What is Witness to Love?

Witness to Love is a virtues-based, Catechumenate model of marriage renewal and preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate an authentic dialogue about their relationship.

What makes Witness to Love different?

What makes Witness to Love unique is that the engaged couple chooses their own mentor couple. This is a couple they both admire and see as a source of faith formation. This mentor couple gives them a concrete connection and integration into the parish. Through the sharing of the mentor couples’ own marriage journey, the engaged couple inherits a “lifeline” of support in their commitment to Jesus and His Church.

Our Mission

To provide local churches with the tools to transform existing programs of marriage preparation into wellsprings of dynamic marriage discipleship that foster both parish connection and nurture authentic accompaniment before and after the wedding day.

Our Difference

The key to Witness to Love is that engaged couples are invited to choose their own mentors. The mentors must meet some basic requirements. The married couple is trained to mentor the engaged couple. Unlike other mentor models there is no need to build trust in order for the marriage prep process to work – the trust already exists. Deep conversions, encounter with Christ, and renewal happen consistently for both the mentors and the engaged couple.

Meet the Founders of Witness to Love

Mary-­Rose and  Ryan Verret are the founders of Witness to Love and the authors of Witness to Love: How to Help the Next Generation Build Marriages that Survive and Thrive.

Mary­-Rose is a featured presenter in the series “Doors of Mercy” released by St. Benedict Press for the Year of Mercy. Together the Verrets speak on issues regarding marriage, mercy, faith, family and fertility. Mary-­Rose has been interviewed by: The National Catholic Register, EWTN, The Catholic World Report, Catholic News Agency, The Gus Lloyd Show, Aleteia, and secular media outlets.

Ryan completed graduate studies in Theology, Clinical Psychology, and Medical Ethics and worked for several years in the field of healthcare administration. Since 2010, Ryan has worked primarily in the development of legislative and educational efforts that develop the Culture of Life both in Louisiana and throughout the United States and Canada.
Together Ryan and Mary-Rose speak on issues regarding evangelization, marriage, NFP, miscarriage and medical ethics. They are frequent guests on EWTN’s Catholic Radio for Acadiana and they reside in the heart of Cajun Country with their four children. Their passion is teaching couples to share their marriage with others!

The Story of Witness to Love

Mary-Rose and Ryan Verret noticed newly married couples were missing in many Catholic parishes. The Verrets began a seven-year process of interviewing over 400 engaged couples through their work at their diocese and later at their parish. During these hundreds of interviews, they realized that even the best marriage conferences, natural family planning classes, and their own parish’s extensive marriage prep course — which included marriage catechesis and mentor couples selected by the pastor — were not sufficient for success. The Verret’s discovered that what was needed was an authentic connection to parish life through the engaged couple’s choice of a mentor couple whom they knew and admired. Trust and existing relationships were missing in the standard marriage-prep mentor format. In creating Witness to Love they made a program that speaks to the everyday struggles and joys of newlyweds, while giving them parish lifelines of connection that last beyond their wedding day.

Why Witness to Love

Allowing engaged couple to choose their own mentors is key to experiencing the depth of Witness to Love. 

In the most recent Synod there was a call for a Marriage Catechumenate to address the reality of isolation and lack of parish involvement that is leading to so many divorces of today’s young couples. Witness to Love addresses this urgent pastoral issue so engaged couples experience the Church not as strangers, but as a committed and life-giving family of faith. Mentors who meet the basic requirements of this model become an essential part of the catechumenate team as the “trusted” means of communicating what must be revealed about marriage through Jesus to the engaged couple. Trust is required to believe that marriage is a means of salvation that should always be indissoluble, unitive, and procreative. It is within the trusted relationship between the mentors and the engaged that the marriage remains strong, is formed from love, is strengthened by good catechesis and is nourished by prayers and a sacramental life. Deep conversations, encounters with Christ, and renewal are available consistently for both the mentors and engaged couple.

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Praise for Witness to Love

We loved being Witness to Love marriage preparation mentors. When we were married, we were only required to attend a one day session. We wish that all couples were given this opportunity. We became closer to the couple than we had even hoped for. They opened up to us so much. The mentoring process was such a blessing because we took the time to revisit important decisions and events that had happened during our twelve years of marriage.

— Jill & John, Witness to Love mentor couple

Witness to Love “reintegrates” the mentor couple as well, not only into the parish, but also into their own marriage. It gives them a set of “fresh” eyes towards their own relationship with each other and with God.

— Deacon David Dawson, Pastoral Associate

A program that is true to its name, Witness to Love is that on many levels because it builds Church at every level. It is a blessing to our Parish, our community and our Church. Let Witness to Love share love in your Parish. You won’t regret it.

— Don & Sharon, Witness to Love mentor couple

The more I do in ministry, including marriage prep, the more I am convinced that in today’s culture real evangelization happens person to person. (…)The Witness to Love mentor couples always express their gratitude for being part of the process. They always comment that it was “very good for their own marriage.” As a pastor, Witness To Love is a no-brainer for this very reason. We get the chance to evangelize, form, and catechize two couples for the price of one! Give Witness To Love a try and you will not regret it.

— Fr. Andrew Merrick, Pastor

I believe we definitely grew as a couple, not only closer to each other, but closer to God and the church.

— Jeremy & Lindsay, Witnesses to Love engaged couple participants

It is with enthusiasm that I recommend Witness to Love’s programs and resources to you. The fruits fostered by this ministry bring about deeper parish connection and authentic accompaniment for engaged and newly married couples.

— Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans

The process was amazing. We didn’t think we had a perfect marriage, but the fact that someone thought the way we lived, prayed, and loved was an inspiration was truly an eye opener for US for what we really had.

— Caprice & Dane, Witness to Love mentor couple

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