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New marriage ministry encourages Fredericksburg couples to let God guide them

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“God has a plan for your marriage,” said Julie and Greg Alexander to a crowd of 100 married couples filling the tables at Holy Cross Academy in Fredericksburg March 9. The couples were attending the first marriage conference organized by St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church’s new marriage ministry.

"As the family goes, so does the church." Fr. John Mosimann

According to the Alexanders, cofounders of the Alexander House Apostolate, although modern statistics show 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, there is still hope.

Since their own close encounter with divorce nearly 19 years ago, the couple has devoted their lives to this mission. They created a dynamic marriage education and enrichment workshop designed to provide resources to couples in every stage of the marriage journey.

The activities during Saturday’s daylong conference encouraged constructive and challenging dialogue between couples.

One of the more challenging activities involved forgiveness and healing. The Alexanders encouraged couples to first make an examination of conscience. Each spouse then took turns sharing what was weighing on their hearts while the other agreed to listen and forgive unconditionally.

For many couples, the activities were affirming, while others found it more challenging.

Peter and Cecilia Drabbant recently moved to the area from Michigan and attended the conference to strengthen and heal their seven-year marriage. They were not disappointed. “It gave us an opportunity to think about things we have never talked about before,” said Peter. “This is essential.”

Edward and Emanuela Gloeggler attended the event with their 2-month-old son Eddy. While they have not experienced some of the challenges of the other couples in their early marriage, they were still motivated to come.

“We just want to start our marriage out in the right direction,” said Edward. “Direction is more important than speed. What is there to lose? There is a lot to gain.”

The marriage ministry organizers plan to create a calendar of events to foster knowledge of church teaching on marriage as well as fellowship. Almost a dozen married couples have come forward to volunteer to provide individual support to couples and lead date nights at the parish.

The first of a series of date nights is April 13 with Dr. Maria Fleshood, a licensed professional counselor.

Organizers and participants alike are grateful to Father John P. Mosimann, pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg, for his encouragement and leadership in the new ministry.

“As the family goes, so does the church,” said Father Mosimann. “The challenges that families face have always bothered me. When a group of parishioners came to me with a passion for helping married couples I said, ‘OK, let’s build something.’ ” He hopes the ministry will help in a practical way, but most importantly, he hopes it encourages couples to let Jesus in so that he can be the one to guide their marriage.

Kassock is a freelance writer from Stafford.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019