about Together in Holiness

Where Spouses Discover God’s Plan for Their Family
"As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live. Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. The Future starts today not tomorrow." –St. John Paul II
Together in Holiness is a marriage conference series for dioceses inspiring spouses to grow together in holiness and empowering parents to form their children in the Catholic faith.
  • Powerful presentations from national and local speakers
  • Quiet time together, Mass, Reconciliation, Eucharistic Adoration
  • Practical ideas and insights for spouses and parents
To learn more about Together in Holiness, click here.
  • Online registration closed on Thursday, September 27 at 12:00 pm (noon) PT.
  • On-site registration will be available for adult conference walk-ups and
  • children ages 5-12yrs at Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Center
  • (1040 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont) on Saturday, September 29 . 
    • 8:00AM - On-Site Registration Begins
    • 8:45AM - Words of Welcome


  • *General pricing began on Tuesday, August 21. 
  • Couple: $59
  • Individual: $35
  • Childcare is still available for ages 5-12 yrs. Please email [email protected] for questions.
  • Scholarships for couples or individuals are available. Please email [email protected] for scholarship inquiries.
  • A box lunch is included for each adult registrant. Parents are responsible for packing a lunch for their child(ren) who are in childcare.


  • Ministry Registration: $85 (includes registration for 2 people & 1 table)
  • Vendor Registration: $150 (includes registration for 2 people & 1 table)
  • *Pre-approval for exhibitor booths is required. Please email [email protected] for more information.

Refund Information: 
  • *If you are no longer able to attend the conference, after purchasing your ticket, you may choose to transfer your registration fees to a scholarship couple in need, or request a refund.
  • All refunds must be requested 2 weeks prior to the conference. The last day to request a refund is Friday, September 14. All refund requests made on or after September 15 will not be accepted, but the funds will automatically be transferred to a scholarship couple in need. Please email [email protected] to transfer your registration or request a refund.


8:00 AM
  • Conference Check-In
  • Childcare Check-In
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation (8:00 – 8:45am)
  • Light Breakfast
  • Exhibitor Booths - available throughout conference
9:00-9:15 AM
Words of Welcome
9:15- 10:15 AM
  • “Learning to Pray Together as Spouses: Three Simple Steps”
  • Christopher J. Stravitsch, D.Min., LPC, LMFT, Co-founder, St. John Paul II Foundation
  • Saint John Paul II taught that families have a “priestly mission” which includes living a life of prayer together in the home—husband and wife together, parents and children together. Yet, most spouses do not pray outside of the Mass and would likely say they do not know how. In this presentation, Dr. Chris Stravitsch will share three simple steps couples can follow to begin or to deepen their prayer life together.
10:30-11:30 AM
  • Mass
  • Celebrant & Homilist: Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco
11:40-12:40 PM
  • "Prayer as the Basis of Family Unity"
  • Rev. Joseph Illo, Pastor, Star of the Sea Catholic Church
  • All spouses want a peaceful home where they can flourish and, if they are blessed with children, where their children can grow and flourish. But when so much of life is noisy and disruptive, how can spouses build such a home? In this talk, Father Illo draws on his 27 years of experience as a parish priest to share his insights on the interior life, as well as the relationship between one’s personal prayer life and the prayer life of the family. In humorous and challenging stories, you will learn some practical insights and ideas for making your home a true refuge, one that is welcoming to family and friends.
12:40-2:10 PM
  • Break for Lunch & Prayer
  • Box Lunch Pick-Up (lunch is included for conference registrants)
    • Lunch is not provided for children in childcare. Parents are responsible for bringing a lunch for their child(ren).
    • Sacrament of Reconciliation (1:00 – 2:00 pm)
    • Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm)
    • Benediction (1:45 pm)
    • Exhibitor Booths – available throughout conference
2:20-3:20 PM 
  • "Discovering the Domestic Church"
  • Dr. John and Mrs. Claire Grabowski
  • Saint John Paul II called the Christian family a miniature church. The good news is that we don't have to do anything to become this. It is a gift of grace. The challenge is learning to live it--to be who we are--especially on days when we don't feel very priestly, prophetic, and kingly. Drawing on their experience of family ministry and as Catholic spouses, parents, and grandparents, John and Claire Grabowski explore practical ways to make this beautiful vision which the Church has of family more of a reality in daily life and experience.
3:15-3:30 PM
Closing Comments & Sending Forth


