The retreat was created and facilitated by Mary Jo Pedersen of Omaha, who holds her master's in theology and is a staff member of the Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Omaha.
During the retreat, Pedersen
asked the couples to remember what they had promised on their wedding day - to love and honor one another.The couples were also asked to reflect upon the marriage vocation where they work toward oneness while maintaining individuality.
"They were encouraged to look at the marriage over the years and reflect on changes that have happened, what caused those changes and how they saw God's presence," said Hurni.
In one activity following a talk by Pedersen
, the couples were asked to complete the sentence: "I am committed to my spouse and our marriage because ... "
"One of the things that the couples mentioned they appreciated was that she
(Pedersen) had research and writings of the church that backed up what she
In a talk centered on marriage as a sacrament, Pedersen
spoke to the couples about how their relationship is a sign to their children and their community of God's presence.
At one point, the facilitator had them write concrete promises as a couple.They kept that promise in mind particularly as she
asked them to approach the reception of the Eucharist side-by-side during the liturgy that was held in the chapel.
also talked about how marriages go through cycles - infatuation, disillusionment and intimacy," noted Hurni."Couples should expect that cycle and when they are in disillusionment they need to pay attention and really work on their marriage because that is the time when they can become separated."She
related this to the paschal mystery where the have Good Fridays, Holy Saturdays and Easter Sunday.
During the examination of conscience, Pedersen
encouraged couples to look at how they had strengthened their marriages and how they had weakened it.