News & Views From The Alexander House Apostolate, an International Marriage Ministry Fall 2011 Vol. 5, No. 2
Archbishop Gustavo Celebrates Ministry’s First Holy Hour for Marriage
an Antonio’s magnificent San Fernando cathedral is not only the spiritual center of the nation’s seventh-largest city, but also the “mother church” of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the seat of its archbishop, and America’s oldest cathedral. For those reasons, it was the perfect venue for The Alexander House Apostolate (TAHA) to hold its first city-wide “Holy Hour for Marriage.” On Saturday, July 16, nearly 500 people gathered at the downtown church and almost completely filled the airy worship space. There, from 9 to 10 a.m., they prayed together, sang together, and adored Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament during Benediction.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio served as the Holy Hour’s celebrant. Together with the large crowd of men, women and children of all ages, he asked for God’s blessing upon marriages everywhere, especially those within the archdiocese. About halfway through the event, the Alexanders presented the archbishop with a statute lovingly depicting the Holy Family. “San Antonio is sometimes called the Alamo City or Fiesta City,” said Greg Alexander. “With this Holy Hour, we’re kicking off a new
Left: Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio served as the Holy Hour’s celebrant. Right: The event was held at San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the United States. Photo courtesy of Today’s Catholic newspaper.
regional effort to make San Antonio known as ‘The Marriage City.’” The tremendous outpouring of support for the event was “amazing,” added Julie Alexander. “Our community is filled with tens of thousands of married couples who recognize the role of God in keeping their marital relationships happy and healthy,” she said. “By asking Him to strengthen marriages through prayerful, public events like this one, they also are strengthening families throughout San Antonio.” continued on page 11
1.....First Holy Hour for Marriage in SA 2........ From Our House to Your Home 3............................. Donor Testimonies 4............ ‘The One Who Never Let Go' 4........................ Ask a Marriage Coach 5.................................Media Resources 6.............. Meet Matt & Mindy Dalton 7.....................Your Donations at Work 8.................... Two New Staff Members 8...Healing Service for Couples, Families 9........................ Benefit Dinner in CO 9........... Ministry Moves to New Office 9........................... SOS: Our Wish List 10................. Covenant of Love Retreat 10........................... Calendar of Events 11.. Abortion Rate by Relationship Status
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
From Our House to Your Home
Give Back What Has Been Freely Given to You
Julie and Greg Alexander “My, how times fly” was the thought lingering in my mind the other day as I realized we’re entering the season of Fall. Just yesterday it seems like we were celebrating New Year’s Day. While I pondered a bit longer, it dawned on me that Julie and I have been operating The Alexander House a little over 12 years now. That led me to my next thought: “Has the vocation of marriage gotten any better?” I guess it was providential that a few days later, while surfing the Internet, I found a sobering statistic about marriage: Despite the rise in the Catholic population of 17 million in the last 38 years, the marriage rate has fallen 60% in the Catholic Church. A cold chill ran through my body as I began to think about the
ramification of such a reality. “How did we get here?” I wondered. To me, this severe drop in the marriage rate means there are many people who are marrying outside of the Church and failing to understand the beauty of the graces they receive in a sacramental marriage. Worse yet, many couples are deciding to forego marriage all together and resort to just living together. This, too, has many consequences. You know, when we started The Alexander House we never envisioned it would grow to the point it is today. We always thought we’d do a few talks here and there; or, at the most, maybe a workshop or two every year. Hiring staff members, opening up an office, training other couples to be marriage coaches, and expanding Covenant of Love to over 70 parishes is pure evidence that God is indeed in control. Our Covenant of Love (COL) ministry is the foundational program of all that we need to accomplish. Think of it as continuing education after that “I do” part. COL is held at the parish level in order to build a positive marriage community. This program for married couples is directly responsible for transforming and “restoring” many marriages, and at the same time has deepened the faith life of its participants. Until recently, we have had a sliding fee scale in place to make this ministry available to parishes. I’ve always been bothered by the fact we needed to charge for our offerings, but was not sure how this apostolate would be sustained otherwise. A few years ago I met with a priest to share my concerns about how we were to move for-
ward. He slid a piece of paper across the table with my answer written on it: “God pays for what He orders.” Afterwards, I started praying almost unceasingly to God for clarity, and after a series of connected events it became all too clear to me what we had to do. “Just give it away” were the words I kept hearing in my head and my heart. This answer went against all of my conventional wisdom. How could we survive if we just gave it away? After all, we have more people to be accountable for than just my family. So, in my humanness, I wrestled with these words for a couple of days. I did a lot of research, discussed the issue with others, then finally went to Julie and asked rhetorically, “Why do I consult with mere man when I know what it is God is calling me to do?” I knew then what must be done…. Since founding The Alexander House we’ve been good stewards of the gifts we’ve received from God. And as a publicly supported organization, a 501(c)(3), we depend on the generosity of others to be our partners in this mission of proclaiming the beauty, goodness and truth of marriage. But now we’re depending upon that generosity—and God’s goodness—even more as we begin to “cut the cord” from our fee-based model for programs. (We are still charging for coaching services and related resources.) Today, I challenge you is to think about the many ways and times God has freely given to you. Then, reflecting upon those blessings, decide to give to others in the same generous fashion as shown by Our Heavenly Father. Imagine the difference you can make! —Greg Alexander DONOR TESTIMONIES
