PMRC E-news August 2011

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PMRC E-Newsletter

August 2011

From the Editors

Dear Friends,

We have begun a major overhaul of our promotional activities and hopefully by the time our next e-news comes your way, we'll have a whole new look.  In the meantime, you can help by:

  1. Telling your friends and colleagues about the Celebrate Love and Embrace - your personal recommendation is still the most effective way to spread the word! Gift certificates are available from our bookshop.

  2. If you have a facebook page, visit the Celebrate Love (PMRC) page and 'like' us. Add a comment to the discussion topic.

  3. Make sure your parish knows about the courses, has brochures and posters, and that the parish secretary knows to watch for bulletin advertisement requests we send out ahead of an event in the diocese.

Below, find a number of hopefully interesting and useful articles, resources and events.


Francine & Byron


Article of Interest

Not Too Late to Bring Back Early Marriage

The National Post - May 21, 2011

University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus has a few odd things to say about marriage: Do not wait so long; all your ducks do not have to be in a row before marrying.

His ideas, once the norm, now go against what most parents tell their grown children: You are too young; you need to live first; you don’t have enough money or a good job; there is plenty of time to get married.

“In a society that values its independence above all things, marriage is going to take second place,” says Prof. Regnerus, who co-wrote the recently released Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying.

Marriage has become devalued and ridiculed, he says. As a result more people are marrying later in life, if they marry at all, are experiencing difficulty in having children because they marry past the peak fertility age and are splitting up because commitment to the institution has eroded.

His message is often directed at evangelical Christians, but he thinks society as a whole benefits from stable marriages. He notes the median age for a first marriage has shifted from 21 for women and 23 for men in 1970 to 26 and 28 respectively today. “That’s five additional, long years of peak sexual interest and fertility. And remember, those numbers are medians: for every man marrying at 22, there’s one marrying for the first time at 34.”

He and his wife of 18 years married at 22 and lived in a small apartment with two children while he completed his postdoctorate — lest it be thought his ideas are just academic.

Q  So everyone should follow your lead and marry young?
A  People can say about me, “This a moron who married at 22 and he wants us to live the life he did.” I’m not doing that. But there is a common narrative now that says you’re not ready for marriage and this is something for later on. I want to poke a few holes in it. My wife and I can look back and smile at the times we shared, but today people get together later and they have to instruct each other what their life was like because they did not share it. Today it’s about smashing two independent people together. It also taught us a great lesson in thriftiness.  . . .
For full interview:

The Tricky Chemistry of Attraction

Taking birth-control pills may mask the signals that draw the sexes together, research shows
Shirley Wang, Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2011.

The type of man a woman is drawn to is known to change during her monthly cycle—when a woman is fertile, for instance, she might look for a man with more masculine features. Taking the pill or another type of hormonal contraceptive upends this natural dynamic, making less-masculine men seem more attractive, according to a small but growing body of evidence. The findings have led researchers to wonder about the implications for partner choice, relationship quality and even the health of the children produced by these partnerships.

Evolutionary psychologists and biologists have long been interested in factors that lead to people's choice of mates. One influential study in the 1990s, dubbed the T-shirt study, asked women about their attraction to members of the opposite sex by smelling the men's T-shirts. The findings showed that humans, like many other animals, transmit and recognize information pertinent to sexual attraction through chemical odours known as pheromones.

The study also showed that women seemed to prefer the scents of men whose immune systems were most different from the women's own immune-system genes known as MHC. The family of genes permit a person's body to recognize which bacteria are foreign invaders and to provide protection from those bugs. Evolutionarily, scientists believe, children should be healthier if their parents' MHC genes vary, because the offspring will be protected from more pathogens.

