Couple praying together at sunrise by lake

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

With the goal of enriching and celebrating the sacrament of marriage, a GIVEN Marriage Retreat will be offered for couples at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Somerset on Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event was rescheduled due to a January winter storm. Twenty couples were registered at that time, and organizers are hoping more will benefit from this opportunity for reflection, grace and growth.

Presenters for the retreat will be Alice Heinzen, retired Director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of La Crosse, and parishioner Jeff Arrowood, adult educator and founder of “From the Abbey.”

The pair of speakers has worked together in various capacities, including co-authoring the “Teaching the Way of Love” program as a resource for parents to educate their children in faith and virtues.

Heinzen and her husband were invited to participate as auditors in the October 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.

In the words she addressed to the assembly on the topic of pastoral programs for couples and families, Heinzen shared that many existing programs are “not strong enough to meet modern needs,” not broad enough to care for and deepen marriages after initial preparation, and needing renewed and creative methodologies to support lifelong marriages that reflect the domestic church and share the blessings of family life with their children.

According to organizer Jodi Arrowood, who also has experience in marriage preparation and enrichment ministry, “The primary focus of the retreat is teaching couples to dialogue with each other and to pray together.”

The GIVEN retreat format originated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and is designed for adaptation in a local parish setting. Heinzen brought it to the La Crosse Diocese and the Arrowoods, seeing the need for marriage enrichment in their area, are introducing it to the Diocese of Superior.

The schedule includes two talks, group conversation and time for private prayer and dialogue as a couple. Talk topics for the Somerset retreat are on living marriage as a sacrament and vocation, and communication and unraveling the mystery of marriage.

Eucharistic adoration and confession will also available.

Light breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee, $40 for married and dating couples, $25 for engaged couples. Childcare is also available. Registration is requested by contacting or 715-781-2725.