‘The Alexander House Shines a Light on God’s Eternal Truths’ “The Alexander House stands boldly for the true meaning of marriage in a society that seems to believe marriage is a thing of the past. Although marriage is now being treated as simply a legal concept subject to the changing tides of cultural norms, the Alexander House wisely shines a light on the eternal truths about God’s plan for marriage; a plan infinitely
greater than anything that will come out of our courthouses or from the ballot box. “We are very grateful for The Alexander House’s passion, dedication, and strong belief in their mission, and will continue to support its financially in hopes of impacting others, one marriage at a time.” —Lisa & Steve Kienlen
“The Alexander House provides a much-needed solution to the breakdown of marriage in our society. The unique gift that they provide is going beyond just helping the couple avoid divorce; it’s providing practical tools to enable the couple to have a joy-filled marriage which reflects the love of God to a broken world.” —Allen & Denae Hebert
Visit us at www.thealexanderhouse.org
‘The One Who Never Let Go’ By Verlinda and John Garcia
t’s been four days since we first met Greg and Julie Alexander at a Couples of Faith night held at a St. Mary Magdalen parish in San Antonio, and I’m still moved when I think of their testimony. I must admit I had some reservations, because, a marriage on the brink of divorce and being saved is something I’ve heard of before, more than once. So, what made their story unique? Well, that was simple: It was the genuine sincerity the Alexanders expressed when they spoke of each other, and their passion to empower and save marriages through our glorious Faith. John and I met in 1997, then married in 1999 (we did not receive the marriage sacrament). Two short years later, we were divorced. In the early days of our marriage we lived in a gated community in Helotes, Texas, with our new baby girl. Both of us had great jobs. Despite all these blessings, we were too busy “living life” to go to church for Sunday Mass or anything else. Then 9/11 happened. Soon afterwards, my military reserve unit was called to active duty. Within months our marriage was over, not so much for John as it was for me. I asked for the divorce over the phone while I was across the country waiting to fly overseas. To me, ending our marriage was as simple as asking him to stop by the store, and pick up a gallon of milk on the way home. I had no emotion, no regret; I was ready to be “free.” I was eager to have fun and all that came with it.
How naïve I was. I literally had the audacity to break this man’s heart, with a phone call! Did I forget to mention he was at work on duty at the time? Or that my sweet John is a city police officer? When I came back home I moved out almost immediately. I left him standing there with puffy, reddened eyes as our beautiful, 18-month-old baby girl slept. I figured the worst was over. Six months later the morning had come for the divorce decree to be signed by the judge. I did not want to go. Heavy-hearted, I felt a sadness that could only be equated to mourning. I sat at the kitchen table in the clothes I had slept in and tried to feed myself chicken soup. I will never forget staring at the clock on the wall. The little hand ticked, ticked, ticked away…and before I knew it, the hour, min-
into praying out loud. I continued to pray night after night. I began to feel a sense of reassurance; a feeling that told me “John will be in your life again” and “It will all be okay.” I even talked back to this feeling. Verlinda Garcia It told myself “No, this is over, John is gone, I have no one but myself to blame.” The feeling never wavered, and never went away. Within three months of praying and nine months after the divorce, Glory be to God, John and I reconciled. That would be a perfect ending to this article, but as always, things happen. Yes, I got my husband back. But I forgot to keep praying, and I had even forgotten my
“Then one night, the crying out loud turned into praying out loud.” ute and second had come and gone where I went from being “Mrs. John Garcia” to being just me. I felt conflicted; this is what I wanted, right? It couldn’t be regret. “Surely it will be better in a few days,” I told myself. Weeks went by and the nothingness continued to consume me. To make matters worse, John had begun to spend time with someone. And all the things and people I use to think made me happy couldn’t shake my depression. Then, one night, the crying out loud turned
promise to God: “Please take my pain and anguish away, let me be in John’s arms again, and I will go back to church and tell everyone I know that divorce is not the first, second or third option when things get tough.” Again, John and I did not receive the marriage sacrament, but we did have a second daughter and even went to church a couple of times. Now, I thought, “all” will be okay. And it was okay…until the day my eight-month-old daughter was continued on page 6
Ask a Marriage Coach Q. What is meant by the phrase “a valid and an invalid Catholic marriage”? A. In order for a marriage to be seen as a true sacramental marriage in the eyes of the Catholic Church, there are four things that must be present: The spouses must be free to marry; which means that they are not bound to anyone else in another marriage. Their consent to marry each other must be one that is freely given, and not forced or coerced in any way. The couple must make their intention to marry to be one for life, and they must also vow to be faithful to each other and to be open to life (children) in the marriage. Finally, there must be at least two witnesses present as the couple exchange their consent to marry, and an authorized Church minister must be present if a dispensation has not be given. –Greg A.