Both men's and women's preferences in mates shift when a woman is ovulating, the period when she is fertile, research has shown. Some studies have tracked women's responses to photos of different men, while other studies have interviewed women about their feelings for men over several weeks. Among the conclusions: When women are ovulating, they tend to be drawn to men with greater facial symmetry and more signals of masculinity, such as muscle tone, a more masculine voice and dominant behaviours. The women also seemed to be particularly attuned to MHC-gene diversity. From an evolutionary perspective, these signals are supposed to indicate that men are more fertile and have better genes to confer to offspring.

Such natural preferences get wiped out when the woman is on hormonal birth control, research has shown. Women on the pill no longer experience a greater desire for traditionally masculine men during ovulation. Their preference for partners who carry different immunities than they do also disappears. And men no longer exhibit shifting interest for women based on their menstrual cycle, perhaps because those cues signalling ovulation are no longer present, scientists say.

For the full article: 

Wall Street Journal

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Initiatives of Interest

Strengthening Marriage

As our nation considers attempts to redefine marriage we invite you to consider supporting the following initiatives.

  1. National Marriage Day.
    Be part of creating a great multitude of voices supporting marriage and family life.
    Our politicians will  shortly be asked to report to Parliament the views of their electorate on same-sex "marriage". It is now more urgent than ever to gather your friends, neighbours, church group and colleagues and come to Canberra on August 16th. Marriage is too important for you to sit by and leave it to someone else to defend. At times like these it is crowds that talk! 

    REBECCA HAGELIN, senior communications fellow at the Heritage Foundation (based in Washington D.C., USA), weekly columnist for the Washington Times and author of Amazon best-seller  “30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family” will address the rally on the topic of “One Man, One Woman: The Future Of Civil Society”.  
    Tuesday August 16th, 10am-12noon.
    Great Hall Parliament House, Canberra


    Dear Australian citizen,
    In November 2010, the Australian Greens Party introduced a motion asking federal politicians to “gauge their constituents' views on ways to achieve equal treatment for same sex couples including marriage.” On August 24th our representatives will report back about what they’ve heard from their constituents. We want every Member of Parliament to be able to report that they’ve heard from their electorates that they believe in marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

    Australian Marriage Is invites you to visit to get informed and get involved! We urge you to go and speak to your local Federal member within the next three weeks about protecting marriage for future generations of Australians. You can visit the website to find your local member and their contact details. We need you to call their office and make a time to see them (or if you can’t call and register your support for marriage, write a letter).

    If we don’t act now – then in the next year or two Australia will most certainly see homosexual “marriage”. We can expect that similar effects as have been seen in other jurisdictions where marriage has been redefined will follow; these include, infringements on the right to freedom of religion and conscience, changes to the curriculums in schools to teach children about homosexuality from a very young age and calls for polyamory and polygamy to be recognised. This is not about putting down a certain type of relationship – it is about recognising the unique dignity attached to the union of man and woman in marriage.



Join our facebook group for Celebrate Love and be part of online discussions, keep track of coming events and send info to your facebook network.

Don't have a facebook account? It's easy and it's free. Go to and create an account on the sign up box. Then search <Celebrate Love (PMRC)>.

Discussion Topic this month: Staying Connected.

... we'd love to hear from you.

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Respect & Cherishment

April 2011

While everyone experiences love uniquely, some clear gender patterns have emerged through relationship research. In one study, when given the option between the negative choices of being ‘alone and unloved in all the world’ or ‘inadequate and disrespected by everyone’,   74% of men preferred be alone and unloved, compared to only minority of women.* Further enquiry suggest that this gender patter is relevant to how men and women experience love and connection.

Women appear to primarily experience love and connection through the expression of ‘cherishment’; gestures of care and tenderness, intimate conversation, attentiveness, personal affection and closeness, selfless acts of service, protectiveness. On the other hand, men have a bias towards love expressed as ‘respect’: admiration, deference, valuing of his opinion, giving him the benefit of the doubt, following his lead.

Obviously women want respect also… just as men want to be loved.  However the important insight here is that, while both are important to both men and women, one is usually more important than the other; that is men and women generally have different, dominant ways of experiencing love… a bit like being left or right handed. 

