I was born and raised in Burgundy, France. Good wine and good food reign, but the the region is also deeply rooted in Christianity. The number of beautiful roman churches and chapels is amazing. I am number four of five kids: three girls and two boys. I was raised in a practicing Catholic family. I married Christian in 1977 in Burgundy in an 11th century church. We have five beautiful daughters. Two of them still live in France and three are in the US with us. Our two eldest daughters are married, one in Denver, one in France, and each have five children so far. Our third daughter is currently expecting her first baby. After fifteen years in the Catholic Community of the Beatitudes, we dedicated ourselves to the ministry towards the engaged. We have been the Directors of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Colorado Springs since 2005. We became American citizens in 2010 and now have dual citizenship: French and American. I love to take pictures and to scrapbook, I love drawing and crafts (salt-dough is my best!), hiking and gardening. I am the computer geek for our organization.

Friday Feedback 1

1) What is your overall impression of this prep?

Philip: My impression of this prep is that it provided us the tools and lessons to a very successful Catholic marriage. Everything I have learned throughout this program will benefit us so much to make our marriage stronger over time and allow us to overcome anything our relationship faces. These lessons have also opened our eyes to what we will teach our future children. I also very much enjoyed our instructors feedback to our answers in every single worksheet - they are both so insightful.
Andrea: This prep program was absolutely amazing! Not only did we learn so much more about each other but we now have the proper tools to overcome any obstacle our marriage may face. We also have a better understanding of a true Catholic marriage and plan on surrounding our life and marriage with everything we have learned from this program. I enjoyed our very attentive instructors as well, you both were extremely helpful.

2) Did it meet your expectations?

Philip: Yes!! This program exceeded our expectations and we will remember everything we have learned. This program has made me even more excited to finally make the biggest commitment to the person I love the most and better yet my best friend and surrounding our marriage in strong Catholic values.
Andrea: Oh my gosh, yes! I loved every interactive worksheet and videos. We learned so much about the true meaning of marriage and the life long commitment we are making to one another.

3) Did you take the time to read most of the links provided in the answer keys?

Of course we did! Every single link was so insightful and embellished each topic of each worksheet. These links allowed us to dig deeper into the true meaning of each worksheet. We really enjoyed the links!! We also really loved writing our love letters and forgiveness cards, they made us see each other in a new light and we plan on writing more of these to each other every month. :)

4) What did you appreciate most and why?

Philip: I appreciated the hands on tasks that were given to us. It allowed us to speak to one another about the material we had just gone over and expand our feelings or thoughts on the final lesson we were just taught. Each worksheet brought us closer to one another and closer to Christ.
Andrea: What I appreciated the most was how each lesson created a stronger bond between the two of us. We almost feel like a new line of communication has been opened, as we find ourselves talking about Catholic values and making sure Christ is in our every day lives and will be with our future children.

5) Did the course revive, or renew your desire to get closer to God and His Church? Yes

How did the course revive - or not - your faith?

Philip: My faith was revived as I was a man of little faith but I still had faith in my life. After doing this program, my faith is much much stronger and I can say that now I am a man of very strong faith and plan on converting to the Catholic religion later in life. I feel Christ in my life now, and welcome him with open arms.
Andrea: As I am a woman of Catholic religion, I wasn't practicing much. Now, after this program I have found Christ again and my practicing faith has been reignited. We have been attending church together more often than we did, and our relationship is stronger than ever - prepared for the live long commitment we will make to one another and our future life.

6) Did the course help you improve your communication and sharing?:Yes

Comments on communication through the course: This program improved our communication immensely. We didn't always mention things that were bothering us or discuss faith that much. Now, we discuss both so much - we bring up any issue as soon as one of us has one and we talk about it in depth and resolve our issues rather than bottling it up. We had been doing this at about 50/50 and not we did it 100/100 as we see the immense benefits. Our discussions of faith and Christ have made us realize how important it is to practice faith and be a part of a concrete religion. We want to raise our future children on a strong Catholic foundation and keep Christ in our marriage and life together.

7) Comments: We would just like to say that we enjoyed our instructors - you two are so awesome and we appreciate all of your wonderful and constructive feedback. We both feel like our relationship benefited so much from this program and we will take what we have learned and will be applying it to our every day life together, our marriage, and our future children. We will keep you both in our prayers as well!

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Okinawa Fioretti

"Your seminar on Okinawa this weekend was wonderful. I have a greater sense of my vocation and I have a renewed spirit that with God's grace I can fulfill his will. Merci," Jerome

"Something else that stood out to me was the role of the women.  I never saw it as being such a blessing to be a woman.  When seeing it as you have put it, it makes me see that indeed we play such a big role.  Being a military spouse it’s sometimes hard to see how important you really are.  Being the spouse and a at home mom of an active duty member everything revolves around HIM being able to do all things. Even things that have to be done for the children have to be done by him.  Sometimes the military can make you feel insignificant. After doing this for 7 years I'm glad that we did this retreat.  Listening to the role of both parts helped my husband as well, it helped him to see that he is suppose to protect me all the time.  I know that I'm a big girl and with my past I don’t let anyone get away with anything not done to me or my family.  So for a while there he never stood up for me LOL!  He thought, "she can handle herself.  But it does feel good to have him do it for a change.  Anyway to make this story short we enjoyed every part of our time with you guys, seeing you interact with each other and speak to each other was great.  Once again thank you for all you do, thank you for saying yes to Gods work you are amazing and real. Thanks "

"Apart from your lovely French accents, we loved the way you explained the Sacrament of Marriage to us. It was very enlightening. We thought we knew what it meant, but you helped us to dig deeper into its meaning. We have also implemented many of your suggestions on how to incorporate Christ more into our lives. We do our daily prayers and meditation as a couple and as a family. Our sons are doing so much better vocalizing their prayers and we have our prayer jars! It really helped to hear someone reinforce the fact that without Christ, we can do nothing! So, thank you for being so open with us and sharing the most personal aspects of your lives. Please keep us in your prayers."

