A conference featuring three nationally known speakers plus two dynamic local priests promises to equip couples with the tools to renew their marriages.
Together in Holiness Marriage Enrichment Conference
10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sept. 28
- St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, 3450 W. Ray Rd., Chandler
- St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, 13720 W. Thomas Rd., Avondale
Childcare is available, but limited.
There will be a blessing for couples celebrating jubilee anniversaries of 24, 40 and 50+ at the closing Masses.
Those with young children who may be tempted to stop reading here should know that onsite childcare is part of the conference’s offerings. To make it even more accessible, the Sept. 28 Together in Holiness event will take place at two locations in the Diocese of Phoenix: St. Andrew the Apostle in Chandler on the east side and St. Thomas Aquinas in Avondale on the west side.
Fr. John Parks, vicar of evangelization for the diocese, will speak at St. Andrew while Fr. John Muir, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, will speak there. The nationally known presenters, author Patty Schneier as well as Damon and Melanie Owens, will speak at both locations.
Organized by the Office of Marriage and Respect Life along with the Houston-based St. John Paul II Foundation, the conference will feature lively presentations, Adoration, Confession, community building and a closing Mass that fulfills the Sunday obligation.
Susie Lopez, conference coordinator from the St. John Paul II Foundation, said the organization is devoted to imparting the Gospel of Life and Family through conferences. The foundation is focused on education and formation for couples, clergy and healthcare professionals.
Lopez said Schneier will share her and her husband’s journey of faith and marriage that will “will really encourage people and give them that push that they can do it” as well as how they can impart the teaching of the Church to their children. Schneier, whose son was recently ordained to the priesthood, will share practical tips for living the Church’s Theology of the Body.
“She’s very practical and so enthusiastic,” Lopez said. “She is just bursting with enthusiasm and joy.”
Damon and Melanie Owens are the founders of joytob, a teaching ministry that reaches couples with the message of Theology of the Body. The Owens taught Natural Family Planning for 14 years and served as NFP coordinators for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. Damon is the former director of the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia.
Mike Phelan, director of the Office of Marriage and Respect Life for the Phoenix Diocese, said the Together in Holiness conference is for all couples at any stage of their marriages.
“Couples should attend because their marriage is their path to holiness and prioritizing the strength and growth of your marriage is a primary requirement of being a married person,” Phelan said. “It will be a day that blows you away and blesses you as a couple for its relevance and its energy and the conversations that you get to have as well as just hearing from amazing speakers.”
Among the hundreds of couples expected to attend will be a share of those who have been married for decades. “It’s hard to get away but this conference will be a real blessing,” Phelan said.
With the understanding that families are busy, the conference begins at 10:30 a.m. “So you still have your morning,” Lopez said. “We don’t want there to be any walls or barriers that could prevent people from attending, so not only do we offer onsite childcare, but also for those families that maybe just need a little financial support, we also offer scholarships.
“The biggest thing is we want to empower these couples to feel inspired and feel like the Lord can work in and through their marriage to bring about a better world for their children and for the greater community.”