The construction of the research question is also instructive in providing a further insight: the subjects were not asked if they preferred to be ‘respected’ or ‘cherished’; they were asked which was preferable between the two negative options of ‘abandonment’ or ‘disrespect’.  In other words, the gender bias is clearly evident in the absence of these expressions of love.  

This understanding is really helpful for married couples. Happiness in marriage is not simply about loving bigger and more generously in any haphazard way. It requires us to thoughtfully eliminate the biggest ‘love busters’; those behaviours that kill the joy and sense of connection for our spouse. For men, disrespect** from his wife is a massive love buster. It drains his energy and crushes his confidence in relationship. For women, abandonment (either emotional or physical) is more likely to top the list of love busters; the absence of acts that indicate he ‘cherishes’ her can lead her to question her value and to feel antagonistic towards her husband.

Of course, this is not a new insight. Almost 2000 years ago, a certain St Paul was giving the similar advice: “Each one of you must love [i.e., cherish] his wife as he loves himself; and let every wife respect her husband”. Eph 5:33


Daily Appreciation

May 2011

We all love to be appreciated. It feels good; it helps us to feel positive towards ourselves and towards the person expressing the appreciation.  It is a genuinely loving gesture to express appreciation to another and, in marriage particularly, it is a positive relationship habit.

Why is expressing appreciation of our spouse such a powerful force for good? 

Firstly, when we express appreciation we focus on the goodness in the other. No matter how irritated or hurt we may be with each other, we can always find something to appreciate. The simple act of appreciation can help us tame any dwelling self-pity and build positive feelings of wellbeing. It helps us become more resilient and more able to tolerate each other’s failings. It is a practical form of that age old wisdom of ‘counting our blessings’. Regular appreciation of each other fosters the virtue of gratitude and enables us capitalize on the innate joyfulness in our life.

Secondly, a habit of daily appreciation works a treat when it comes to helping each other with ‘smart loving’ (see March 2011). If we feel most loved by our spouse when they act in a certain way, it helps them to know that by expressing our appreciation. This tells our spouse that they are loving us well and to keep it coming. If we are smart, we’ll be watching for the signs of appreciation to learn more about what really makes the love we give hit the mark.

Most of us inadvertently adopt a ‘dumb loving’ behavioural habit in marriage… we criticise our spouse for undesirable actions and remain silent on desirable ones.   It leaves us in a constant state of failure and provides no pathway to success.   It is far more effective (and enlivening) to focus on what works.  After all, we all want success in marriage!


Daily Strongest Feeling

June 2011

“Honey we need to talk!”  Those five words strike unparalleled fear into a man’s heart. They usually mean an unpleasant message or a very long and arduous interaction. No wonder men dread these words! While women are marathon runners in the endurance conversation; men are optimised for the sprint encounter – fast, focussed, effective communication is his preferred style.

Like most couples, we spend a good deal of our day apart. In the early days of our relationship, we were diligent in updating each other on our experiences. The practice kept us intimate as we both grew and changed. After a time, and especially once children came along, increasingly, there just wasn’t the time to share everything that we individually experienced each day. 

Yet we were still growing and changing just as much. Even as our relationship stagnated, our individual development continued.  Over time, this lack of shared life experiences created the sense that we barely knew each other anymore; we had each changed so much that we felt like married strangers. This ‘drifting’ apart is often felt more acutely by women as their need for intimate conversation is typically stronger than it is for men.

One very effective habit is sharing our Daily Strongest Feeling. In our fast-paced culture, it’s impractical to try to share all our encounters in a typical day apart. However if we share the strongest feeling we experience each day, then we are at least keeping in touch with the most significant experiences. It’s the strongest feelings that are associated with the most powerful experiences, the encounters that impact us deeply; these are the ones that really matter.

