Diocese of Lake Charles
MOSS BLUFF — Blake and Kelli Brignac will be the first to admit that life moves fast when you are raising three young children while juggling busy careers. That is one reason the couple, who will be married nine years in May, signed up for Together in Holiness held at Camp Karol on March 5.
They joined 46 other couples for the one-day marriage enrichment conference presented by the St. John Paul II Foundation and the Diocese of Lake Charles. Couples ranged from newly married to nearly 50 years.
The second annual event featured a mix of guest speakers with a focus on the theme, “Family as Community Prayer.” Mass was celebrated by Bishop Glen John Provost, and time was set aside for Eucharistic Adoration, confession, and private time for the couples.
Kelli learned about the conference through St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church where she and Blake are parishioners.
“I was familiar with the St. John Paul II Foundation, but I had not heard of Together in Holiness,” Kelli said. “What interested me was how it is meant for people who are in the throes of a busy life. My husband’s business has been growing a lot, and I just had a major career change. I wanted time for us to be able to talk without all the daily distractions.”
Blake said the day was a good reset for them to focus on their faith regarding each other and their three children.
“As time evolved, we got away from the path we discussed early on when we were planning to have a family. This time together gave us a chance to think about things and what we can do to get back on track,” said Blake.
Together in Holiness is a marriage conference and initiative of the St. John Paul II Foundation inspiring spouses to grow together in holiness and empowering parents to form their children in the Catholic faith.
Bishop Provost emphasized that the couples should never underestimate what they do as a parent or as husband and wife.
“God wants us to cooperate with him in a complementary work where we are jointly engaged in something particularly important. Married couples perform a great service to God in what they do, and they contribute a great deal,” Bishop Provost said during his homily.
“You can have an argument or disagreement, which in modern society can be misinterpreted as the end of the world. It is not the end of the world if you have your relationship anchored in the Faith, which is God present in your midst. It is the way a married couple is to live the Sacrament of Matrimony,” he continued.
Randall and Melissa Edwards, who have been married two years and are expecting their second child, attended so they could grow together in their young marriage.
“We pray daily as a family, but sometimes it is hard with a baby,” said Melissa regarding their 1 ½-year old. “It was nice to hear that we should do what we can and just keep trying.”
The presentation on liturgical living resonated with Randall, who serves as Campus Minister for Cowboy Catholics at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church.
“I liked hearing ways to make the family dynamic holier and incorporate good practices of sacrifice in our children, even while they are so young, to be able to grow with that,” said Randall.
Derrell and Jill Feverjean, parishioners of St. Theodore Catholic Church, were glad to learn about things they can add in their marriage more than just going to Mass on Sundays.
“I was attracted to the spiritual component of the conference and how we can incorporate things with our 6-year-old and in our marriage,” said Jill. “I enjoyed listening to the speakers and then having time for spouses to have one-on-one time throughout the day.”
Roland Millare, STD, Vice President of Curriculum and Director of Shepherd’s Heart, said the goal of Together in Holiness is to help couples not just survive but to thrive in their marriages. Millare presented a talk, “The Holy Eucharist, A Nuptial Sacrament.”
“We want couples to realize that marriage vocation is a means by which they can answer the call to holiness,” he said. “The day offers time with the Lord and time with your spouse. For married couples, a day-long commitment is much easier to make than a whole weekend.”
Returning participants Wayne and Amanda Jeffries are encouraged by so many other couples trying to live a life of holiness. They know all too well the importance of making time for each other. Now parishioners of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, their marriage is the second for both.
“We already have commitments that we try to live out in our daily lives being part of the Domestic Church. Coming here helps to reignite that spark and recenter us on God’s will for us in our marriage and God’s will for us as parents, and helps us to prioritize,” said Amanda. “It is a wonderful opportunity to be around other like-minded couples and to be reminded that we are not alone in this journey toward Heaven.”
In addition to Millare, other topics and speakers included “Liturgical Living in the Home” by Michael and Erin Fontenot, of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Jennings; and Sister Mary Benedicta Maier, R.S.M., co-director of the Offices of Marriage, Family Life, and Pro-Life Ministries for the Diocese of Lake Charles; and “The Eucharistic Mission of the Family” by Damon Owens, founder of Joyful Ever After.
Learn more about the St. John Paul II Foundation and its initiative, Together in Holiness at https://forlifeandfamily.org/together-in-holiness/.