“Breathe” – Catholic marriage enrichment conference offers couples time to focus on their relationship

Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Brett and Andrea Powell, Gerald and Denise Montpetit, and Leah Perrault were speakers at the Breathe Catholic marriage conference held Sept 13 and 14 in Saskatoon. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Married couples gathered Sept. 13 and 14 for a time of enrichment and inspiration at a conference presented by Cat.Chat Productions of Bruno, SK and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

Some 170 attended the event at the Saskatoon Inn, held on a Friday evening and all day Saturday, featuring talks, celebration of Mass with Bishop Mark Hagemoen, a panel discussion and opportunities for one-to-one reflection by couples, as well as confessions and prayer ministry.

Speakers at the Catholic marriage enrichment conference were Denise and Gerald Montpetit of Cat.Chat (a production company based in Bruno that produces a variety of faith-based materials for children and families); Andrea and Brett Powell of the Archdiocese of Vancouver; and author and retreat facilitator Leah Perrault of Saskatoon.

Titles of sessions over the two days spelled out the word “BREATHE” — which was the theme of the conference:

  • Building unity – Gerald and Denise Montpetit
  • Rediscover joy – Gerald and Denise Montpetit, Brett and Andrea Powell
  • Experience peace – Gerald and Denise Montpetit
  • Ask for advice – Panel discussion with all the speakers
  • Transform your love: navigating sex in marriage – Leah Perrault
  • Hope for husbands, Hope for wives – breakout sessions for men and women
  • Encounter Christ – Brett and Andrea Powell

“We have received a lot of great feedback from the couples who attended,” said Reanne Powell, one of the conference organizers.

Some of the highlights mentioned by participants included:

  • The practical, hands-on advice provided by the speakers
  • The variety of topics and presenters
  • The opportunity to be one-on-one as a couple
  • Bishop Mark’s presence during the whole conference and his homily during Mass: “a real witness to him being a true shepherd for his flock.”
  • A wonderful venue for couples to step away from the busyness of life and really enter into the conference.

Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski:

Gerald and Denise Montpetit presented the opening session at Breathe. Growing up on neighbouring acreages in Alberta, they recently celebrated 26 years of marriage. They have five children and are founders and directors of Cat.Chat Productions, a Catholic ministry for kids and families.


Andrea and Brett Powell participate in a marriage conference reflection: they were also featured speakers at Breathe. Andrea and Brett grew up in Saskatoon, but now live in Coquitlam, BC. They have been dating, engaged and married for 31 years and have eight children. Brett and Andrea served as missionaries with CCO for 18 years. Andrea is a part-time elementary school teacher and Brett serves as the Archbishop’s Delegate for Development and Ministries in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.


Leah Perrault of Saskatoon also spoke at the Breathe conference. Leah and her husband Marc have four children. She is Director of Mission at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, and a sought-after speaker, author and columnist. Her books are How Far Can We Go? A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating, Theology of the Body for Every Body, and My Heart of Flesh



Photos submitted by Bishop Mark Hagemoen:



Bishop Mark Hagemoen gives the homily at Mass celebrated at the Saskatoon Inn on Sept. 14 (the Memorial of the Exaltation of the Cross) during the Breathe Catholic marriage conference (submitted photo).