And it needn’t take an inordinate amount of time to do this. Five minutes is usually sufficient. This is not only achievable for the ‘conversation-wary’ husband, it actually helps focus the conversation for the woman, so that she becomes more efficient in communicating what really matters. Moreover, the practice helps us process those intense emotions.

As a regular habit, the Daily Strongest Feeling is not only achievable, it has the added benefit of preventing the backlog that leads to her pressure-cooker demand of “needing to talk!” It’s a simple daily ritual with big pay-offs for us both.

Authors: Francine & Byron Pirola.

  >> to see the full article and previous editions click here 

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CathFamily E-news

Motherhood: Living God's Gift
May 2011

By Marilyn Rodrigues

May is the month of Mary and also celebrates Mother's Day. In this edition we give tribute to mothers - both heavenly and earth-bound ones 

I remember the time my class teacher, Mrs Gardner, had each of us write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. She pinned our responses up on the back wall. It was with great excitement that I read the others’ aspirations. 

It felt like looking into a crystal ball, peering at future versions of our nine-year-old selves. We were told and I didn’t doubt that we could do whatever we wanted to do, and the sky was the limit!

At the time I wanted to be a teacher, and there were two of us future ‘teachers’ up on the wall among a motley crew including a doctor, an astronaut and a few football players.

>>print version and archive


God is here: the Eucharist
June 2011
By Marilyn Rodrigues

This month, the feast of Corpus Christi (June 26) gives us an opportunity to reflect anew on the real and living  presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

It was a school morning and I had lost my temper too many times in the rush to get out the door by 8.30. By the time we were walking up to the school gate the children were subdued and I was flustered and upset. 

We made it right on the bell but it just hadn’t been worth getting there on time. I was completely deflated. I wanted to start our days peacefully, not like this, feeling like the day was in ruins before it had hardly got started!

A small band of weekday morning Mass-goers was exiting the church, near the school gate. I watched them, suddenly realising that as they had just received the Eucharist, Jesus was literally passing by me

>>print version and archive


Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
July 2011
By Marilyn Rodrigues

A look at scripture and tradition can take us back to the feast of the sacred heart of Jesus and give our devotion new life 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not nearly as popular today as a couple of generations ago, when almost every Catholic at least knew about the nine first Fridays and the image adorned nearly every Catholic household, church and organisation.

Seen as a relic of the past, an outdated way of being Catholic, to some the first Fridays carry a whiff of superstition and the family enthronement ceremony is virtually unheard of. The image itself can be off-putting to modern tastes, either too gruesome, or overly sentimentalised.

But a look at scripture and tradition can take us back to the heart of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and give our devotion new life.

>>print version and archive

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Mass For Living

Contemporary Musical Resources for Mass, Prayer Groups, Personal Reflection and Retreats.

The 2011 Edition includes settings for the New English Translation as well as the current 2010 Mass settings

Order at

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Conference 2010

Renaissance of Marriage

Marriages Made for Heaven:
Renaissance of Marriage 2010

Miss out on the Renaissance of Marriage Conference? The audio files and handouts of the Keynote speakers such as Ron & Cathy Feher, Gregory & Lisa Popcak and more are available on our website. For more great resources and conference materials, check out LivingWell Media.

For Keynote audio and handouts, click here

For more resources from LivingWell Media, click here


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Renaissance of Marriage Conference Materials

Gregory & Lisa Popcak

Beyond the Brids and the Bees
(Our Sunday Visitor $37.00)

How can you have "the talk" so that your kids will listen?All it takes is a little RESPECT
ealize what they need to know and when they need to know it.
licit their thoughts, attitudes, and feelings.
peak the truth.
resent a positive, Christian attitude towards sex.
xpect to talk about your own struggles when appropriate.
ontrol your temper and the temptation to lecture.
each your children what the gift of the body is really for.

