Teams of Our Lady is an international Catholic movement to enrich marriage spirituality. The aim of the movement is to help couples live out a married spirituality and to discover the full richness of the sacrament of marriage. Below, Jodi and Tiago Do Couto from St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Pickering share their experience of being involved in this movement.
What attracted you to Teams of Our Lady? How did you hear about it?
We heard of the movement from a pulpit address at our parish, St. Isaac Jogues, Pickering. We talked about it as a couple, did some research on the movement and spoke to families in our parish that were actively involved.
What attracted us to the movement was its focus on Christ-centered marriage. Jodi is a convert to the faith and Tiago is a cradle Catholic. This movement gave both of us a newfound fire and love for the faith. As a married couple with two young children, we wanted to be involved in a movement with a focus on the family that allowed us to spend meaningful time together as a couple. It also provided an opportunity to meet likeminded couples who share similar joys and struggles of family life.
How did participation impact your marriage? Any surprises?
Involvement has encouraged us to always make Christ the foundation of our marriage and family, no matter how busy we are. One of the endeavors of the movement is something called a "sit-down" which involves us as a couple sitting down and touching base on all aspects of our lives and doing so in an uninterrupted and non-judgemental way. It provides a regular opportunity for us to work on things we feel are important to our marriage and our family.
Through these "sit-downs" we've learned more about ourselves as individuals and realized some of our own limitations. For example, Tiago is working to overcome his apprehension of praying aloud and with Jodi. It is incredible what we have learned about each other by seeking a deeper understanding of each other's hearts through this prayerful marital dialogue.
What is the benefit of journeying with other couples? What have you learned from them?
Journeying with other couples is one the greatest benefits of our involvement with the movement. It affirms that we are not alone in the journey of family life. It provides us the ability to go deeper on important topics and offer one another thoughts and suggestions. We take the lessons learned from the other couples and try and apply them to our own lives. Couples on our team have children ranging in age from babies in the womb to teenagers. It is incredible to see the different lessons being shared by each couple from their experiences of parenting at different stages.
As a team of couples, we celebrate the joys of our families together. As we journey with other couples, it is amazing to see how fast these other couples have become part of our family. In a short period of time, the couples involved in our team have become great friends, involved in our summer barbecues and our children's play dates. It's provided the opportunity for our children to spend time and develop relationships with other children who are being raised with similar values. This is such an important thing in our very secular society.
What made you decide to move from participants to leaders in your ministry?
Each team in the movement is made up of five or six couples. Each team has a couple known as a "responsible couple." This couple is elected for a one year term by the team and takes care of the administrative duties within the team. We were elected by our team and have been grateful for the opportunity to be leaders. It has given us an opportunity to learn more about the wider reach of Teams of Our Lady, even on a global level. With over 135,000 members involved in the movement, it is amazing to see the reach of this group and how it is touching the lives of all of its members.
Any tips or advice for married couples as we celebrate Marriage Sunday?
Enjoy all your moments as a family.
Love each other.
The Archdiocese of Toronto celebrates Marriage Sunday the weekend of February11/12, 2017. For more information and resources, visit; www.archtoronto.org/marriage.