WHAT IS The DIÁLOGO MATRIMONIAL?
Díalogo Matrimonial is a Hispanic marriage ministry centered on a weekend couple retreat experience and weekly meetings where couples share testimonials for their mutual edification.
Díalogo Matrimonial encourages healthy and balanced marriages and engages couples and their families to participate in the life and liturgy of local parishes and dioceses.
A little bit of our History
MDS has its roots in Saint Peter Parish in Hartford Connecticut, where Deacon Elix and Lucy Castro began organizing retreats for Catholic couples in May of 2000. Originally designed as a follow up to the retreat, support groups started to gather every Wednesday, and MDS —or “Miércoles de Seguimiento” (“Wednesday to Follow-up”)—, was born.
In 2004 Elix and Lucy relocated to the Tampa Bay area, and on October 10, 2004 at the Saint Francis of Assisi Parrish, located in Seffner, Florida, under the guidance of the parish vicar Fr. Rafael Martos, Díalogo Matrimonial - MDS was formally founded in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Since March 2005, when the first “Díalogo Matrimonial” retreat took place in Tampa, more than 80 retreats have been organized, servicing about 2,400 couples, and as of September 2019 around 700 couples are meeting every week in 28 parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg (around Tampa Bay), the Diocese of Venice (southwest Florida), the Diocese of Las Cruces (near El Paso, Texas) and the Dioceses of Durango (in Mexico).
Díalogo Matrimonial offers weekend marriage retreats about 7 times per year for new couples, with follow up weekly group meetings at local parishes. While the retreats are called Díalogo Matrimonial, the optional parish groups are referred as “MDS” —now reading as “Matrimonio, Diálogo y Seguimiento” (“Marriage, Dialogue and Follow-up”.)
Parish groups meet once a week and are coordinated by teams led by leader couples that rotate every two yearS.
The meetings are centered around testimonial presentations by one couple each week, are informed by biblical and Catholic sources, and include Q&A sessions and praying.
Groups offer childcare services during the meetings to enable the participation of all couples.
There is an average of fifteen to thirty couples attending the weekly meetings at each parish. We utilize resources within the church such as priests, nuns, deacons and Catholic psychologists when they are available. In some dioceses monthly educational and faith-based workshops are held for the leadership and parish couple coordinators.
Outside of the regular weekly meetings, MDS groups are called to be an active part of the life and liturgy of each parish providing support to their participating churches.