Love connections THE HEART OF THE PARISH: TAKING MARRIAGE TO A NEW LEVEL Whether our culture recognizes it or not, we know that MARRIAGE is important. It is the foundational structure of the family and thus, of every society. Blessed John Paul II reminded us that “It is in the family, that the mutual giving of self on the part of man and woman united in marriage creates an environment of life in which children develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity and prepare to face their unique and individual destiny”. (CA 39) This fact leads us to think very seriously about what we are doing as a society, and more especially as members of the Church to support, enrich and educate those who are looking to get married as well as those couples who are already married but find themselves without direction. In this Year of Faith, which Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has called out of a profound love for his children. He reminded us in his homily at the opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops that:
“Matrimony is a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today, especially the dechristianized world. The union of a man and a woman, their becoming “one flesh” in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which in our days has become greater because unfortunately, for various reasons, marriage, in precisely the oldest regions evangelized, is going through a profound crisis. And it is not by chance. Marriage is linked to faith, but not in a general way. Marriage, as a union of faithful and indissoluble love, is based upon the grace that comes from the triune God, who in Christ loved us with a faithful love, even to the Cross. Today we ought to grasp the full truth of this statement, in contrast to the painful reality of many marriages which, unhappily, end badly. There is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage. And, as the Church has said and witnessed for a long time now, marriage is called to be not only an ob-
ject but a subject of the new evangelization.” The Alexander House Apostolate is committed to strengthening, educating and renewing married couples, this is why we strongly believe that having a strong Marriage Ministry in every parish is of the utmost importance for our Church. When marriages are in trouble they instinctively turn to their Parish for help and we can offer the solid formation and faithful support that they seek. Our COVENANT OF LOVE MINISTRY seeks to create and support an infrastructure at the parish level that will aid priests, through the laity in being there for the many couples who are in need of hearing the Good News about their marriage, a true New Evangelization for the heart of society.
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
MEET OUR MARRIAGE DISCIPLES: JIMMY AND JOANNA MANCINI I am Jimmy Mancini and my wife is Joanna. We’ve been married for 17 years and we have one amazing 11 year old son and 2 precious children in heaven. We believe that our past experiences contribute to being Marriage Disciples because we know firsthand what marriage is like when it is AND when it is not Christ-centered. We built our house on sand. After dating for 2 years, we cohabitated and then decided to get married a year later. We thought we had it all. Both of us were doing extremely well in our careers, winning sales awards and making lots of money. We would go on fancy vacations, drive expensive cars, and the party was always going on at our house. We were contracepting and we actually had a pact that we would not have children for a long time as they would slow us down, get in our way...how sad and what a slap in God's face. We were destroying our marriage and didn't even know it. We had no real relationship with God except one of convenience and we were trying to fill our 'God-shaped' holes with success, material possessions, alcohol, & drugs.
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Our spiritual sickness progressed and we went spiraling downward. I finally admitted to Joanna about my infidelity and we separated.
I never stopped loving Jimmy, but I didn’t know how to forgive him. Our house built on sand collapsed. In my addiction, I lost HOPE. I filed for divorce, the worst mistake of my life. The pain of divorce is so horrible that I cannot begin to describe it. While we were divorced, I too committed adultery, not knowing that in the eyes of the Church we were still married. Jimmy took the advice of our marriage counselor, and got help through a 12 step program. Through intensive work, he recovered and started to become the man God intended him to be. We were apart for a year and then we prayed a 30 day novena to Mother Mary for “clarity and direction.” Through our Blessed Mother’s intercession, we received HOPE and we reconciled! The 30th day of this powerful novena fell on June 10, 2000….when we looked at the calendar that day we saw that it was the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. We had been married in Holy Trinity Catholic Church in 1995!!! The Holy Trinity made it abundantly clear that we were to be together until death do us part….and that WITH HIM, we could have a joy-filled marriage. Jimmy became my inspiration and I too recovered from my disease and started to become the woman God created me to be. The scales were removed and the Holy Trinity gave us the eyes to see that selfishness and self-centeredness was the root of all our problems. Having had a spiritual awakening, our Catholic faith came alive. We never knew what a treasure we had in our Church and the amazing, powerful Sacraments.
