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Welcome to Marriages for Mary!

If you are not familiar with our apostolate or are visiting for the first time, please take a moment to listen to our welcome message in the short video here.

Founders of Marriages for Mary

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Gerard & Rita McCarthy

Our Story

Marriages for Mary is an apostolate that sprung forth from a profound and life changing personal experience of the founders, Gerard and Rita McCarthy. Gerard and Rita are originally from small outport communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Both grew up as children of fishermen and stay at home moms, with Rita growing up Protestant and Gerard who was born and raised Roman Catholic. They met in their teenage years, grew up together and fell in love. In March of 1988, this love led them to the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church.


At that time, in NL, the marriage of a Catholic and a Protestant wasn’t looked upon favourably by Catholic families. As a result of Gerard’s family insisting that marriage was only possible in the Catholic Church and their adamant proclamation that none of them would attend if the marriage happened elsewhere, the marriage took place at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Bellevue, NL. This family pressure, which was totally misunderstood, led Rita into years of resenting the Catholic Church and thus fixed in her heart a proclamation of her own, “I will never be Catholic!”


On December 30, 2002, this proclamation crumbled due to, what Gerard and Rita consider to be, a miraculous event in both of their lives. In the midst of a marital breakdown and a pending separation, they both had a deep mystical encounter (through the Rosary) with Jesus and Mary which led them on an entirely different path. In fact, they saw the Light!  Prior to December 30, 2002, their lives and marriage were well grounded in a secular foundation, without faith and trust in God.


Following this encounter with Jesus and Mary, their lives were open to God’s grace, and they welcomed the Church to help them navigate, both spiritually and concretely, through married life. They essentially realized and diligently learned that Marriage was a Divine Plan (and not entirely a human one) and that this plan provided a very specific roadmap to what their hearts were longing for, authentic love! (“Love is to will the good of the other” -St. Thomas Aquinas).


With their united faith and trust in Jesus and Mary, along with their firm conviction that a plan for marriage was established by God Himself, they both set out to live marriage as God intended from the very beginning. The words that Gerard and Rita heard in their hearts on the day after the life-changing December 30 event, "Help Me to bring Marriage back to its original state," became the fundamental mission of Marriages for Mary, and it remains its primary objective to this very day.


Although it was never “their plan” to form an apostolate, they are grateful to God for inspiring this movement and are humbled by all that God has done for them and many others through this apostolate. It is their hope that all couples will truly come to know that Marriage is a vocation to be lived intimately with Jesus and Mary and that they discover the peace and joy that comes when living what God ordained from the very beginning!

The Marriages for Mary Apostolate

Our Mission

That the Sacrament of Marriage will be restored to its original state and fundamentally lived, in ordinary day to day living, as a call to holiness. To help couples to learn and embrace the true purposes of marriage and to live it out concretely in their day to day lives, never losing sight of the hoped destination, heaven. To encourage couples to rely on the sacramental graces given to them from God to empower them to embrace their daily crosses and to not see them as “destructive” crosses but, rather, as opportunities to grow in virtue.

What we do

  • Personal Marriage retreats (for couples in marital breakdown or for couples seeking ongoing formation)

  • Group Marriage retreats (support & enrichment)

  • Marriage Preparation (including ongoing support as needed)

  • Ongoing Marriage formation sessions

  • Ongoing marriage mentoring (couple to couple mentoring)

  • Spiritual guidance & formation (drawing from Church teachings and the lives of the saints)

  • Provide purposeful hospitality, love, and a place to rest

  • “Dinner & A Chat” (formation sessions in a natural setting)

What we do not do

  • Counselling (psychology)

  • Separation/Divorce advice

  • Financial counselling

Formation topics

  • Marriage: A Divine Plan (“God Himself is the author of marriage” CCC1603)

  • The Power of Love (“Love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34)

  • Marriage as a Sacrament

  • The Liturgy of the Marriage Rite

  • Striving to Live the Virtuous Life as One

  • Mystical Oneness & The Marital Embrace

  • The Power of Praying Together

  • A Plan of Life

  • Fraternal Correction

  • Our Mission is Love

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