Using these seven principles, parents can help their children become sexually holy! Using humour and timely examples, author Gregory Popcak enables parents to develop their own understanding of the Catholic vision of love, and he provides practical guidance for having age-appropriate discussions about sexual issues with kids, from toddlers to teens.

Holy Sex!
(Crossroad $27.00)

A Catholic guide to toe-curling, mind-blowing, infallible loving

Holy Sex! unveils Christianity's best-kept secret, and does so in an informative, solidly grounded, and delightful way. Want to know your Holy Sex Quotient? Every wondered why Catholics have better sex more often? From a presentation of the Church's actual teachings on sex to The Infallible Lover's Guide to Pleasure to Natural Family Planning to a Q&A section on Overcoming Common Problems, this book truly empowers couples to take their relationship to the next level of fulfillment and soulful satisfaction.

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Dr Damien Price

The Worth of the Ordinary
(Xavier Graphix $10.00)

Damien Price hails from Proserpine in North Queensland. A member of the Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers, Damien has taught in many Edmund Rice schools in Queensland but more recently at St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace. In 'The Worth of the Ordinary'Damien encourages the reader to reflect on the power and the worth of the ordinary people and events of our lives as the times and places where we will meet God and find meaning, hope, joy and peace.

Many of these stories involve what others would see as 'ordinary'. But whether it be in ordinary people such as his parents, Zena and Frank, or the mighty Under 13G Rugby team or the 'ordinary' times and events such as sunrises or hearing aide stealing 'Terriers' like Bailey, Damien reminds the reader of what 'food' these contain for life's journey. Damien is presently the Director of Formation for the Edmund Rice Network in Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand and is based in Melbourne.

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LivingWell Media Favourites

John & Stasi Elderidge

Way of the Wild Heart
(Nelson Books $25.00)

This is a Book About How a Boy - and a Man - Becomes a Man
We live in a time where most men (and boys) are essentially fatherless. Whatever their circumstance, they have no man actually taking them through the many adventures, trials, battles, and experiences they need to shape a masculine heart within them. They find themselves on their own to figure life out, and that is a lonely place to be. Their fears, anger, boredom, and their many addictions all come out of this fatherless place within them, a fundamental uncertainty in the core of their being.

But there is a way: "We aren't meant to figure life out on our own," says John Eldredge. "God wants to father us." In The Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge reveals how God comes to a man and takes him on the masculine journey, how nearly all the events of a man's life can come together to provide the initiation he never received. And how parents can offer that initiation to their sons. Whatever your age may be, your Father is ready to take up your journey. For you are his son.

(Nelson Books $23.00)

Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to be the Beauty of the story. Those desires are far more than child's play. They are the secret to the feminine heart.

And yet - how many women do you know who ever find that life? As the years pass by, the heart of a woman gets pushed aside, wounded and buried. She finds no romance except in novels, no adventure except on television, and she doubts very much that she will ever be the Beauty in any tale.

Most women think they have to settle for a life of efficiency and duty, chores and errands, striving to be the women they "ought" to be but often feeling they have failed. Sadly, too many messages for Christian women add to the pressure. "Do these ten things, and you will be a godly woman." The effect has not been good on the feminine soul.

But her heart is still there. Sometimes when she watches a movie, sometimes in the wee hours of the night, her heart begins to speak again. A thirst rises within her to find the life she was meant to live - the life she dreamed of as a little girl.

The message of Captivating is this: Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman - they are telling you of the life God created you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating.

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Fireproof (DVD)

(Samuel Goldwyn Films & Sherwood Pictures $20.00)

At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules. His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever... rescuing his wife's heart.

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The Marriage Revolution (DVD)

(Dads4Kids $30.00)

The Marriage Revolution DVD, produced by Warwick Marsh, contains almost two hours of never-before-seen-footage of interview with many of the relationship authors and researchers in the world wide marriage movement. Included are bestselling authors such as Dr John Gray, who has sold over 50 million books in the series 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.'

