and tireless in the ambition and energy they poured out to make it a success.
A special thanks to Peg Hensler , the Director of Family Life for the Trenton Diocese for all her great support. Peg and her husband Bob made the weekend themselves and look forward to mentoring the engaged for their home parish in Haddon Township.
Robert and Maria Dolan of Allenwood are off to a great start leading the follow up Living in Love Every Day Course on Saturday nights for a large group of couples who made the St Veronica weekend while several parishes have expressed interest in hosting the next weekends in Trenton. With continued support from the diocese we look forward to an exciting fall.
Saturday night Dinner at St Veronica’s, Howell, NJ
(photo by Maria Dolan)
Two-thousand miles away but also on June 25-26, Deacon Bob and Paulette Brotherton and Lyle and Cathy Huber presented Living in Love to a wildly enthusiastic group of couples at St Ann’s Catholic Church in Deming, NM. The Pastor is enthused about offering Preparing to Live in Love to the engaged, and Living in Love is the first step to training couples to mentor. In an effort to spread Preparing to Live in Love rapidly throughout the diocese, Bob and Paulette will offer an acclerated one day version of the Living in Love Every Day/Menor Training course this fall .
Couples Participating in Living in Love
at St Ann’s, Deming NM
Please pray for Deacon Bob on July 29 as he presents a talk on the Sacrament of Matrimony to all of the priests of the Diocese of Las Cruces and on September 29 as he faciltates a clergy panel discussion on marriage preparation.
New Living in Love Web Site Launched and Online!
Check out our exciting web site at www.livinginlove.org
for all the latest news and information available through the PMRC. Find a mentor in your area, watch video on line, or download tools to help promote Living in Love. Visit the site often to see recent Blog posts or order new resources.
Our deepest heartfelt gratitude to Michael Mafodda and Jonathan Desjardin for their incredible leadership and creativity as they developed the site, donating their talent, expertise, and many, many hours of effort to create the unique functionality needed to support our day-to-day communications and program support. Michael and his wife Allison experienced Preparing to Live in Love as an engaged couple and made Living in Love as newlyweds at St Thomas of Villanova. Jonathan, a 2010 graduate of Villanova University, has recently taken a position in the Washington, DC area and we wish him great success in his future in web design. May the Lord bless Jonathan and Michael a hundred fold for the joy they have brought to others through their hard work and dedication