Covenant of Love – Date Night – A New SFC Ministry!
DATE NIGHT, an element of Covenant of Love from the Alexander House, is a parish-based monthly gathering of couples to assist them in becoming the “true” domestic church. By providing practical tools to live out God’s plan for marriage, spouses create a vibrant and positive community of married couples, becoming visible witnesses to Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church.
Couples come together once a month for prayer, fellowship, formation, and most importantly, one-on-one time that helps provide the space and time to build the intimacy we’re all looking for in our marriages. This lay, couple-run ministry unveils the many beautiful aspects of the Church’s wisdom regarding marriage, designed to help couples integrate these teachings into the whole of their marriage.
It’s important to note DATE NIGHT is not just for troubled marriages; it’s for every couple. We all need to be more intentional about putting the proper focus upon our spouse. When we put others and other things of life – jobs, entertainment, kids, etc. – ahead of God and the one we promised to give our entire being to, we’re going to experience problems.
This is why DATE NIGHT is so important: It allows ordinary couples to reconnect and refocus on what’s important, as well as imparts practical wisdom to become the husband and wife God desires them to be. DATE NIGHT provides spouses the opportunity to meet with like-minded couples and grow together in faith and intimacy.
Below is a letter of reflection in thanksgiving from the first year of the ministry from one of the Date Night CORE Team members. We hope you will consider joining us in the fall for our second year!
Last night was the final gathering of Date Night until our next meeting in September 2015.
Praying at Mass this morning, I was reflecting on our first year of this new ministry, Covenant of Love, at
our parish of St. Frances Cabrini.
For Jim and I the ministry came to our attention when I drove to meet Jim in torrential rain-pour at Our Lady of Peace church to hear the Alexander’s talk. As I pulled up in the parking lot a space opened in full view of Our Lady’s huge silver statue. The sky was black in front of her and clear as day behind her. I know I have shared this before with our group, but the image is so great in my mind. As the white dove landed on Our Lady’s head and flew off into the sunset, I knew this was a sign from God that something important was coming.
It was with the Holy Spirit that things began, first, to ask Fr. Michael who said yes as long as it didn’t bring more work to his already overfull schedule, and yet Father has so generously given our ministry his Blessings. Thank you for coming on occasion and joining our group for our Christmas pot luck, for performing a renewal of vows for all our couples. Thank you for allowing the hosting of the Alexander’s in our churchyard with their RV hookup, and opening the parish during lent so we could do the Stations of the Cross to support marriage, and then a talk by the Alexander’s in the church. Thank you Father Michael for your Blessings and support of this new ministry.
Next, we needed at least 3 couples to lead the Ministry (preferably 5 is recommended).
That very same week we received an enthusiastic email from a couple that had also participated in a Covenant of Love retreat day. That was Caprice Hardy and her dear husband, Stephan. You know as home school parents how busy this couple already was, and each time I would approach I could tell their hands were quite full. We learned this year in the ministry that “Busyness can be the tool of the devil.” We get stressed, tired and overwhelmed and even unsure how to prioritize important things in our lives. I know it took much prayer and anguish for Caprice and Stephan to commit to something more, and yet they said yes as well. Well I know this ministry blooms because of the beauty and love the Hardy family has put forth from their hearts and souls. From music to childcare Ideas, communication and publicity support, their efforts are the heart of our ministry. Thank you Caprice and Stephan and your beautiful children as well.
So now we had two couples, and yet “Where Lord will we get another, and we need a strong pair who could be assigned the lead contact and set up with Covenant of Love?” Lo and behold an email arrived from Chris and Ann Aguilar. On first meeting this quiet couple, it was clearly God’s answer to prayer. Chris and Ann were God’s perfect choice with their numerous years of experience with Worldwide Marriage Encounter leadership, and they were open to new ministry. Thank you Lord!
Also, I would like to thank our sweet childcare givers Kelsey, Erin, Julia and Lillian. You are incredible caregivers. Never once in all the meetings did we have a child hurt or disrupt our meeting during the precious couple time, making our date night truly special for us all. Kelsey we will miss you next year, please keep our ministry in your prayers and we will keep yours in ours.
Thank you Fr Paolo for your special Blessings last evening on our ministry with the Crowning of Our Lady in the rose garden. To see the children process in, beginning with our youngest and newest member, Eli, carrying a rosary blessed by Archbishop Cordileone and the other wonderfully behaved carriers of candles and blessed objects, what joy I know it brought to Our Lady’s heart and her son our Savior. What a testimony they are to their Catholic upbringing. When I first approached your group of children they appeared as typical, energetic children, and yet when I invited them to join the crowning they transformed into angelic-like beings.
So thank you all for being such instruments in this new ministry, but mostly I thank God for all you couples who said yes to the others’ invitation and have participated and came in spite of your own busyness and chose to prioritize your marriages in your new ministry of love and sharing.
Also we must thank Jean and Sue in the parish office. Thank you Jean for supporting us so in getting out the PR in the Parish newsletter. You are a patient souls indeed.
Lastly, I must thank my husband, Jim, for saying yes each time I asked for his support in joining and leading our ministry.
Look forward to seeing you all in September. Please mark your calendars now for each 3rd Saturday beginning with Bocce Ball on our SFC courts, and maybe another Blessing from Our Lady in that garden.
I realize in my quick departure last evening I thwarted my fare thee well so Godspeed and Christ’s love to you all,