Archbishop of San Francisco

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was born in San Diego on June 5, 1956. He attended public school through 12th grade and earned his BA in philosophy from the University of San Diego in 1978.  He earned a second bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1981.  Archbishop Cordileone was ordained to the priesthood on July 9, 1982.  He continued his studies at Gregorian University from 1985-89, earning a doctorate in canon law.   He was appointed Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of San Diego in 1990 and served as an assistant to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura from 1995-2002.  On July 5, 2002, Pope John Paul II appointed him the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, where he served until his appointment as Bishop of Oakland on March 23, 2009. On July 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the ninth Archbishop of San Francisco.  He was installed on October 4, 2012.   Archbishop Cordileone chairs the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and sits on the Committee for Canonical Affairs.  He is a member of the Governing Board of the International Theological Institute and the Subcommission on the Liturgy for the Anglican Ordinariates.

Chairman of the Board, St. John Paul II Foundation

Dr. Chris Stravitsch is Co-founder of the St. John Paul II Foundation and Chairman of the Board. He has a passion for creating new ministries that meet today's most pressing needs, especially the pastoral needs of couples and families. Dr. Stravitsch earned a Doctor of Ministry from The Catholic University of America, Washington DC, where he focused his research on the spiritual formation of spouses and families. He earned a dual degree in Pastoral Counseling from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, which consisted of an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy and M.A. in Pastoral Ministry, and he earned a B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Stravitsch is the President and Founder of Rejoice Counseling Apostolate, an apostolate which serves parishes by providing onsite Catholic counseling services. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Dr. Stravitsch and his wife, Sarah, reside in Katy, Texas, with their five children.


Married for 39 years, John and Claire Grabowski have 5 children and 12 grandchildren.  They have done pre-Cana marriage ministry together for over 30 years, post-Cana ministry for 10 years, and served as a member couple from the United States on the Pontifical Council for the Family after their appointment by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.  Together they are the authors of the commentary on the anniversary edition of Familiaris Consortio (Boston: Pauline, 2015), One Body: A Program of Marriage Formation for the New Evangelization. (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Press, 2018), and Raising Catholic Kids for their Vocations (Charlotte, NC:  TAN Books, 2019).  They have spoken together to groups of laity, priests, and bishops across the United States and abroad. They have also appeared together on EWTN television and Relevant Radio programs.   Claire has been a Catholic educator, stay at home mother, in-home childcare provider, financial administrative assistant, and care-giver and companion to the elderly.  She has been a mentor to women and couples and has been active in a variety of lay ministries for many years.   John has taught moral theology at The Catholic University of America for the last 33 years.  He has three times been appointed as a theological consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  In 2015 he was appointed by Pope Francis to serve as an expert (adiutor) at the Synod of Bishops on the Family.  His books include A Catechism for Family Life: Insights from Catholic Teaching on Love, Marriage, Sex, and Parenting, edited with Sarah Bartel  (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2018).  He also wrote the Foreword to the 1997 English edition of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (Boston: Pauline, 1997).

Pastor, Star of the Sea Catholic Church

Fr. Joseph Illo was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1961.  He received a B.A. in English Literature from the Pennsylvania State University in 1983, worked at Ignatius Press in San Francisco and then studied at Blackfriars Studium, Oxford (England) before completing a philosophy degree at the Dominican University of St. Thomas (“the Angelicum”) in Rome. He received an M.A. in theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Stockton, CA, in 1991.   He has served in four parishes, one term as vocations director, and two years as chaplain at Thomas Aquinas College in Southern California. He is currently pastor at Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco. He has worked with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity for fifteen years, giving retreats and seminars to them around the world. He belongs to two priestly fraternities, the St. John Fisher Society, and the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests of Mother Teresa, of which he serves as North American Counselor.   Fr. Illo enjoys all outdoor sports, especially backpacking, skiing, cycling, kayaking, and snow camping.  He especially treasures his brother priests, and all the good people from the assignments in which he has served.



Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

1040 Alameda de Las Pulgas
Belmont, CA 94002

For More Information:
Susie Lopez, Conference Coordinator
[email protected]





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