Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 6, 2008
Retrouvaille receives papal blessing
Local group that helped troubled marriages was out in force in Rome
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“We were on the verge of divorce. Our marriage has never been stronger than it is today because of Retrouvaille.”
- Ann Lewis
He said those who help these troubled couples through Retrouvaille represent solid, positive points of reference and offer “a foothold” for others so they can gradually regain trust and hope after experiencing dark, desperate times.
Every Christian marriage, “even the most miserable and faltering” of unions, is a sacrament of Christ’s new alliance with humanity, the pope said. All that is needed is “to find, in humility, the courage to ask the Lord for help.”
The pope said that, with the help of other couples in Retrouvaille, a troubled couple can “rediscover the hidden treasure of their marriage, the fire left buried beneath the ashes.”
“It was a very awesome experience,” Ann Lewis said of the meeting with Pope Benedict. “He energized us and encouraged us. The thrust of his message was his pride in us and his blessing for our ministry to move forward.”
The Lewises have been married for almost 48 years and have two children and five grandchildren. Almost 10 years ago in September they attended their first Retrouvaille weekend.
“We were on the verge of divorce. Our marriage has never been stronger than it is today because of Retrouvaille,” Ann Lewis said. “It gave us the tools to heal our marriage. It taught us how to communicate in a healthy, loving and respectful way. It taught us how to resolve our conflicts.”
Every Christian marriage, “even the most miserable and faltering” of unions, is a sacrament of Christ’s new alliance with humanity."
- Pope Benedict
At the Retrouvaille international meeting in Rome the Lewises together with Father Mario Haby of Detroit, Mich., were put in charge of Retrouvaille’s international concerns team. They are responsible for developing Retrouvaille throughout the entire world, outside of Canada and the United States.
“Between the three of us on the team we speak eight languages so that probably had a lot to do with being discerned for the international position,” Ann Lewis said.
The trio takes office Jan. 1 for a three-year term. Their first function is to attend the World Meeting of Families in Mexico City on Jan. 16-18 to introduce Retrouvaille to the rest of the world.
“We are just starting to realize the enormity of the task ahead of us; I can’t even describe the enormity,” Ann Lewis said excitedly. Retrouvaille is now in about 35 countries around the world.
The Rome meeting — with representatives from Australia, Europe, Africa and South, Central and North America — was the first Retrouvaille international meeting outside North America. In 2010 the international annual congress will be in Panama City and then probably in Ireland. “Now we are truly becoming an international ministry.”
Other Albertans who attended the international Retrouvaille meeting were Bob and Shannon Patershuk, George and Liz Moniz, Denis and Gai Giasson, and Larry and Gayle Badry.
(Story included files from Catholic News Service.)
(For information about Retrouvaille in the Edmonton Archdiocese, call Ann or EJ at 780-986-1008 or John at 780-469-1010, xt 249.)
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