Rhea and Tony

Click here for pictures of all the couples!

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Kafuu Marriage Retreat

The three day retreat was  focused on resilience in marriage, for couples who have to face the most challenging situations due to their military lives. Of course, we put the accent on the incredible grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony, and the words of Christ, "Without me, you can do nothing."
Each of the four sessions was filled with laughter, some tears, a lot of friendship, and prayer. The awesome settings of the luxury resort allowed each couple to take a break from the crude reality, rest from daily stress and engage in a deep dialog. Father offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and we celebrated the Ascension mass facing the East China Sea. A romantic dinner, the surprise of a photographer to take souvenir pictures of each couple, the beautiful smiles of all the Japanese personnel, made this retreat unforgettable!

All couples were very happy and "recharged" at the end of the retreat today. Many came to us, eyes filled with tears, to thank us. They said that they never experienced something so spiritual before, something really focused on their own marriage, their difficulties, their relationship. They all said that they had learned much, about their faith, and also about ways to make their marriage better. Once couple laughed explaining how they were trying to improve their communication with their newly learned skills!

All in all, it was well worth it! and tomorrow, one of the couples will take a day off to help us discover the beauty of the island!



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Celestial View

Right after breakfast, we set for a debriefing with Lens, our island tour pilot. We were afraid to give the breakfast back right away as we started a rather bumpy flight over the coast! But we held strong and could enjoy a perfect sunny day with wonderful views of the beaches, the ocean's different hues of blues and greens, the waves, rocks, incredible vegetation! Paradise, or close!




The battle of Okinawa started April 1st, 1945, proved to be one of the WWII longest and hardest fought campaigns. 12,500 Americans were killed, 75,000 of the Japanese imperial army, 1/3 of civilian population, about 100,000 people died... The toughest threat for the Americans were the 3,000 kamikazes sent by the Japanese.

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Greeted by Orchids

The Japanese flight from San Francisco to Tokyo was very comfortable. We had four seats for the two of us. The meals were abundant and delicious. It was interesting to see all the signs in Japanese.

Upon arriving we were greeted at the gate by Father Onyema who introduced us to the outgoing General and the incoming one! Our heads were spinning as Father drove us (on the left side of the road) to the Air Force Base. The coast line seems to be crowded: casinos, hotels, but also palm trees, magnolias (or so it seemded in the dark). The US Navy has several bases there too. Signs in Japanese only everywhere! It seemed unreal.

A nice big fruit basket welcomed us in our Air Force Inn one bedroom appartment. Program for tomorrow: visit of the chapel, tour of the island in a 4 seats Cesna! Yeah! Welcome to the tropics!

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Journey to a Distant Land

Looked at the map: an impressive 10,178 miles to go, in Japanese: 鹿児島~名瀬~亀徳~和泊~
- Three hour flight from Colorado Springs to San Francisco
- 11 hour flight from San Francisco to Tokyo
- Another three hour flight from Tokyo to Naha.
Then we will be picked up and driven to Kadena Air Force Base.
Departure from Colorado Springs: Tuesday at 7:30 am (MST) - It will be 10:30 p.m. in Okinawa! 15 hours difference!
Arrival time in Okinawa: 9:00 pm on Wednesday.
The weather is supposed to be good: 72 to 75 degrees Farenheit with 73 to 80 % humidity! It will be a big change from dry Colorado.
Maybe we'll come back moldy and covered with mushrooms?

Stay tuned for our travel blog!


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Being Reconciled With Our Weakness

If we accept ourselves in our weakness, our limitations, it will also be easier for us to accept other people.
Often, quite simply, we can’t get along with other people because we can’t get along with ourselves. We have all experience this at some point. Sometimes we are unhappy with ourselves because we’ve made mistakes or fallen into a fault that humiliates us, so we are really annoyed with ourselves. That makes us bad-tempered and even aggressive with others. What does this mean? Just that we make others pay for our difficulty in accepting our own inner poverty. Not accepting our limitations, we take it out on other people… This reaction is very common, and obviously unfair and contrary to the truth. Most of our conflicts with others are nothing more than a projection of the conflicts we are having with ourselves.

The contrary is also true. The more we accept ourselves as we are and are reconciled to our own weakness, the more we can accept other people and love them as they are.

But this is sensitive territory. Where do we draw the line between accepting our weakness and complacency about our sins? Sometimes it is not easy to tell the difference. We need to accept our weakness but clearly we need to reject sin. In the spiritual life we need to find a balance, and it is a subtle one.”

Excerpt from: The Way of Trust and Love”
A retreat Guided by St Thérèse of Lisieux, page 49, by Fr. Jacques Philippe.
(Scepter Publishers, Inc.  wwwscepterpiblishers.org)

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I’m overjoyed and feel renewed and strong!

This man that I’ve never met gives an impression of great holiness, he seems so peaceful and trustful in his God who placed him here! The joy and hope I feel are not just fleeting human feelings, they are supernatural I am sure of that!

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Questions and answers from the CatholicMarriagePrep.com course

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