What therefore God has joined together,
let no man put asunder.

Mark 10:9

“Manna,” which means spiritual nourishment, is rooted in our name MANNA for MARRIAGE. Our ministry looks to help grow, ‘nourish’, and strengthen Catholic marriages. Our goal is to help married couples continue to build their marriages through the foundation of our faith. Through community, speakers, and small groups, we hope this opportunity creates conversation to help proactively grow your relationship. Whether you’re newlywed or have been married for years, we invite and welcome everyone!

In the Pipeline




What is the 7 Great Dates aka the Marriage Course?

It is a series of 7 sessions designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Encompassed with food, talk, and private discussion between the couple only.  Each session features leading experts, teaching content, and stories from around the globe.

Topics for Each Date Night

Date Night 1 – Strengthening Connection

Date Night 2 – The Art of Communication

Date Night 3 – Resolving Conflicts

Date Night 4 – The Power of Forgiveness

Date Night 5 – The Impact of Family

Date Night 6 – Good Sex

Date Night 7 – Love in Action

Why Attend the Marriage Course?

“There’s no counseling, no airing of dirty linen in public, no group therapy – and it seems to work.” -The Guardian

99% of guests said the course had a positive impact on their relationship

73% of guests experienced significant improvement in their relationship from the course

Getting married provides us with one of life’s greatest opportunities and one of its greatest challenges; the opportunity to build the most intimate of relationships and the challenge to learn what it means to love another person and look beyond our own needs.

Attending the Marriage Course offers couples the opportunity to invest in their relationship. They provide the practical tools that will help any couple build a strong marriage no matter how long they’ve been together.

What is the Setting Like?

The setting feels like a date. The first part is spent relaxing with something to eat and drink. This is followed by watching a film about different aspects about marriage, broken up by times of discussion as a couple.

All your conversations are completely private  (You will not be discussing anything with another couple.)

Join the Marriage Course to discover how to love each other better and not just stay together but grow and thrive as a couple.

Who is the Course for?

Whether married for six months or 40 years, whether in a good place or struggling, the course helps couples navigate the modern challenges of marriage.  It is based on Christian principles, but designed to help couples of all faiths strengthen their relationship.

Registration details

Embark on a transformative journey through the ‘7 Great Dates’. Limited spots are open, so we invite you to secure your place by registering now. This incredible experience is priced at $150 per couple (this changes on the registration page if you signed up after it started), offering exceptional value that includes:

  • 7 delectable meals (a true steal for the heart and palate!)
  • A journal for each participant, to be received on the first date night.

Starts Friday April 5th through May 17 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to strengthen your bond and create lasting memories. Register now and set the stage for seven extraordinary evenings that will enrich your relationship.

Although each date night builds upon the previous night, couples are welcome to join at any time. Each date night is also designed to be enjoyed independently from the previous date night.

About childcare

For couples with children aged 1 to 10, we’re delighted to offer childcare for a nominal one-time fee of $50 per family, regardless of the number of children you have. If your little ones are 11 years and older, we welcome their support in assisting with childcare.

The childcare fee covers meals, ranging from mac and cheese to pizza or chicken nuggets (with each night featuring a delightful surprise). For children with specific dietary requirements, kindly provide a packed dinner upon drop-off.

Ensure a worry-free and immersive experience for you both by availing of our convenient childcare option. Make the most of your ‘7 Great Dates’ journey while your kids enjoy a fun-filled time under our watchful care.


"I have seen how The Marriage Course is a beautiful ecumenical resource that helps couples invest afresh in their marriage in a real and practical way for the challenges of modern life." ~Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family

‘We nearly didn’t come… this year has been extremely hard… we came to a brick wall and didn’t know how to get through it. It has totally changed things around. We are going to get our marriage blessed next and have a fresh start.’

‘It was a fantastic atmosphere. Although we were amongst all these people I felt we were on a tropical island just the two of us. It was a great feeling just to spend time together.’

Click here to read what The Guardian says about The Marriage Course; There’s no counseling, no airing of dirty linen in public, no group therapy – and it seems to work.

Click here to read what Zoe Kirby says about The Marriage Course, whose relationship was hanging by a thread prior to going through it.

Pictorial Recap of the 7 Great Dates April – May 2024


Meet the Manna for Marriage Team


Deacon Doug and Amy Mcilvaine were married June 25, 1994. Their marriage is strengthened and fortified by their commitment to a life centered on Christ. They are grateful for the community of faith at Our Lady of Mercy.


Matt and Mary Kubanda got married at Our Lady of Mercy in June of 2022. Faith has been an important part of their relationship since the day they met. They have been active members of OLM since 2019, including starting the young adult grow group, Consuming Fire in 2021. They enjoy spending time outdoors in nature, hiking, traveling, brewing beer, and DIYing around their home. Along with their faith, communication is an essential aspect of their relationship and marriage. Since their wedding, God has shown them the importance of marriages and has called them to minister to other marriages. They are grateful to be on this team serving you through Manna for Marriage.


Katie and Dean Gozum have been married since June 27, 2020. They met at UIUC, where they grew their relationship spiritually at the Newman Center. They are blessed to be parishioners and serving OLM.


John and Zara, inseparable since their marriage on October 17, 1998, are grateful parents to their young adult children Jackson and Savannah who received all their sacraments at Our Lady of Mercy. (They miss them dearly.) Devoted parishioners since 2000, after years of volunteering, Zara now works for OLM as the Director of Evangelization & Communications, channeling her passion into the community they cherish. United by their shared faith in Jesus, they feel blessed to have each other as they embrace this new chapter in their marriage as empty-nesters and continue to chase after their energetic dog in a home filled with love and faith.