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Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,

On Saturday, October 15th we will be hosting our second annual one-day marriage retreat in Sacred Heart’s parish hall.

I know there are a thousand and one things going on in our lives that make taking even one day like this off difficult. I want to try and make a case for it! The biggest reason is that when it comes to marriage enrichment, everything else (and they are all usually good things) takes precedence. Taking care of the kids, sports activities, work, getting the chores around the house done, etc. Too easily and too often couples stop making and taking the time for each other that every marriage needs to grow and thrive. With the myriad of things going on this gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. This retreat is one day to be built up, and to focus on each other as a couple and this vocation you are called to live.

This retreat reminds me of something I heard at a funeral. It was for the father of one of the priests in our diocese, who died unexpectedly a few years back. At the funeral Mass Bishop Mengeling got up and asked what is the most important gift a mother and father can give to their children. In the end he said the greatest gift parents give their children is the example of them loving and caring for each other. Dad caring for Mom, loving her, and sacrificing for her. Mom caring for Dad, loving him, and sacrificing for him. That relationship provides the foundation of security that children’s lives are built on. The relationship of our parents is meant to provide the model that we can then go out and emulate in all other relationships that come. That example will help us enter fully into our own vocations.

For my parents’ 40th anniversary my brother and I celebrated Mass with them and for them. I was given the opportunity to preach. It was those memories of them that were most moving for me to reflect on - how they had cared for each other even as they cared for us and the farm and everything else that demanded their time. In a world filled with so many demands, it is important to clear the deck now and again for a day like this. If you can’t come yourself but want to sponsor another couple a great gift is to offer to watch their kids for the day.

Ron and Neysa Stacey are heading up the day and providing lunch. If you have had a chance to eat their smoked Bar-B-Que meats, you know you won’t be disappointed!

St. John Chrysostom (whose feast day we celebrated this past week) suggested that young husbands should say to their wives: “I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.” Good words no matter how young or old you are!

Let’s pray for all married couples. Hope to see you on October 15th!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

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