Q. Does a Catholic wedding have to be in a Catholic church? A. It should be the desire of the couple to get married in the Church. This view is supported by Canon Law (1118 §1), which says a marriage between Catholics (or between a Catholic party and a nonCatholic baptized party) “is to be celebrated in a parish church,” but also can be celebrated “in another church or oratory” with the permission of the local bishop or pastor (1118 §2). When we get married in the Church, we are stating that we desire for God to be a part of this union. We profess our vows, and when doing so, our commitment is made to God first and then to our spouse. We promise God we will be faithful to His calling us to be married until death do us part. It is this participation with God in the Sacrament of Marriage that makes ourselves available to receive the full abundance of grace that He has available for us in the sacrament. –Greg A.
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
Media Resources Marriage 911: How God Saved Our Marriage (and He Can Save Yours, Too!) | Greg & Julie Alexander | Servant Books | $14.99 Great news! Servant Books has published the long-awaited first book authored by Greg and Julie Alexander, co-founders of The Alexander House Apostolate. Entitled Marriage 911: How God Saved Our Marriage (and He Can Save Yours, Too!), it was written for couples preparing for marriage, looking for marriage enrichment, or seeking help for a troubled marriage. The book is formatted in 13 chapters; the even ones were written by Julie, the odd by Greg. It opens with the story of how the Alexanders met in college, and explains how and why they founded their successful apostolate now operating in over 70 parishes nationwide. Each chapter closes with “Before you go on” questions to help readers examine their own lives and relationships. Some refer to the marriage itself (Do you value it? Are you willing to work on it? Will you follow the advice in the book?). Others relate to faith in Jesus Christ (Does He have the power to redeem and restore your marriage? Will you permit God to enter your life and redeem it?). Barely a month after publication, well over 1,100 copies of the book have been sold through positive word-of-mouth reviews. That number is expected to dramatically increase after the formal marketing of the book begins this Fall with Christian and secular media. To order individual or bulk copies at the discounted price of $11, go to the ministry’s online Shop (visit www.thealexanderhouse.org) or call (210) 858-6195.
Men, Women and the Mystery of Love | Edward Sri | Servant Books | $13.99 The essential background to the Theology of the Body….Father Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) published Love and Responsibility in 1960, the fruit of his pastoral work, particularly among young people. His analysis of the true meaning of human love is life-transforming and practical, shedding light on real issues between men and women. Edward Sri unpacks the contents of this great work, making it accessible to every reader. Study questions with each chapter make this a valuable resource not only for individual personal reading but also for small group study. “Edward Sri is a gifted teacher and an equally talented writer. This book shows why. He breaks open Karol Wojtyla’s great text, Love and Responsibility, in a way that’s clear, engaging and very practical for the challenges of daily life.” —Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. “[A] terrific contribution to our growing understanding of the real-life implications of Pope John Paul II’s thought. In this immensely relevant and readable book, Edward Sri offers sensible, nuanced guidance on some of the trickiest aspects of relationships between the sexes. Readers in all walks of life will benefit from Sri’s clarity and common sense.” —Colleen Carroll Campbell, author, The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy
Courageous | Action/Drama Movie | Release date: Sept. 30 | www.courageousthemovie.com We have an excellent idea for a date night! Gather your married and single friends and go see Courageous, the new film about fatherhood guaranteed to have a profound impact on the lives of men of all ages. This much-anticipated movie is about four policemen, their families, and what it means to be a father. “Honor begins at home” is its tagline, and throughout the movie that idea is explored through various stories, struggles, tragedies and joys. Courageous was created by the same people who produced Fireproof, the Number One independent film of 2008. (It told the saga of a fireman whose marriage was on the rocks, in part due to Internet porn use.) “Think fathers are important?” asks one Catholic movie review. “So does Courageous.” That alone is worth the price of the ticket in today’s culture which disparages and belittles fatherhood.
