Madonna House

Date Night

by Paulette Curran

One exciting fruit of the World Meeting of Families occurred close to home—in Ottawa, and two of our staff, Linda Lambeth and Carol Ann Gieske, were privileged to be part of it—through having a book table.

It all started with one couple, the parents of five children, who had wanted very much to attend the meetings in Philadelphia but could not afford to do so.

They prayed about it and decided to do something in Ottawa with a few other couples. They thought of a dinner to celebrate the Synod on the Family.

The seed was planted; they named it a “Date Night,” and the overall theme was “Sanctify Your Family.”

They talked about it with the archbishop, and with his encouragement, the little seed grew. Eighty couples came to the dinner.

They prayed for the Synod and rejoiced over the coming canonization of the parents of the Little Flower, the first married couple to be canonized as a couple in the history of the Church. And they gave talks in which they shared their own inspirational stories.

To show their love and support for the families, the Sisters of the Queenship of Mary cooked and catered the meal.

Also a caterer loaned them the chair covering that made each couple’s place into a bride and groom’s setting.

The following day more families came, this time with their children. Mass was celebrated by Ottawa’s Auxiliary Bishop Christian Riesbeck, who gave a powerful homily on the beauty of marriage.

Couples later gave talks on family life, and there were about twelve displays (including our own) with resources for families.

The buffet luncheon was again catered by the Sisters, and activities for the children were provided by volunteers.

A little seed that fell from the hearts of one couple yielded a rich harvest, a harvest that grew out of a disappointment and out of listening to the Spirit.