Welcome to the Arusi Marriage Retreat. Over the span of over 40 years, the retreat has evolved. As we have grown and developed as a married couple and as marriage ministers, so has the retreat process, which we call "Arusi."
Arusi means “Marriage Celebration” in the African language, Kiswahili. This program is indeed a celebration of marriage. We gather this weekend to:
celebrate the institution and the state of marriage; to lift up marriage and honor it with our deepest respect, reverence and rejoicing;
celebrate the ritual sacrifice, similar to to the celebration of the Eucharist at Mass – a holy sacrifice that gives glory to God;
celebrate the cornerstone of the family and God’s instruments for his genius design for creation;
celebrate the public good of marriage and the public trust to which every married couple is accountable.
Elements of the Arusi Retreat process are derived from our experiences in over forty years of ministry to marriage.
What distinguishes this program from other Catholic marriage enrichment experiences is in its emphasis on community as an important aspect of healthy married life. Strong marriages create strong families which create strong communities. Strong communities support marriage and protect marriage as the cornerstone of family life and essential to the well-being of the community. With God at the center, married couples are beacons of light for each other, their families, and for their communities. Indeed it takes a village to sustain a marriage.
The Arusi Retreat process helps couples explore the many ways they interact with the village to help them last through the highs and lows of married life. “Marriage On A Lampstand”, as the title infers, is inspired by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as told in the Gospel of Matthew in the 5th Chapter, verses 14-16, which says:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, you light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
As sign and symbol of God’s real presence, each married couple carries within them the Light of God, which by virtue of their public witness and declaration of love, by virtue of the public promise they make, is on a lampstand for the benefit of their family, their community, and the world. Pope Francis in Chapter 1 of his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” presents a vision of family through the lens of the Scriptures, because “the Bible is full of families, births, love stories and family crises.” He says “the couple that loves and begets life is a true, living icon capable of revealing God the Creator and Savior.” He quotes Argentina’s famous writer and poet, Jorge Luis Borges, who said, “Every home is a lampstand.”
We assert that every married couple is a lampstand from which God is revealed to others. Our goal on this retreat is to help each of us recognize our own unique purpose in letting the Light of God shine in, through, and for us, for the Glory of God and the coming of the Reign of God.
Retreat Manual - Leader's Guide
Retreat Manual for Couples