10-20-30Go! Accountability System | www.102030go.com | $40 - $69 Do you find yourself always reminding your children to accomplish their tasks? Do they seem to be unable to find time for prayer? If you answered “yes” to one or both of those questions, you might want to look into the 10-20-30GO! children’s accountability system. “It’s a gift from God that we want to share with parents everywhere,” say program developers Bo and Stacy Govea, busy parents of six. Here’s how the system works: Each day, children are expected to spend 10 minutes in prayer and meditation, 20 minutes reading, and 30 minutes performing assigned chores. And they’ll do all this, promise the Goveas, with little or no whining and complaining. “10-20-30GO! has been a blessing for our family. We have been using the product since its inception and it has brought so many great things to our family. We have a way to track their progress. The prayer board makes my kids realize that there are a lot of people who need our prayers. The kids are now held accountable for their actions. We have a great way to discuss prayer and how they can incorporate faith and scripture in to their daily lives….” —Mike & Laura Curran, Overland Park, KS “Typically we pray before meals and have a time for Family Rosary twice a week. About a week after we began 10-20-30GO!, I was looking for my 12-year-old son. I checked in the basement, the office, and the kitchen, but could not find him anywhere. I [looked in his room and found] him on his knees with his head bowed, elbows resting on the bed with his hands folded pointing up and his Bible open in front of him. This was the first time in my life I had ever seen one of the children quietly praying by themselves. It was a sight I will never forget!” —Matt & Mary Ann Knopke, Leawood, KS
Visit us at www.thealexanderhouse.org
Meet the Marriage Coaches: Matt & Mindy Dalton TAHA offers marriage coaching services to couples via confidential in-person or phone consultations. In each issue of Love Connections, we will introduce you to one of our “marriage coaching” couples. Below, Matt Dalton talks about life with his wife, Mindy, and explains what led them to become our Directors of Marriage Coaching and Marriage Missionaries.
indy and I were married in the Catholic Church 20 years ago. When we were first married, we didn’t buy into all of the Church’s teachings, especially the really difficult ones. Our selfish attitude was, ‘What do a bunch of celibate men in Rome know about marriage anyway? Come on, they just need to get with the times.’ It was this very attitude that seemed to be the theme of our time and our generation. We knew what the Church taught, but we had no clue why She taught what She taught. It didn’t really seem like anyone else had the reasons why either. So we just lived our married life based off of our own opinion. Our thought between us was, ‘Oh, we’re okay.’ We looked at the Church as a long list of oppressive rules. It wasn’t until five years into our marriage that my mom lovingly, but without compromise, challenged me to the core to return to the sacrament of reconciliation. I had an extraordinarily profound experience and understood for the first time in my life the power, beauty and truth of the sacramentality of our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
The Dalton Family With God’s patience, grace, love and mercy being poured out on us in our union, I began to devour anything and everything I could about our Catholic faith. I couldn’t contain all of the beauty and the jewels that I was finding, and I began sharing these things with Mindy. She, too, caught fire with the faith and together, with God’s grace, we began to make
“We put God in the center of our marriage, and our love began to take on an entirely new meaning.” Church. That day, in and through the glorious sacrament of reconciliation and Holy Orders (of the priesthood), the priest being utilized as God’s instrument as Persona Christi, the person of Christ, absolved me of my sins! With that surge of grace, we began to not only rediscover our faith, but in an instant, embraced the fullness of God’s plan for life and love.
some dramatic changes in our lives. We put God at the center of our marriage, and our love began to take on an entirely new meaning. One of the biggest blessings that God gave to us in our reversion was the Theology of the Body from Pope John Paul II presented by Christopher West. This teaching gave us all
the answers regarding what the Church has and will eternally teach for the salvation of all of those who have the eyes to see and ears to hear. What a tremendous blessing! We have worked for The Alexander House in Denver for four years now. Currently we head up the Marriage Disciples Program, a volunteer parish-based mentor-to-mentor program, and have trained six volunteer couples at our parish in Colorado. We also head up the Marriage Coaching program, and are now training six couples across the United States to become Marriage Coaches using The Alexander House methodology. Over the years we have worked with hundreds of couples through the Marriage Coaching process, and also presented day-long “Enjoy Marriage” workshops. Prior to joining The Alexander House, we taught Natural Family Planning classes to engaged and married couples. Our story was featured on the EWTN series “Marriage Works in Christ: Broken and Blessed.” Mindy and I have seven children ranging in age from 17 years to 9 months, and we all live in Parker, Colorado. –Matt Dalton
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
Your Donations at Work We invite you to share a one-time or a monthly financial gift with The Alexander House marriage apostolate to support our many efforts helping individuals, couples and parishes nationwide.
What does a monthly $25 donation do?
++ Brings Covenant of Love program to two new parishes. ++ Trains a new Marriage Coaching couple. ++ Begins training a new Marriage Missionary couple.
What does a monthly $50 donation do?
++ Pays for 8 sessions of marriage coaching. ++ Defers the cost of marriage enrichment programs hosted throughout the year. ++ Takes TAHA one step closer to creating a Center for Marriage in San Antonio.
What does a one-time $550 donation do?
++ Sends a financially strapped parish 50 copies of Marriage 911 or 100 copies of Growing In Love Through Prayer.
