Send a message to Elizabeth

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Thu, 19 Dec 2013 15:58:00 GMT

You can let Elizabeth know you are praying for her at CaringBridge


"Driveway Dating" for busy parents with kids

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Wed, 18 Dec 2013 15:06:00 GMT

Here is an interesting idea -- this author with little kids at home would put the oldest kid in charge and go meet her husband in the car when he drove home from work and they would sit in the car in the driveway and share a cup of coffee and conversation for a precious half hour alone and without interruption before returning to the house and all the demands of small children.

The article goes on to talk about the importance of date nights for healthy marriages -- even if it is just out for a coke or coffee. A date night is a good setting to use the Couple Communication in Christ format we teach on the SPIN retreat and to share affirmations, questions and dreams with each other. Here is the article Spice up your advent with driveway dating


Pray for Elizabeth

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:07:00 GMT

Everyone who has been on a SPIN retreat has experienced how God's love radiates through Elizabeth Chitwood. Now she needs our prayers. Hear is her request for prayer:

Dear Friends,

I have been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I will begin an oral Chemo called Xoloda on Dec 2nd - 7 days on and 7 days off. Depending on the side effects I will stay on this treatment for an extended period of time. Thank you for all the support, cards, love and most importantly prayers.

If anyone is interested, you are invited to join us at Sts. Peter & Paul parish Dec. 15th at the end of our 9:30 Mass when I will be anointed . The parish has donuts, cookies, coffee and juice following Mass every Sunday.

When Dennis or I feel sad about cancer coming back, we realize we are focused on ourselves and not on God. When we praise and thank Him for what He is doing through this illness we are again at peace knowing His glory will be revealed. We began PRAISE as a constant form of prayer over 30 years ago. We often use praise in little circumstances (headache or lost while driving, etc) and this habit bears abundant fruit each time we remember to trust God and praise Him. May praise and thanksgiving be a constant prayer to our loving and merciful God in ALL situations.

If you want to join some people praying for healing of my cancer, we are praying through the intercession of Archbishop Gabriel Ganaka*, and my mom, Anne Weiss.

Here is the prayer:

Prayer for the Canonization of Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka, Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria. Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit of God, we humbly ask that you move the conscience of the Church to raise Archbishop Gabriel Ganaka to sainthood. As Patron of the Lost Sheep, we ask his intercession for all the unconverted. We ask his prayers to strengthen the heart of the Church in all its needs. In particular we ask through his intercession the granting of this petition (complete healing of Elizabeth's cancer) Amen. Please conclude by reciting a Hail Holy Queen.


*Archbishop Ganaka was the first indigenous bishop of his diocese in Nigeria and a leader of Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Africa -- you can read about him at the Dictionary of African Christian Biography.


Catholics Have Lower Divorce Rates

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Fri, 15 Nov 2013 17:18:00 GMT

A recent study cited in the National Catholic Register shows Catholics have a lower divorce rate than the wider population. According to this sociological study, the divorce rate for those unaffiliated with any religion is 40%, for Protestants 39%, for other religious faiths 35% and for Catholics 28%. (While it is nice to know Catholics are doing a little better than others -- 28% is still way too high! ) This article gives the statistics and also discusses how to improve marriage preparation in the Catholic Church: Divorce Statistics Indicate Catholic Couples Are Less Likely to Break Up

I believe SPIN retreats and helping Catholic married couples learn to pray together is part of the answer. We still have room in our January 24-5 SPIN retreat -- for those who have made the retreat, invite someone you think will benefit from it OR think about making a repeat retreat -- it really helps to hear about these prayer practices again and practice them in the retreat setting.


Every Marriage is a Mixed Religion Marriage

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Mon, 28 Oct 2013 15:19:00 GMT

When we say "mixed" marriage, we usually mean one spouse is Catholic and the other spouse belongs to another Christian denomination or even another non-Christian religion. But this article from the US Bishops Marriage website expands the concept to include all marriages. In Every Marriage is a Mixed Religion Marriage author Lauri Przybysz observes how even in a marriage of two Catholics we each bring to the marriage partnership our individual way of practicing the faith.

It could be differences in our own patterns and preferences of personal prayer, our taste in worship styles, our favorite devotions and family traditions from our own upbringing in the faith. This would be an important topic of dialogue with our spouse. At the SPIN retreats we teach a variety of prayer methods to help couples find those methods that they both find helpful in growing closer to Christ together in their marriage.

BTW, the US Bishops website on marriage is FULL of helpful articles and resources -- visit it at For Your Marriage


Marriage Advice from one of my favorite artists in Contemporary Christian Music

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Mon, 23 Sep 2013 15:01:00 GMT

Audrey Assad is a contemporary Christian music artist whose music I enjoy. When I heard her song, "restless" on JOY FM, I thought, "wow she really sounds catholic!" and when I looked her up on the Internet, I found out she is Catholic.

Her latest album "fortunate fall" is based on the prayer from the Easter Vigil about the "happy fault" of Adam -- "happy" because it led to the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus to save us from that fault (and all our own faults). Here is a link to Fortunate Fall

I ran across a blog post, where she gave some quick tips on marriage:

What’s the first lesson you’ve learned by being married?

