Father Nathan likes to give me credit for originating “A Date with Father Nate.” However, looking back to the day it originated, it wasn’t me and it wasn’t Father Nathan. The Holy Spirit was definitely at work.
In February of 2017, I picked up Father Nathan from the airport. The drive gave me a chance to ask questions about evangelizing in the home, specifically in regard to the role of my husband, Wes. Father recommended that we both attend an annual retreat. I had been attending the Maria Stein Mother’s Retreat for the last several years, which is where I met Father Nathan. Wes, however, had not found “his” retreat. We bounced ideas back and forth on different retreats, and finally Father suggested starting a couple’s retreat. We shared ideas and Father joked about calling it Date with Fr. Nate. The seed had been planted.
When I got home, I called my sisters and we got to work on the first Date Night.” Boy, did we have ideas. The first year of planning was full of trials and even tears. Putting a night together from scratch, with so many ideas swirling, was not easy. We came up with three goals for the evening: support marriages & families within the community, support Saint John’s Institute in claiming souls for Christ, and combine faith with fun. We can be joyful and faithful!
We imagined it would be fruitful, but had no idea to what extent. When registration opened, tickets for 100 couples sold out in 10 minutes! After the event, we knew this was not a one-time deal. Father Nathan has a God-given talent for delivering a serious message with humor. On the other hand, my sisters have talents for hosting, organizing, and promoting. None of us could have been successful on our own. It was a match made in heaven – truly.
The results of the evening are quite beautiful. Men are leading. Women are being affirmed and uplifted. Couples are fighting for their relationships. Testimonies are coming back about couples implementing Father’s practical advice. Families are praying and eating together, crucifixes are going up in homes, and fathers are spending one-on-one time with their children. It is creating a culture with Christ at the center.
Now “A Date with Fr. Nate” is spreading from town to town and state to state. What an amazing God. We could never have planned that.