We sincerely thank all our donors for their commitment to our mission of proclaiming the beauty, goodness and truth of marriage. For a limited time, we are able to offer a few small tokens of our appreciation: ++ Donors giving an annual gift of $250 (or more) will receive a signed copy of Greg and Julie’s new book Marriage 911. ++ Donors giving $25 every month receive the book Growing In Love Through Prayer and a free membership to our Investing in Your Marriage program. ++ Donors giving $50 every month receive a copy of Marriage 911 and a free membership in our Investing in Your Marriage program. ++ Donors giving $100 every month receive a copy of both books and a free membership in our Investing in Your Marriage program. Mail your donation to: The Alexander House Apostolate, 3308 Broadway, #400, San Antonio, TX 78209. Please reference if your gift is a one-time or recurring donation, and also provide us with an e-mail address or phone number so we can contact you regarding your donation rewards. Alternatively, you can donate via our website; logon www.thealexanderhouse.org.
‘The One Who Never Let Go’ (continued from page 3) sleeping as I painted my six-year-old daughter’s room with Disney princess colors. I remembered feeling overwhelmed as I covered the pretty dark-pink wall with the darkpurple paint. Tears came to my eyes. And I knew; instantly I knew. I waited for John to come home, then told him “I know. I know the high you are feeling, I know the spring in your step, and I know how right it feels even though it isn’t!” I knew it all, and John knew why I knew. After all, didn’t we go through this experience years before when it was I who had those feelings? So again I prayed, and after a couple of weeks we resolved to keep our family together. But, again three years later, trouble found us. John and I thought our situation was too much to handle as a couple, and as individuals. We knew so many marriages that had divorced for far less than what we had already endured. So we agreed to separate, and I moved out with our daughters
This time, it was John who prayed for us. He also found good, strong friends with great faith, and they prayed with him. Months later, as I realized the end of my marriage was near and my drinking was well on its way to full- blown alcoholism, I remembered a friend who had persuaded me to go to an ACTS retreat. We had not spoken for at least seven months. But I had begun to experience those negative feelings and damaging self-talk again—and knew I needed help. I felt compelled to call her, and instantly burst into tears when I heard her say “hello.” Although I was “sure” her suggestion to move back home wouldn’t help save my marriage, I felt I had to try something to fix it. A few days after our conversation, I was living with my family. Months later, as John and I were driving home from la married couples retreat, I turned to him and said, “You know what just came to me?” “After all these years, when we had both done all that we could do to let go
of this marriage, we still kept finding our way back. I think I know why….It’s because every time we let go of each other, every time we had hurt one another, even when we had let go of God, He was there holding us and keeping us. In spite of all we had done, it was God who never let go!” I am happy to write that John and I currently are working with our priest so that we may receive the sacrament of marriage soon. We both know Our Heavenly Father will be there by our side and, assured by our faith, trust that in all the days ahead He will never let us go! Update: Currently John and Verlinda are involved with The Alexander House’s Covenant of Love Ministry at St. Paul Parish (San Antonio). They continue to work, pray and live for their marriage daily. Verlinda knows that by helping other couples through Covenant of Love, she is finally fulfilling her promise made to God many years ago.
Visit us at www.thealexanderhouse.org
Benefit Dinner in Colorado Draws Over 400 Supporters
he Alexander House Apostolate (TAHA) held its inaugural Colorado benefit dinner on June 23, 2011, at the Wildlife Experience in Parker, Colorado, one of the ministry’s most active regions in the nation. The well-attended event, titled “Celebrating Marriage: A Reason for Hope,” welcomed well over 400 supporters, including more than 25 religious. The Gala Dinner began with the evening’s emcee, Deacon Steve Stemper, sharing a reflection on marriage with his wife, Cathy. The couple’s lively talk mixed a dose of reality with humor, and drew from experiences based on a marriage of 28 years and from parenting four children. Their final words of wisdom for a successful marriage resonated with the crowd: “Sometimes we forget the covenant we made with each other and with God, striving to get our spouses to heaven is what marriage is all about.” In the event’s opening talk, Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley referred to numerous efforts going on in society which “not only attempt to redefine marriage but destroy marriage in our culture.” He noted that TAHA provides more than just programs for troubled marriages; it also “enriches already good marriages.” This work, he added, is “key to restor-
Over 400 supporters attended The Alexander House’s first benefit dinner held in Denver, Colorado.
