By Nadia Maria Smith

CS&T Staff Writer

NEWTOWN SQUARE — John and Marie Kelly of St. Anastasia Parish in Newtown Square are coordinators for a variety show that seeks to do something out of the ordinary — shore up marriages.

The variety show, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24, at St. Anastasia, is a fundraiser for Living in Love, an outreach program of the Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Center aimed at enriching and building strong Catholic marriages. The slate of performers for the variety show fundraiser include singer Dave Michaels who performs in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and comedian-author Joe Sindoni, among others.

The Kellys first experienced a Living in Love weekend retreat 13 years ago.

“We had two small children and we were feeling the stressors of raising a family and keeping an active career afloat,” recalled John, an orthopedic surgeon at Temple University Hospital.

They sought a “shot in the arm” for their marriage and discovered the Living in Love retreats, said Marie, a registered nurse.

At the retreat, John said, they “discovered that the Church has many tools available for Catholic couples.”

“The content [of Living in Love] was superb and the program was presented by couples committed to their marriage who wanted to see every marriage succeed,” Marie said. “They don’t just give you the tools; they also make themselves available to you throughout your marriage.”

When their children were a little older, the couple decided to mentor engaged couples and serve as board members of Living in Love.

“Both Marie and I feel that Living in Love is helping to heal this nation one marriage at a time,” John said.

Msgr. Philip Cribben, the pastor of St. Anastasia Parish, agrees.

The program has been running at his parish for the past two years and he encourages his parishioners to attend. He also offered the parish hall for the event.

“I’ve been very much impressed with the people involved in Living in Love because they’ve told me it has enhanced their spiritual relationship with God and it had enhanced their marital relationship,” he said. “I can see it does enhance their faith experience in the parish.”

Upcoming Living in Love weekends will take place at St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Feb. 14-15; Old St. Joseph Parish in Philadelphia March 14-15; and at St. Anastasia April 25-26. For more information about the weekend retreat programs, visit the web site

CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at or (215) 965-4614.