MDS, or Marriage Dialogue Support is a Spanish language marriage ministry which assists all ages couples who are either and a good relationship or may be having marital issues through a weekly support group and weekend retreats. The format of the weekly meeting is centered around a married couple who shares their testimony of God’s grace and healing in their life and marriage followed by questions and discussion. The weekend retreat experience equips couples through prayer, song, and talks on faith and marriage.

HISTORY
Elix and Lucy Castro were preparing for divorce, when they discovered that Puerto Rico required either a secular or religious marriage therapy type program in order for divorce to be granted. So, the Castro’s attended a weekend retreat conducted by the local parish. Following the retreat, they decided to give their marriage a second chance and the healing process began. Following a move to Connecticut and then Florida, the Castro’s wanted to continue receiving the marriage support they experienced in Puerto Rico and so they began MDS in our diocese in 2004. The ministry began to thrive and is now hosts weekly meetings in 15 of our parishes and conducts 7 retreats every year. Extension sites have now begun in the Diocese of Venice, New Mexico and Durango, Mexico.

ORGANIZATION
Deacon Elix and Lucy Castro oversee the ministry with the help of area coordinators who serve for in 2 year increments and assist with the oversite of two parishes. Each parish ministry is led by a parish coordinator who also serves for 2 years and is assisted by a secretary, coordinator, sub coordinator, event planner, and treasurer all of who serve for one year. In order to serve on the core team, members must have completed the Sacraments of Initiation and be in a regularized Catholic marriage, have attended a retreat, and have been active in the ministry for at least six months.

There are normally ten to twenty couples who meet in each of the parishes each week. Child care is provided by parish members who completed their Safe environment and Background check. Service to one’s parish is strongly encouraged and the groups are known to be very active in the sacramental and worship life of their parish as well as in other parish projects.

PARISHES IN WHICH MDS IS PRESENT

St. Joseph, Tampa
Blessed Sacrament, Tampa
Most Holy Redeemer, Tampa
St. Lawrence, Tampa
Our Lady of the Rosary, Land O Lakes
St. Paul, St. Petersburg
Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, Wimauma
St. Francis of Assisi, Seffner
Resurrection, Riverview
St. Clement, Plant City
Saint Anne, Ruskin
Holy Cross, St. Petersburg
St. Rita, Dade City
Incarnation, Tampa
San Diego Mission, Dover

CONTACT INFORMATION