For the first time in U.S. history, married couples are a minority household structure, says Steve Bollman, founder of Paridisus Dei. Because of this breakdown in the family, individuals are growing up without a healthy view of marriage.
‘To the End of Love’
Where: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St.
Cost: $20 per person; $39.95 per couple
To address this crisis, Paridisus Dei, a national umbrella ministry that includes “That Man Is You,” is hosting a one-day marriage conference called “To The End of Love,” Oct. 1 at the Phoenix Convention Center as part of its The Choice Wine Live marriage program.
“Marriage is so very important for the husband and wife, the family, the Church, and even greater society. But how often do couples take time to work on their marriage?” said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in a promotional video for the conference. “‘To the end of love’ will give couples a new and powerful understanding of the kind of love that God intended for each marriage from the beginning. Don’t put it off. Register today.”
Bollman, author of “The Choice Wine: Seven steps to a superabundant marriage,” will be among the speakers. Other speakers include Danielle Bean, publisher of Catholic Digest, John Pridmore, a gangster-turned-evangelist, and Mark Hartfiel, director of formation and program coordination for the TMIY program.
“We’ve really heeded Pope Francis’ call to engage in a powerful way this call and to present a program that leads to superabundant joyful marriages,” said Bollman.
Bishop Olmsted will celebrate a Mass for the conference, and during it, couples celebrating 25, 40 or 50 or more years of marriage will be recognized.
“We’ve placed it inside a larger event and it will be great for couples who attend to see these joy-filled and long marriages,” said Mike Phelan, diocesan director of the Office of Marriage and Respect Life.
That the conference falls on the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux is no coincidence. She’s the patroness of evangelization and of Paridisus Dei and the daughter of the first married couple to be canonized together — Ss. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin.
‘The Choice Wine: Seven steps to a superabundant marriage’
Author: Steve Bollman
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Two copies available for couples to read together at the Kino Library
“They were just canonized together last October at the synod,” Phelan said. “[They] remind us all that marriage is a path to holiness and that it is a gift God has given us for this world and the next. We’re all called to be saints.”
The Choice Wine also offers a nine-week parish-based program. Bollman said that while there is some overlap between the conference and the parish program, the material is different.
Rob and Mary Neill recently participated in the nine-week course at their parish of Our Lady of Joy in Carefree with 25 couples, including some who hadn’t been attending Mass regularly.
“This program has helped us bring our marriage and our understanding of God closer,” said Mary. “We had a strong marriage, but it helped us see things we weren’t looking at and see things differently.”
The couples ranged from their mid-20s to their late 70s, but nobody felt out of place, the Neills said. The course included DVDs that covered each of Bollman’s “seven steps,” and allowed for group discussion.
“It deals with issues that couples naturally run into in their marriages,” said Rob. “It helped us become a better couple and to orient our lives to the ultimate goal — making it to heaven.”