An original experience, created by a married couple from Abruzzo, destined to make the treasures accumulated in the course of their married life available to young engaged couples
Presentation of the Promoters of this Experience
Franco D'Alessandro, 71 years old, is an independent professional in the electronics industry, while Lidia D'Alessandro, 66 years old, is a retired literature teacher. They live in Pescara and have been married for forty-five years; for the past thirty-four years, they have been members of the Equipes Notre-Dame. journeying as a team is one of the strengths of their life, which has allowed both of them to live the fullness of their marital relationship with a missionary dynamic—both as leaders of groups of couples and accompanying many young people towards marriage. They have two children and two grandchildren.
"The idea of this project emerged in us ten years ago, with the desire to give to others what we have received and continue receiving as a gift from the Lord in our long love story. In fact, we got married 41 years ago and, for thirty years now, have been walking together with other couples in an international movement of conjugal spirituality, the Equipes Notre-Dame." This is how Franco and Lidia D'Alessandro begin telling the story about their experience of family spirituality, "He and She: Walk Together", a diocesan project of accompaniment for engaged couples that lasts two years and focuses on discerning the vocation to marriage. Launched in 2000, animated by the particular sensitivity of the Equipes Notre-Dame and supported by the diocese of Pescara-Penne, this project was created in response to the concrete request for help addressed to the two spouses by some engaged couples in their parish: "It is important that someone helps us young people to understand what love is and what engagement implies." The response of Mr. and Mrs. D'Alessandro was not long in coming, in fact, shortly after they were approached, the Lord put into their hearts the desire to offer young people the opportunity to live meaningful experiences in a small group led by an experienced couple, as traveling companions and a reference point for the engaged: "This is not limited just to saying things—Franco explained—but implies humbly offering one’s own experience, despite the poverty of one’s own married life. When a Christian couple agrees to accompany young couples on their journey of engagement, it is asked to tell about something that deeply touches its life: for, only by offering oneself is it possible to transmit the gift of the Word of God and of the beauty of a vocation."
In the course of the years, this formula, based on direct testimony, has therefore increasingly been consolidated, thus allowing yearly the formation of about ten groups. The meetings are held on a monthly basis in the homes of the facilitating couples; there, a method alternating theoretical and practical levels is applied at gatherings where everyone contributes: in fact, each engaged couple is at once the addressee of the story of real-life experiences and the active subject of its journey of growth and formation.
The participants also have documentation for study, on which the couples work together during the month, reserving some time to reflect and to write the answers to questions proposed for their consideration. In each group there is also a priest who witnesses to the Good News of the tenderness of God and of the Church for the couples and their love. The path, in addition to monthly meetings, also includes three mini-camps and other retreat days for deepening particular aspects related to Marriage.