by Meghan Ascher
Special to The Leaven
GARDNER — With the approach of National Marriage Week Feb. 7-14, Divine Mercy Parish here is devising ways to help those who have committed themselves to the vocation of marriage to renew, sanctify and enrich their espousal in a powerful way.
“Over the last four to five years, Father Adam [Wilczak] has made it a priority to strengthen the marriages within the parish. It is a part of his greater pastoral vision to care for all parishioners in every aspect of their vocation,” said Deacon Jason Imlay of the parish.
In addition to a thrice-yearly date night offered with an element of formation for married couples, as well as small group “Teams of Our Lady” aimed at monthly ministry, the parish offers a larger yearly retreat around World Marriage Day on Feb. 11.
This year, the parish will bring in renowned speaker Deacon James Keating for its one-day retreat on Feb. 3, entitled “Beholding Our Spouse in Love: Emotional Intimacy with Spouse and God.”
Deacon Keating is an award-winning author and professor of spiritual theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis and has written widely on ethics, spirituality and clergy formation. He has also delivered hundreds of workshops and lectures at various colleges and seminaries both at home and in Rome, and hosts a podcast called “Discerning Hearts.”
“One of the reasons why we wanted to open to the general public is that we are convicted that Deacon Keating has a particular gift of explaining the sacraments in down-to-earth language that appeals to a wide variety of people,” said Deacon Imlay.
The retreat is open to the whole archdiocese. It will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. with lunch provided. The cost is $50 for nonparishioners. To sign up, go to the website at: www.divinemercyks.org and click on “Upcoming Events.”