AA: Marriage is a path to holiness first and foremost. It is a way to encounter Christ, to follow Him, and to unite ourselves to Him.

And the second lesson?

AA: No matter how prepared you are by counseling or reading books, every marriage is unique and special and has its own ups and downs. You’re married to a specific person with a specific history and a specific worldview. So it’s important to stay flexible!

And the third lesson?

AA: A sense of humor is crucial to getting through those crappy days we all experience. It’s easy to take frustrations out on the person who is closest to you. It’s good to learn to laugh together when things are annoying.

From Ignitum Today blog


Back Online!

Posted by Dr. John Gresham Fri, 20 Sep 2013 18:50:00 GMT

Sorry folks (if anybody out there is reading this blog) -- I realized in the busyness of a new semester at the seminary, I have not blogged here for a while -- I do intend to post regularly -- to share interesting articles that will help us live our vocations to married life -- especially for those who have attended or those who will attend one of our SPIN retreats.

Speaking of SPIN retreats, our next retreat will be January 24-25. Please spread the word to other married couples you know will benefit from this retreat.

And for those who have been on a SPIN retreat, you might think of making a repeat. Since we help lead the retreats, Mary Jane and I have been on several and let me tell you -- it helps to go through it again, to re-learn about the different methods of prayer, to practice them again and then after leaving the retreat to PUT them into practice. So if you have struggled with really incorporating these prayers into your marriage -- a second SPIN retreat might be just the thing you need! Plus, its a nice time apart for a couple to just reconnect with each other and with the Lord.

Here is a litany to Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin -- parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux -- Ask their intercessions for your marriage and for the ministry of SPIN


I see God in you

Posted by Dennis Chitwood Sat, 31 Aug 2013 20:47:45 GMT

Dennis and Elizabeth, Thank you so much for the gift of the SPIN Retreat weekend. Kathy and I enjoyed it a great deal. Our marriage has always been grounded in faith, but we rarely prayed together. That's mostly my fault, I'm afraid. I have been used to contemplative prayer as mostly a private experience. Consequently I rarely reached out to pray orally. We thought it would be difficult, but the many examples of prayer you provided and the opportunity to practice each method really made it easy for us to do. It has been a blessing. One more thing: I couldn't stop thinking about when Dennis said, "I'll love God through you, and I'll love you through God." Such a beautiful sentiment. I ended up using that line in a song I wrote for Kathy expressing how I constantly see God through her unconditional love for me, her kindness, and her merciful forgiveness of my many failings. If you would like to hear the song you can find it here:

Thanks again for a wonderful retreat.

Jim Craven


Mary & Dennis Roach

Posted by Dennis Chitwood Tue, 20 Aug 2013 19:06:25 GMT

Dear Dennis & Elizabeth,

It has now been a week since we finished the couple’s retreat at Todd Hall. Looking back on the experience, we feel that it was a very good investment of our time and money. Unlike other marriage enrichment weekends we have attended, this one gave us practical ways to pray as a couple with a strong focus on shared prayer. We have already used a couple of the methods suggested in your brochure and plan to rely more on these methods as a way of strengthening our relationship. Your strong focus on the spiritual unity between spouses can easily be neglected in a marriage but you made us see the importance of that focus by the example you set for the participants. We thank you for that and also wish to thank John and Mary Jane for the wise counsel they shared with us.

The last few years it has been difficult to even find any marriage enrichment weekends in the area. So we are glad we saw the notice in the Review and took advantage of the opportunity to participate in your SPIN Retreat. We wish you continued success in your chosen ministry. Hopefully our paths will cross again in the no-too-distant future.


Mary and Dennis Roach


Genesis Prayer Group

Posted by Dennis Chitwood Tue, 20 Aug 2013 15:52:00 GMT

WOW 5 August Birthdays at Genesis Prayer Group: Joe Lee Aug 5, Yolanda Chapa Aug 18, Mary Roy & Mike Perks 8-22, Joanie Hasser 8-24 We prayed for The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and stirring of His gifts at Genesis Prayer Group. Then we celebrated these wonderful Children of God's B-day with brownies, ice cream, fruit and home made salsa and chips. Oh how the Lord blesses us with grace and fellowship.
Blessed be the name of Jesus. Come Holy Spirit Come there is always more.


Catholic Renewal Center upcoming events Fall Conference 'Streetwise Evangelization' Oct. 11 & 12 Life In the Spirit Seminars (7 weeks) beginning: Weds. Sept 4 Holy Infant Parish Mon. Sept 9 Cardinal Rigali Center Weds Sept 11 Catholic Renewal Center Mon. March 3, 2014 St. Anselm Parish

Magnificat Breakfast for women Sept 14 - St. Kathleen Ronan RSM Dec 7 - Patti Mansfield

Catholic Renewal Center upcoming events Fall Conference 'Streetwise Evangelization' Oct. 11 & 12 Life In the Spirit Seminars (7 weeks) beginning: Weds. Sept 4 Holy Infant Parish Mon. Sept 9 Cardinal Rigali Center Weds Sept 11 Catholic Renewal Center Mon. March 3, 2014 St. Anselm Parish

Magnificat Breakfast for women Sept 14 - St. Kathleen Ronan RSM Dec 7 - Patti Mansfield


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