other people, and other couples, see that energized marriage, “they want that.” When talking about TAHA’s Colorado activities, Bishop Conley described the ongoing efforts of Matt and Mindy Dalton “as working to strengthen families and marriages. They need our prayers; they need our support. They are real missionaries in our midst, as are all of
“God wants married love to be so real, so divine, that nine months later you just might have to give it a name.” ing marriage, and therefore restoring our culture.” Bishop Conley also reflected on the event’s theme of celebrating “hope” in marriage. He explained that this hope lies in couples who not only stay married, but also in those individuals whose marriages flourish in such a way that “the joy of married life, through all of its difficulties and all of its trials, is transformed into icons that reflect God’s love.” When a married couple reflects that love in everything they do, and that love is reflected in their family, their relationship becomes “a truly enriched marriage,” said the bishop. And when
those associated with The Alexander House.” Keynote Speaker Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM, spoke about the sanctification of marriage and family life. He is a member of the Fathers of Mercy order (based in Auburn, KY) as well as a host for several EWTN programs, a writer for many national Catholic publications, and a prolific author (e.g., Ten Commandments of a Husband and Father). In his opening remarks the priest cited several quotes which he felt reflected the sacrament of marriage, such as: “The main purpose of a sacramental marriage is to help one another get to Heaven” and “God wants married love to be
so real, so divine, that nine months later you just might have to give it a name.” He then quoted from the Church’s teaching on sacramental marriage, which said that by its very nature, “marriage is to be fruitful, faithful, unitive, procreative and exclusive.” Fr. Menezes also discussed the so-called five “non-negotiables” as taught by the Church: contraception, embryonic stem cell research (and human cloning), euthanasia, abortion, and gay marriage. Each of these “attack either directly or indirectly the sanctity of marriage, its conjugal union and family life, and of course, the very dignity of the human person made in God’s image and likeness.” The Devil, he noted, is behind society’s current large-scale assault on marriage. Later in his talk, the priest focused on the words said during the Offertory of the Mass. He explained how the five non-negotiables are in direct conflict with the words “by the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” In essence, they “militate directly against [counteract] the dignity of the human person,” he said, “and directly or indirectly militate against the dignity and sanctity of marriage and continued on page 9 family life.”
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
Two New Professionals Join Headquarters Staff In Texas The Alexander House Apostolate has hired now two employees at the San Antonio headquarters office to help the marriage ministry fulfill its mission. Please remember them in your prayers.
Jamie Gonzalez-Stevens — Director of Operations
Today, one of her passions is to help instill a spirit of Christ-like service in the community. Jamie is School Council Vice President at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School where she also serves as Chairperson for both the Development and Spirit of Service Committees. Jamie and her husband, Lucas, met as teenagers and have had the fortune of being in each other’s lives for 18 years. The couple have been blessed with a large community of family and friends that includes their two beautiful children, Alexandra Grace (8) and Greyson (three months old). They are parishioners of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in San Antonio.
Jamie is a native of San Antonio, TX, and the oldest of three in a family of talkers. Professionally, her background is in business man- Lisa A. Bastian, CBC — Director of agement, develop- Communications ment and strategic Lisa’s responsibiliplanning. Jamie’s ties include creating goal for The Alexcontent for TAHA’s ander House Apostolate is to achieve sustained print/online comgrowth while protecting the integrity of its munications (newsmission through sound business planning. She letter, websites, soearned a B.A. in Education from the University cial media channels, of Texas at San Antonio. other marketing asAlthough she is new to the business side of sets); promoting the non-profit organizations, she spent her formaministry’s programs tive years as a volunteer for Children’s Assoc. to media and allied for Maximum Potential (CAMP), a nonprofit groups; and supporthelping youth with special needs, and many ing efforts to strengthen relationships between other charitable groups in San Antonio. CAMP TAHA and its thousands of team members, cliis where she developed a deep understanding of ents and supporters worldwide. the importance of service.
For over two decades this Cincinnati native has provided editorial, PR and strategic planning services to diverse organizations involved with publishing, economic development, travel/tourism, banking, healthcare, IT and Christian family issues. In addition to writing 600+ articles and brochures for mostly national audiences, she has served as an editor for numerous corporate and consumer publications (e.g., St. Anthony Messenger, Country Lifestyle, Business SouthTexas, NLA Brief). She wrote the 2011 Newcomer Guide for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and co-wrote the 350-page Cincinnati: City of Charm for the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Recently she coordinated the research/production of the 2010 and 2011 diocesan directories for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Lisa is a former two-term president of San Antonio’s International Assoc. of Business Communicators chapter; the recipient of 33 global, national and regional communications awards; and the owner of one of the city’s most active PR firms. She has a B.A. in English and a Journalism Writing Certificate, and earned the Certified Business Communicator professional designation. Married 28 years, Lisa and her hubby Ed are proud parents of two “University of Dallas” adult children: Rachel (20) and Nicholas (25). They belong to Our Lady of Atonement parish in San Antonio.
TAHA Sponsors Healing Service in San Antonio With Padre Martin In September The Alexander House and Archdiocese of San Antonio co-sponsored a healing service with Father Martin Scott, the nationally known “healing” priest and missionary from Lima, Perú. This special event for couples and families was held on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. The program began at 4 p.m. with Confessions, followed by a Mass with Benediction, and the healing service from 7 to 9 p.m. Father Scott is the founder and superior of a new religious community, the Servants of Divine Mercy. Its charism is based on the messages about Our Lord’s infinite Divine Mercy given to St. Faustina Kowalska.