Other well-known authors and therapists include Dr Harville Hendricks, who has appeared in the Oprah Winfrey Show 17 times, Diane Sollee, founder of Smart Marriages, Prof. Bill Doherty, director of the Marriage and Family Program at the University of Minnesota, Prof Howard Markham, co-author of 'Why Marriage Matters' and sex therapist, Esther Perel among many others. Marriage subjects covered include: the power of love, the secret of commitment, the importance of fun, resolving conflict, helping your hormones, marriage and fatherhood, and lots of ideas on how to keep marriage alive in the cut and thrust of everyday life.

This DVD also contains the 28 minute TV documentary, exploring the growing marriage education movement in both the USA and Australia. This documentary also follows the amazing success of the marriage movie, 'Fireproof', the number one independent box office film in the year of its release. The Marriage Movement has emerged from groundbreaking studies conducted over the last three decades that highlight the benefit of marriage to families, individuals and society. Many experts are calling this cultural shift back to marriage, the 'Marriage Revolution'. This DVD chronicles the story of the Marriage Revolution


All of these great materials and more are available for purchase at

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PMRC Relationship Education Foundation

PMRC Foundation

If you found your Celebrate Love or Embrace experience valuable, you may like to consider making a tax deductible donation (Australian donors only) to the PMRC Foundation. In addition to funding new projects which will introduce new audiences to the message of joyful, sacramental love, the Foundation also supports couples unable to afford our programmes. If you'd like to give another couple the gift of Celebrate Love or Embrace, please contact us about making a donation or visit

>> More info     

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What's On 2011

Celebrate Love

Seminar for married couples

cl ausAustralia
 North Albury: Aug 27/28
 Mulgoa: September 10/11
 Five Dock: Oct 22/23
 Newcastle: Oct/Nov TBC
 Parrmatta: Nov 26/27

 Doubleview: Aug 20/21

CL NZNew Zealand

Christchurch: Oct TBC

CL GBGreat Britain

London: Nov

Marriage Preparation

A six session programme for couples preparing to marry in the Catholic Church.

Offered in several formats:

  • Mentoring available anytime.
  • Mentoring by Correspondence (remote areas only).
  • Small Home Groups available in selected areas.
  • Group Intensives (includes self-directed online sessions, one and half day group seminar).
    • Sydney, NSW  
      Sep 10/11 | Oct 22/23
    • Wollongong, NSW TBA


Mentor Training


Offered when there is sufficient demand, this training is open to any Celebrate Love couple and is a great way to refresh and renew your marriage. Those who agree to become Mentors will be provided with all the support materials required to run the course.>> More Info


Help spread the word

We send parishes and schools regular emails requesting that they advertise our seminars and courses in their bulletins. For many schools and parishes, this is not effective as they do not know who we are. It makes a tremendous difference if someone known to the school or parish can make contact with the office and alert the staff to the programmes. If you think you could help by speaking with your parish or school staff, please download a bulletin ad for your region from our Media Resource centre.

Promo Resources available:

  • Posters- CL
    Print from the web here or order from the PMRC office
  • Flyers – CL/ Embrace
    Order from the PMRC office
  • Bulletin Ads – CL/Embrace
    Download from the web here
  • Pulpit talk outline
    Download from the web here
  • Promo DVD – CL
    Download from the web here
  • Promo DVD – Embrace
    Suitable for priests & parish leaders- view here

View the CL promotional DVD (approx. 2 mins, click here to view).

LivingWell Media

Books & Resources
for Catholic Families

A selection of CDs & DVDs are available including Keynote addresses from the Living the Dream Conference, Christopher West and Byron & Francine Pirola.

Gathering Notes

& Other Resources

To access Gathering Notes and other resources to enrich your marriage or support your work in Celebrate Love and Embrace, visit:



Gift Vouchers Available

for Celebrate Love & Embrace

Give those special couples in your life an opportunity to take their relationship to new heights! Visit LivingWell Media to purchase.