The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), is the only Archdiocese or non-profit organization that provides the Catholic Church's full range of pastoral ministries to service members and their families.
The AMS receives no funding from the United States government. Instead, her mission of serving those who serve is solely funded by the generosity of chaplains, men and women in uniform, and private contributors.
Through such generosity, the AMS has been able to host various marriage enrichment retreats taking place in the East and West Coast of the United States and Europe throughout the year. Through the use of the inventory tool, REFOCCUS (Relationship Enrichment Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding, and Study), and group and individual sessions, the retreats are designed for military couples to talk about their marriage and consider areas that should be addressed. The time together helps military couples strengthen their Catholic faith and relationship by sharing the joys and struggles of military life that affect married life both with each other and with other military couples who can relate to their unique lifestyle. “Meeting other Catholic couples and being able to relate to similar married life experiences, especially military married life experiences is something I will take with me from this experience,” said one attendee after the 2018 marriage retreat in California.
That statement is not an exception, but the norm. The opportunity to converse and pray together in a retreat setting offered many of the couples in attendance the opportunity to focus on a deepened understanding of their spouse, as well as an opportunity to grow in their Catholic faith. The weekend retreats offer couples an occasion to step away from their busy lives, and an opportunity to reflect on the gift of love in their life, and the gift of Christ in their marriage.
- “I truly enjoyed meeting other military Catholics in a relaxing setting and enjoying the fellowship with other married couples.”
- “It was great being alone with my husband and focusing only on us. I have a renewed commitment to my marriage and to prayer.”
- “I will walk away with better understanding, communication, and embeddedness with our Lord God in the continued strength of our marriage.”
In post-retreat evaluations, the couples said the encounter gave them fresh ideas on how to strengthen their marriages. Typical of the comments received were:
In each retreat, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, is present, reassuring to couples his commitment to assisting them in strengthening their marriage. Marriage is full of many challenges. Military couples, in addition, experience deployments, post-traumatic stress, and re-entry into society which add unique challenges that the AMS is determined to help military couples overcome. As Archbishop Broglio has said, “marriage is indeed a union most sacred and serious. It is a wonderful gift to the Church and to society. Like all precious gifts, it must be cared for, supported, and sustained.”
Although COVID-19 has forced postponements of the Marriage Enrichment Retreats for 2020, future retreats are in the works. With your continued prayers and support, the AMS hopes to resume them.
The mission of the AMS of serving those who serve is more critical than ever. If possible, please consider making a gift to the AMS today!