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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Together we are stronger: second Couples’ Café in Italy

By: Vanda Rebuffat and Eugenio Minici

After the Couples’ Café encounter, in which several couples from Terricciola, Pisa participated, the same participants decided to continue a path of growth, with the aim of creating and consolidating a community of couples, inspired by the spirituality of the Schoenstatt Movement. On Saturday, March 16, the second meeting of this new cycle of encounters took place, with the motto “Together we are stronger”. The encounter, as usual, was conducted by two couples from the Family Federation in Rome.

The topic began with the reading of a passage from the Gospel of John that can be summarized as follows: “That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you” (cf. Jn. 17:21).

The importance of communication in marriage

The encounter’s theme was then presented, which addressed the following points:

– Through marriage we have sealed our Covenant, a union that is meant to be an expression of God’s love for humanity. The threads of our lives become more and more intertwined, revealing themselves to each other in our daily lives, with our strengths and weaknesses.

– How can we best live our marriage and shape our life together? The image of our bond can grow if we are open to each other truthfully, communicating our emotional, spiritual and physical needs. In this way, our marriage is strengthened and transformed into a resilient community.

About the project: Accompanying with the Schoenstatt pedagogy

Members of the Schoenstatt Family Federation created and carried out, for some years now, the path of spiritual and human growth called “Couples’ Coffee”, whose name is inspired by coffee which, in Italy, is not only a drink but a social occasion, an encounter with friends or a friendly chat with new acquaintances.

It is an apostolic initiative aimed at married couples, engaged couples or even couples who are simply living together, to bring them closer to and familiarize them with Christian values and accompany them with the Schoenstatt pedagogy. This proposal has already taken place with couples’ groups in the Cor Ecclesiae Shrine in Rome, run by the Sisters of Mary; in the International Schoenstatt Center of Belmonte-Rome where, following the Couples’ Café, a couples’ group has been created that has already sealed their Covenant and meets regularly for a deeper journey of spiritual growth; in the Holy Patrons parish in Rome, run by the Schoenstatt Fathers; in the Sant’Aquila and Priscilla parish in Rome; and, finally, in Tuscany with couples from the town of Terricciola, in collaboration with the local parish priest.

Enhancing the richness of marriage

The purpose of the Couples’ Café is to meet with couples to offer them a welcoming environment where they can be brought closer to Schoenstatt spirituality and Christian values in general. Likewise, it is about experiencing, within the day-to-day environment, moments of dialogue as a couple, including ways to enhance daily life and strengthen their relationship. The idea is to strengthen the bonds as a couple and invite them to participate in a group to accompany them in their preparation for the Covenant and then encourage them to form a group as part of the Family Movement. Basically, the idea is to bring them closer to the Christian experience of married life.

Keeping the flame of love amidst joys and limitations

On the Terricciola encounter: We experience a sense of unity, rich in its diversity. A unity that regards each other’s “you” as a precious gift, a source of enrichment. From this unity we shape our lives, aware that God accompanies us in the fulfillment of the project of love that is our marriage.

Our union is meant to be a blessing. In life’s journey, we are united to a person who loves us, allowing our capacity to love to grow ever more. Together we experience joy, but also the suffering that comes from our limitations. United, we strive to keep the flame of our love alive. When we join with another person, our union is strengthened.

The importance of community

With the closeness of others, we discover that we all face similar challenges, though in different ways. We can share our joys, knowing that we are not islands, but rather part of a resilient network.

Belonging to a group or community brings us additional blessings. In these communities we discover shared values that provide us with confidence and support in difficult situations. Mutual prayer strengthens us and, in moments of strength, our energies multiply, enabling us to act together for the common good and shape the world according to our ideals.

Questions that help to re-evaluate the relationship

After revealing the theme of the encounter, there was a moment of dialogue in pairs, based on the following questions:

– In what aspect am I enriched by my spouse?

– At what point in life or in situations of crisis have we experienced that having emotional ties with others has strengthened us as a couple?

Key: links to people, ideas, and places

In conclusion, it can be said that in a couple’s union, love which sees in the other the unexpressed potential flourishes. A person must have attachments, in some way, to the natural level all the fibers of his soul. If one does not have attachments, in the same measure that he lacks connection, there will be a rupture in his soul. The normally developed human being needs an organism of attachments to places, people, ideas. Man must be rooted to an organism of attachments and be healthy to the extent that this organism of attachments provides this. (cf. J. Kentenich October 2-5, 1951).

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