TAHA Your donation to the Alexander House Apostolate (TAHA) ensures that we can continue the important work of helping couples live in Christ-centered, joy-filled marriages. We do this through "Covenant of Love" parish-based marriage communities, Christian marriage coaching, and marriage workshops/retreats. To donate today, call (210) 858-6195.
Visit us at www.thealexanderhouse.org
Benefit Dinner (continued from page 7) Other speakers included TAHA co-founders Greg and Julie Alexander of San Antonio. They shared their story of how they committed their lives to growing a full-time marriage ministry after finding their way back from the brink of divorce. Matt and Mindy Dalton of Denver shared the joy they’ve seen in struggling and healthy marriages which have been healed or enriched through Alexander House programs. Jason and Kamala Randhawa, from Canada, shared their story of how they had finally found the joy that had been missing in their marriage through TAHA’s marriage coaching program. From all the smiles, handholding, rounds of applause and hugs shared that night, it looked like the evening was a very enjoyable experience—and a successful fundraiser for The Alexander House. Indeed, the dinner was literally covered in prayer for months. Every day, up until June 23, the committee and others planning the event said the Memorare prayer to the Blessed Virgin. “Prayer is the foundation that allows us to do all that God has called us to,” said Greg. “How much more blessed would our Church be if we had marriage missionaries like this, in every diocese, giving their lives to help build up and promote God’s beautiful design for marriage.” “It was very obvious that this evening took a lot of planning and preparation, and that it
TAHA co-founders Greg (at podium) and Julie Alexander spoke about the apostolate’s mission of proclaiming the beauty, goodness and truth of marriage.
took nothing short of an army to pull it off. It was a concerted effort combining many gifts and talents all working for the same purpose: to support marriage, a cause for hope,” said TAHA co-founder Greg Alexander. “It’s gratifying to see the ministry continue to grow in Colorado, as evidenced by great success of that state’s first-ever benefit event. Julie and I are grateful for all the hard work put in by its many organizers. And we’re confident their work will continue to bear good fruit for Colorado marriages as well as for the multitude of marriages TAHA is restoring or enriching nationwide.” Like all TAHA benefits, this event’s net prof-
Ministry Moves Into New Office Space in San Antonio This spring TAHA hosted an Open House to give supporters a peek at its new headquarters, located at 3308 Broadway, Suite 400, San Antonio, TX. The ministry’s office space is in a modern building situated just a few miles north of the downtown area. Providentially, TAHA’s “neighbor next door” on the fourth floor is a strong Catholic ally, the Guadalupe Radio Network.
its go towards supporting the ministry’s work of helping to restore and enrich marriages throughout the nation. Rick and Sharon Post of Denver, CO, served as Co-Chairs for Colorado’s 2011 TAHA benefit dinner. They also are TAHA Marriage Disciples. Married 31 years, the Posts are the parents of three children. To view more event images, go to the “Photos” section on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ thealexanderhouse). While you’re there, please become a “fan”!
Our Wish List Listed below are a few items we need to set up our new office. Can you help us purchase them? Thank you! •
• • •
Brother® MFC-9970CDW Wireless Color Laser all-In-one printer, copier, scanner, fax: $700 Multi-line, multi-unit phone system: $500 Basic full-size refrigerator: $550 Snagit.com screen capture software tool, multi-license pack: $189.75 Adobe Photoshop CS5 [Mac] DVD-ROM software: $650
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
Covenant of Love Retreat Energizes Core Team Members
rom time to time, we all feel the need to get away to rest and to regain focus. The same holds true for members of our Covenant of Love core teams. This past July, 10 couples representing two core teams in South Texas attended a one-day TAHA-sponsored retreat. It was designed to get participants re-energized about our amazing marriage ministry, and nourish them through prayer and ongoing spiritual formation. Existing and new partners who participated represented the parishes of Santa Cruz in Buda, TX, and St. Anthony Marie Claret in Kyle, TX. The event’s theme was derived from Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” The many activities enjoyed by all included Mass, a Holy Hour with Our Lord, discussions and prayers for individual couples and the group, and even a reflective “foot washing” performed between spouses to drive home the concepts of serving, humility, and agape love. The couples also were asked to reflect upon how they thought God is calling them
Charlie Chatham washes the feet of his wife, Stephanie, at the retreat; both are core team leaders from St. Anthony Marie de Claret in Kyle, TX.
to this ministry, and what roles they should take on as servant leaders. “This was important because the Number One reason a couple needs to be on the core team is because they do feel a true calling from
Calendar of Events Please call us or check our website for details as dates/locations may change. All proposed events will be held in San Antonio, TX, unless otherwise noted.
