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Anglican converts Marnie and David Watts, from the
Kingswood parish, are one of four Australian regional
couples of the largest lay movement in the Catholic Church
scheduled to have a private audience with Pope Francis in
The married couple of 42 years recently took on the role
as the new regional couple for Teams in South Australia,
Western Australia and Northern Territory in November.
They represent a total 15 teams, including more than 120
men and women and six spiritual counsellors.
Marnie and David will be in Rome for the 2015 Regional
Teams Gathering where leaders of the Catholic married
couples’ movement will join to discuss the issues facing
marriage globally, as well as future directions for the
movement. They will be there with three other Australian
couples and chaplain Monsignor Frank Marriott from
They will also represent Teams and the Adelaide
Archdiocese at the World Meeting of the Families Congress
in Philadelphia from September 26 to 27.
David said the Rome gathering and the audience with
the Pope was a good opportunity to discuss how the
Church could respond and support all marriages and all
families today. “Whilst we might have an idea about what
a marriage or a family should be, there are many people in
the world who do not share that view, so the challenge is
how to make the Church relevant to all people,” he said.
Marnie said one of the greatest challenges facing families
and married couples today, including her own adult
children and their partners, was time, or lack of it.
“Sunday morning Mass used to be an exclusive time for
families to be together and now it is occupied with work,
sport, and family and friends’ commitments,” she said.
“We need to look at how we can be Church and create
opportunities for community for the time-poor modern day
family and couple.”
She said her 28-year involvement in Teams locally had
given her and David precious time together as a married
couple of four children and now as grandparents. “It
is a great support to our lives, our marriage and our
spirituality,” she said. “As a couple this is the one thing
that we do together regularly for each other and for our
Teams is the largest lay movement in the international
Catholic Church and has more than 200,000 members
in more than 70 counties and has continued to grow
worldwide since its inception in France in the late 1930s. It
was introduced to Australia in 1960. It involves groups of
couples and a spiritual counsellor, usually a priest, meeting
in each other’s homes each month for a meal, liturgy and
discussion on anything from relationships, to Church and
David and Marnie were born, baptised, and raised Anglican
and met through their local parish in Unley, where they
were married in 1973. “We were both very involved
Anglicans,” said Marnie.
The couple became involved in the Catholic Church when
their children began school at St Joseph’s Kingswood,
located one block from the family home.
They joined Teams in 1987 and three years later became
Catholics at Kingswood Parish. Last month they celebrated
their 25th year in the Catholic Church.
David has been chairman of the parish council, president
of the local St Vincent de Paul Society conference and is
their current treasurer. Marnie is a member of lay women’s
group Catholic Life Movement, and has run the RCIA
program for the cluster parishes of Goodwood, Kingswood
and Colonel Light Gardens.
They are both liturgy committee members and have been
the southern sector couple for Teams in SA/NT/WA for the
past three years.
Their term as regional couple expires at the end of 2018.
For more information on Teams locally contact
David or Marnie at email@example.com or
phone 8272 9791.
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
TEAM WORK: Kingswood parishioners David and Marnie Watts will meet Pope Francis in Rome in September as
the newest Australian regional couple of Teams for SA/NT and WA.
Married couple’s date with the Pope
With Adelaide experiencing heavy rain
and low temperatures, the city’s growing
homeless population is suffering from
exposure to bitter conditions.
The Order of Malta, a lay Order of the Catholic Church and a
humanitarian aid organisation, has initiated a project to provide
some comfort to those sleeping rough, by distributing their specially
designed “Coats for the Homeless”.
Over the last three years the project has distributed over 560 coats
in South Australia, with a further 300 to be distributed in 2015.
“Our unique coat has been designed in close consultation with
homeless people themselves, to ensure it meets their specific
needs,” said the Order’s Hospitaller, Dr Ian Leitch. “It is three-
quarter length, shower-proof, quilted and warm. Importantly, it is
black so the person wearing it is inconspicuous, after feedback
revealed that one of their major fears is being assaulted”.
The coat provides the warmth of a sleeping bag or swag without
restricting movement. It is free from uncomfortable buttons or zips,
with just elastic and Velcro to offer a comfortable night’s sleep and
ease of wear.
Dr Leitch is urging Australians to support the campaign and buy a
homeless coat. “The issue of homelessness is not going away - in
fact it is getting worse.” he said. “The Hutt St Centre has reported
a significant increase in the number people registering for their
services in the last quarter. There is not enough emergency
accommodation for these people and many of them will end up
sleeping on the streets. A warm coat goes a long way to providing
them some form of warmth and comfort.”
Members of the Order in South Australia are committed to raising
enough money to provide 300 coats for distribution at the Hutt
Street Centre, Adelaide Day Centre and St Vincent de Paul.
“The demand for these Coats is overwhelming” explains Dr Leitch.
“We could easily distribute twice as many. The only issue limiting
the number of coats we are able to distribute is a lack of funds.”
Knights provide assistance to growing homeless population
$100 will buy three specially designed, warm
shower-proof coats for people who find themselves
without a home this winter.
If you would like to support the project, visit www.coatsforthehomeless.org to make a donation
or send a cheque payable to ‘The Order of Malta’ to:
Coats for the Homeless - SA Appeal. The Order of Malta, 33-37 West Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Gifts of $2 and more are tax deductible. The Order of Malta (ABN 37 142 209 121) is a Public Benevolent institution and is endorsed
by the Australian Tax Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient. Licences: SA - CCPI722, WA – 21310
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