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hunt marriage 8232 webBob and Pam Mongillo, left, coordinators of a presentation about marriage by Allen Hunt, vice president for strategy and content for Dynamic Catholic Institute, talk to the day's presenter and to Father Stephen Sledesky, passtor of St. George Parish in Guilford, right, on Sept. 9. (Photo by Mary ChalupskyGUILFORD — Dozens of engaged and married couples from as far away as Canada carved out four hours on Saturday, September 9, to hear three talks about “Passion and Purpose for Marriage” presented by Allen Hunt, vice president for strategy and content for Dynamic Catholic Institute.

Blending information, humor, prayer, personal stories, music and sharing, Hunt held his audience at St. George Parish captive with talks on “Five Things Women Need to Know about Men,” “What Women Want Men to Know” and “The Most Important Word in a Marriage.” Spoiler alert: forgiveness “and her first cousin, grace.”

“This is a valuable experience for me,” said Dan Murphy, parishioner at St. Peter Claver in West Hartford. “There are probably a dozen other things I could have done today, and this wasn’t at the top, but I’m so glad I came.” Echoed his wife Patty, “I have friends in Chicago who told us about him [Hunt], and they were right.”

Hunt said that 50 percent of marriages today end in divorce.

“There comes a point in a relationship when you have to decide: Am I really in it?” he said. “And that usually happens within the first seven years.”

Quoting St. John of the Cross, he said that “God’s purpose is to make your soul great,” and by extension, “to make your marriage great.”

Hunt’s presentation is designed to help husbands and wives learn more about what makes their partner tick and how to love their spouse more meaningfully.

Among the pearls of wisdom, Hunt noted that men are programmed to see their role as “provider.” Consequently, they “need respect more than love”; they need sexual intimacy; and, he explained, they “do love even when they don’t communicate.”

“People respond better to praise than criticism,” he added. “We need respect more than love … someone to tell us they are proud of us.”

Women, in turn, need to feel special, feel listened to and to “let their mate influence them,” Hunt said.

While what he called the “love language” of men is conveyed through affirmations and physical touch, women require quality time and acts of service to be affirmed.

“They need to be listened to,” he said. “They need your undivided attention.”

Drawing laughter, he said that one woman told him that the secret to her long marriage was “I let him have my way,” while another offered that the secret was that “neither of us has died.”

Phil Smith, a member of St. Junipero Serra Parish in South Windsor, said Hunt’s presentation was worthwhile. “It’s very informative, inspiring and to the point. No matter what stage of your marriage, it always helps to attend events like this.” His wife Linda added, “It’s right on.”

Wanda Kavanaugh traveled six hours with her husband from a town north of Buffalo, N.Y., to attend the seminar. “It’s wonderful, very meaningful,” she said. “I’ve listened to several of his [Hunt’s] CD’s and he’s wonderful. It was worth the six-hour drive.”

St. George parishioners Bob and Pam Mongillo coordinated the event. Participants received a gift bag with books including Hunt’s The 21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage and Decision Point, a book for confirmation that Dynamic Catholic hopes to put in the hands of every Catholic at no cost.

“We’re kind of like a Dynamic Catholic Parish,” said Father Stephen Sledesky, pastor of St. George Parish, which has hosted several Dynamic Catholic events.

“His talks are great,” Father Sledesky said about Hunt. “People need to hear about issues married couples face that we don’t often talk about,” he said. “And you can tell by looking at the audience that people are touched by his stories.”

The mission of the U.S.-based Dynamic Catholic, founded by speaker and evangelizer Matthew Kelly, is to “re-energize disengaged Catholics” and thus re-energize the Catholic Church, where only about 7 percent of Catholics contribute 80 percent of funds and hours in parishes today, according to the organization’s web site.

For more information, visit

Hunt also is a regular columnist for Catholic Transcript magazine.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.