2011 Nov. 6.................................................................................. Covenant of Love Open House
2012 Jan. 6.......................................................................Marriage retreat at Cordi Marion center Feb. 11....................................................................... Holy Hour with Archbishop Gustavo Feb. 4.............................. “Morning on Marriage” with Ted Sri: St. Pius X, 8:30-11:30 a.m. March 1............................................................... Guy’s Night Out: 7-9 p.m., location TBA March 22............................................. Janet Smith speaks: St. Mary’s University, time TBA April 20....................................................Evening of Marriage Merriment with Fr. Ricardo: St. Mathew’s parish, 7-9:30 p.m. Sept. 13.............................. Girl’s Night Out: Water 2 Wine, 7-9 p.m., Sally Robb (speaker) Nov. 3............ TAHA marriage conference: St. Mathews parish, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., $100 couple
God, and they desire to assist other marriages,” said Joanna Mancini, Coordinator of Covenant of Love. “The core team is called ‘to serve,’ and members of that team find their own marriages are enriched and graced as a by-product.” For various reasons, core team members can become emotionally and spiritually drained, continued Mancini. “Sometimes this causes them to become lax and complacent in their roles, and feeling pulled in many different directions. However, we need to be full of enthusiasm because we are an example to the other couples. And with Christ in the center of our marriages, there is every reason to be excited and fired up about the beautiful sacrament of marriage!” The event was the debut of what TAHA expects to be an annual retreat for this region and (eventually) other cities around the U.S.
2013 Feb. 9.................Holy Hour with Archbishop Gustavo: San Fernando Cathedral, 9-10 a.m.
Activities shared by the retreat’s couples included a Mass and Holy Hour.
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Holy Hour for Marriage (continued from page 1) The Alexanders said they hope to sponsor a city is tentatively scheduled for February 2011. â€œHoly Hour for Marriageâ€? every year with the Future plans call for Holy Hours like this Archdiocese of San Antonio and its Office of one to be celebrated in every diocese where Marriage and Family Life.. The next one in this the marriage ministry has a presence.
Greg and Julie Alexander presented Archbishop Gustavo with a beautiful statue of the Holy Family.
San Fernando Cathedral was filled to capacity during the Holy Hour.
Logon YouTube to view a video of the event created by Robert Galvan Photography: http://bit. ly/pN51DG
Abortion Rate by Relationship Status Cohabiting
Formerly married and not cohabiting Never married and not cohabiting Currently married Rates are per 1000 women aged 15-44 years This chart clearly shows the abortion rate among couples who live together is vastly higher (by a factor of almost 8!) than the abortion rate associated with married couples. The data is found in the article "Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006"
published recently in Contraception, a global journal produced by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. The report's authors state that the United States has not made progress in reducing unintended pregnancy since 2001. Their conclusion? "Efforts to help women and couples
plan their pregnancies, such as increasing access to effective contraceptives, should focus on groups at greatest risk for unintended pregnancy, particularly poor and cohabiting women." It is precisely because of this contraceptive mentality that abortion occurs at all.
Proclaiming the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of Marriage
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The Alexander House 1343 Alpine Pond San Antonio, TX 78260
The Alexander House is a Catholic apostolate using its programs and services to help couples live Christ-centered marriages.
Love Connections, the official newsletter of The Alexander House Apostolate (TAHA), is published four times a year. Publishers: Greg & Julie Alexander. Editor: Lisa A. Bastian, CBC. Assoc. Editor: Robin Zamora. Headquarters address: 3308 Broadway, #400, San Antonio, TX 78209. Phone: (210) 8586195. Website: www.thealexanderhouse.org. E-mail: email@example.com. Board of Directors: Greg Alexander, President; Ted Early, Treasurer; Cece Smith, Vice President; Camille DiMaio, Secretary. 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. Staff: Greg Alexander, Executive Director & TAHA Co-Founder; Julie Alexander, Associate Director & TAHA Co-Founder; Matt & Mindy Dalton, Directors of Marriage Coaching and Marriage Disciples; Joanna Mancini, Covenant of Love Coordinator; Jamies Gonzalez-Stevens, Director of Operations; Lisa A. Bastian, CBC, Director of Communications; and Susan Perez, Accountant. The Alexander House Apostolate is a 501(c)(3) organization. Printing provided by Smith Print of San Antonio (www.smithprint.net). Layout by Jessica Dittemore Photos & Designs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Greg and Julie Alexander's new book is now available for purchase! To order your copy of this resource designed to restore or strengthen marriages, go to the online Shop at www.thealexanderhouse.org; or call (210) 8586195.
Visit us at www.thealexanderhouse.org
The official quarterly newsletter of The Alexander House, a national Catholic marriage apostolate dedicated to proclaiming the beauty, goodn...