A Day to Grow “Together in Holiness” - May 5

May 1, 2018

When the St. John Paul II Foundation invited Catholic mom and spiritual director Charlotte Sacco of Katy to speak on a panel for the upcoming Together in Holiness conference, she was a bit taken aback.

“I thought ‘What? Why me?’ But then as I prayed about it I immediately felt the call to participate.”

As a spiritual director and full member of the Marian Servants, Mrs. Sacco is used to sharing her faith. “I knew that Together in Holiness would be an awesome opportunity for God to work through me, and all the presenters to touch hearts and make a real difference! Come Holy Spirit!”

Catholic father and writer Kiernan O’Connor also saw the value of joining the men’s panel at The Woodlands on May 5th, seeing it as a chance to escape the “bubbles” that Catholics sometimes find themselves inhabiting. “An event like Together in Holiness helps us take the pulse of marriage in our community. Strong marriages are the most powerful force in the world for good, and marriages are strong when they are centered on Christ.”

With two conferences at St. Anthony of Padua in The Woodlands and St. Laurence parish in Sugar Land on the same day—Saturday, May 5th—Together in Holiness will feature national speakers Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. and Patty Schneier, as well as men’s and women’s panels discussing how to help families flourish rather than merely survive. Topics discussed will be “Getting your spouse and kids to heaven,” “Balancing Work and Family Life,” and “Virtue and Children: Getting Beyond Pacifying, Negotiating, and Threatening.”

 “When we were looking at local Catholics to invite for the panels, we weren’t looking for some unreal perfection so much as joy and authenticity,” said Arland Nichols, president of the St. John Paul II Foundation, which is co-presenting Together in Holiness with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “Each of the panelists is very comfortable in their faith, and each has had to overcome difficulties while living the virtues in an authentic way for their spouses and their children, so each has something important to share.”

Nichols believes that fathers speaking from their own experience at St. Anthony’s on May 5 will be a powerful witness for other Catholic fathers. O’Connor will moderate the panel, which features Nichols, retired senior executive Rick Plaeger, and Catholic evangelist Trey Cashion.

“It’s important for men to be able to talk directly to men, especially about the things that are most important in the family,” said Nichols. “The same holds for the women—it’s important that we be able to identify with others if we want to reach them on a personal level.”

The women’s panel in The Woodlands will be moderated by family therapist Veronica Vallone, and speaking will be Mrs. Sacco, as well as Gina Bergeron from St. John XXIII school in Katy, and Lucy Hines, co-owner of Houston’s popular bakery, the Kolache Shoppe.

Sacco hopes that spouses who attend will leave not only with a renewed joy in their vocation, but with practical ideas to bring formation and prayer into the home. “Living in this world, it is too easy to get distracted and busy one's self with everything that is not family. This is, of course, the enemy's tactic – to divide families. It must begin with me. If my walk with the Lord is not strong, then how can I help lead anyone else to eternity with Jesus?”

O’Connor agrees that the first step is focusing on one’s own holiness, so that he or she can better serve his family: “Growing in my own interior life is the foundation to forming my children in virtue. And heaven is the goal, which is why we have to live this life well. God made us to flourish, not merely to survive.”

“From inexpensive and thoughtful child care, to great speakers, to leaving plenty of time for spouses to absorb the ideas and spend time in conversation, we have designed Together in Holiness to be as accessible and as fruitful as possible for couples of all ages,” said Nichols, who will also emcee the conference at St. Anthony of Padua. “The renewal of the family starts not with a lofty idea, but in the love between husband and wife, and the grace that God gives us precisely in our marriage. That’s what this day is about.”

Together in Holiness is on May 5th, with child care check-in and registration beginning at 7:30 am, and Mass at 8:30 am. For more information about childcare, schedule, and the rest of the day, visit www.togetherinholiness.org.