“We never knew what a treasure we had in our Church and the amazing, powerful Sacraments.” Our lives were transformed, our marriage was healed and we were made anew!!! The single most important thing we have learned in order to have a successful marriage is to put God in the center of our lives and rely on Him rather than on self. To be in harmony with God’s Will is absolutely beautiful! When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. With God all things are possible and there is always HOPE!!! We are eternally grateful to our heavenly Mother whose powerful intercession led us to her Son Jesus in a very special way. We were married on Oct 7th - the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary…..we’ve been praying the Rosary together every day since the healing of our marriage 12 years ago….and we believe firmly that the Rosary is our strongest spiritual weapon next to the Holy Mass. We recommend praying the Rosary together as a couple/family every day…..true miracles happen.
TAHA offers Marriage Disciples services to couples via confidential in-person, email or phone consultations. Greg and Julie Alexander are in charge of personally training each coaching couple to be able to respond to God’s call for helping bring healing, and forgiveness to those who need it. For more information on our 6 step program call us at (210) 858-6195 or send us an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org Q: If I forgive my spouse, does that mean I have to immediately trust again? A: Forgiveness and trust are two different things. Forgiveness should be given unconditionally, but trust must be earned. Forgiveness, like love, is not a feeling. It's a conscious act of the will. When we forgive we give up our desire for hatred, resentment or revenge and we put justice in God's hands where it belongs. Our feelings may not change right away, but we can still make the choice to forgive. Remember that when we say the Our Father we are asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. But just because we forgive our spouse it does not mean that trust will automatically be restored. It takes time to rebuild it. The spouse who broke the trust must be willing to do the little things that will earn trust while the spouse who was hurt must be willing to give opportunities to earn it. When our trust has been broken by our spouse it is important not to equate forgiveness with trust because when we do we risk hindering healing and restoration in our marriage.
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THE TRUE MEANING OF STEWARSDSHIP
PARTNERS FOR MARRIAGE: “FITZ” AND TINA FITZGERALD The Alexander House’s mission is to proclaim the beauty, goodness and truth of marriage. But what does this mean? Greg and Julie have founded an apostolate for all married couples to know God’s intended plan for them through the Catholic faith and the teachings of the Church. In fact, this program is so well thought out and precise, that we feel it should be a part of every pre-Cana program before couples get married. Tina and I have learned God’s purpose for marriage and it has infinitely enriched our own marriage. In fact, the most intimate act we now share daily is to pray together each morning. That in itself has transformed our marriage from being self -centered to being God-centered, which is how He intended the Sacrament of Marriage to be. The Alexander House Apostolate addresses couples and marriages, in various ways through one-on-one coaching, the Covenant of Love “Date Night” program, guest speakers and priests; all focusing on teaching us how to be better partners to one another as God intends; not how the world does. Ever since we were “A DOLLAR A blessed to go through the Marriage Disciples process we have been financial supDAY TO KEEP porters because we know that every monthly donation make this ministry run and spread this Truth. Now Tina and I have decided to become Marriage Disciples to DIVORCE spread this goodness and truth to others. We have been blessed with our marriage and are excited to be a part of TAHA’s mission. AWAY” Like the good steward in the Gospels, we know we are all called to make the gifts we have freely received from God’s bounty, bear fruit. In an effort to do just this The Alexander House has decided to gift their programs to all those who need them; but we need your generosity to help us fulfill God’s mission … we are willing to go out and bring the Good News, are you willing to partner with us by sharing your time talent and treasure to save a marriage? Prayerfully consider if you would be able to make a donation to TAHA. Go to www.virtualgala.org
For the Glory of God and the Good of His Church: Taking it a step further Never before in the history of man has marriage experienced such a concerted effort to destroy it. However, it is not the concept of marriage that is sustaining the blows, but the very ideal of what God intended it to be. There are those who desire to change marriage to fit their own desires to include people of the same sex sharing in the bond. There are those who fail to see the “sacramental beauty” of living marriage by God’s design and they miss out on the very grace that allows them to live out what they said “I do” to. And if that isn’t sad enough, there are those who forego marriage altogether and just resort to living together. To make matters worse – the majority of us just sit back and allow this evil to prevail. Ignorance is a great factor in this equation, and I am not throwing stones, as Julie and I were ignorant of these facts at one point in our lives. But God allowed us to discover His truths for the Sacrament of Marriage and our lives have not been the same since. It is because of our own struggles and many years of working with couples in our Marriage DisciplingTM and workshops that we
have come face to face with the fact that there needs to be a comprehensive structure that would house all marriage ministries in every parish in every diocese. This structure is in no way meant to take over the goals of the Office of Marriage and Family Life but to be as a tool to empower parishes and make available to the couples the resources they need in order to live a happy and holy marriage. Our concept for this Marriage Ministry structure has been celebrated by the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM), as they and the American Bishops see a real need to become a “Marriage-Building” Church. The Alexander House has been blessed to be included in several efforts mounted by these two entities to create idea and implement processes to make this a reality. The specific plan of The Alexander House Apostolate is to have a COVENANT OF LOVE Ministry Team in as many parishes in each diocese as possible; housing not only the DATE NIGHT component
of the Covenant of Love Ministry, and the MARRIAGE DISCIPLES (couple-to-couple mentoring), but other ministries as well that will minister to the various ages and stages of the marriage life-cycle. We realize that the project seems to be enormous but no project is too big if you break it down into parts. Our plan is to put in place a Regional Coordinator for The Alexander House in each of the 13 regions in which the Catholic Church is divided in the U.S. We are very happy to say that our efforts are well on their way as we have been training regional coordinators for Region XIII (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming), Region VI (Michigan and Ohio) and Region IX (Kansas, Iowa and Missouri) These wonderful couples share with us the vision of Proclaiming God’s Plan for Marriage to all those who are in need. We humbly ask you to keep this mission in your prayers, as it is not about us - but about doing the work that God has asked us to do!
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MADE FOR EACH OTHER Join Greg and Julie every Wednesday from 11 to 12 CT on the Guadalupe Radio Network as they discuss Love, Relationships and Marriage
We would love to have you as our guest so give us a call: (877) 211-3853 or send your questions/comments/ suggestions to: email@example.com
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE ALEXANDER HOUSE
Dr. Edward Hogan / Diocese of Saginaw
Imagine that there was a plague sweeping across the country, slowly killing 50% of the population. Imagine you were in possession of a medicine that could prevent people from getting sick and healing them. The Alexander House Apostolate, through their Covenant of Love programs have just the medicine to prevent the plague of DIVORCE from devastating more lives. Through their own suffering and God’s merciful intervention the Alexander’s discovered God’s plan for marriage. Now that they have this “vaccine” they need our help for delivering the message.
For the sake of my Diocese, for the sake of my brothers and sisters, but most of all, for the sake of my own children, I so long for Greg and Julie’s message to be delivered to every Parish in the country: it is the medicine that can both prevent and heal the wounds that are so often inflicted by the culture of death and set us on a solid foundation toward building a civilization of love. Please consider joining Greg and Julie in the mission of bringing God’s plan for marriage to the people throughout the world.
YEAR OF FAITH
HOME STUDY COURSE FOR COUPLES
READ THE CHURCH DOCUMENTS ON MARRIAGE Encyclical letter: FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO (JP II) Apostolic letter: GRATISSIMAN SANE (JP II) Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1601-1666 USCCB Pastoral letter: MARRIAGE– Love and Life in the Divine Plan Encyclical letter: DEUS CARITAS EST (B XVI)
Love Connections is the official newsletter of THE ALEXANDER HOUSE APOSTOLATE (TAHA) PUBLISHERS: Greg & Julie Alexander HEADQUARTERS: 3308 Broadway, Suite #400, San Antonio 78209 PHONE: (210) 858-6195 / WEBSITE: www.thealexanderhouse.org / EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Greg Alexander, President, Julie Alexander, Vice President, Ted Early, Treasurer, Camille DiMaio, Secretary, Andy Perry, Xavier Mendiola ADVISORY BOARD: Jason & Elise Angelette, Mary Beth Bonacci, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Jacki Corrigan, Fr. Justin Damien Dean, Don & Lorrie Gramer, Dr. Mary Healy, Dr. Ed Hogan, Curtis & Michaelann Martin, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Fr. John Riccardo, Jake & Ramie Samour, Dr. Janet Smith, Christopher West
THE ALEXANDER HOUSE APOSTOLATE is a 501(c)(3) organization