Renaissance of Marriage 2018 2017-12-20T13:14:34+00:00

National Catholic Leadership Conference 

16 – 17 FEBRUARY 2018

SYDNEY  | University of Notre Dame, Broadway Campus

Join the conversation!

The “Renaissance of Marriage Conference is an opportunity to be part of the national dialogue on marriage and relationship education for the Catholic Church in Australia.

Bringing together dedicated leaders, teachers, marriage educators, clergy, counsellors, and parents who are passionate about Catholic marriage and want to be part of promoting the marriage culture.

The 2016 conference was inspired by Pope Francis’ Exhortation Amoris Laetitia with a strong emphasis on initiatives that meet the real needs of Australian Catholic families.

In 2018 we continue to unpack this document with sessions to dive into the heart of those tough topics.

Join us and be inspired and informed by local and world renowned speakers. 


A stellar line up of speakers including…

Dr Gregory Bottaro, Catholic Psych Institute, New York

Christina King, Author & Radio Host, USA

Bishop Eugene Hurley, Darwin

Jonathan Doyle, Choicez Media, Canberra

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Sydney

Dr Gerard O’Shea, JPII Institute Melbourne, UNDA Sydney

Sr Moira Debono, UNDA Sydney

Robert & Alicia Falzon, Men Alive Brisbane

Peter & Susan Holmes, UNDA Sydney

Martin Tobin, Catholic Schools, Hobart

Dr Byron  & Francine Pirola, SmartLoving, Conference Convenors

… and many more

International Keynote

Dr. Bottaro is a clinical psychologist practicing in Connecticut serving the greater New York Metropolitan area and many others through online therapy.   He received his Psy.D. (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology) from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a graduate school in Arlington, VA that integrates Catholic philosophy and theology with sound, empirically validated psychology. Before finishing his degree, he discerned a religious vocation with the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs).  He lived four years in the Bronx, serving the poor in the tradition of St. Francis.  These years were emotionally, spiritually, and professionally formative as Dr. Bottaro tested his vocation and ultimately felt the prompting of God’s will to pursue family life.

Six years after leaving NYC as a friar he returned as a psychologist.  His aim is fundamentally the same – to serve.  Instead of serving those suffering material poverty, he now seeks to serve those with psychological needs. Dr. Bottaro formed the CatholicPsych Institute in 2012 to connect Catholics around the world with therapists trained to integrate the faith with the practice.  There are many different types of psychological needs.  CatholicPsych therapists are trained to provide treatment for the worst types of psychological suffering, as well as provide a therapeutic atmosphere to gain insight into some of life’s basic adjustments and issues.

Byron and Francine are Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre and are recognised leaders in marriage education, with a particular emphasis on understanding its sacramental nature in the Catholic faith.  They have five children and a wealth of down-to-earth practical experience in the daily realities of marriage, relationships, family life and parenting.

Married since 1988, they are founders and directors of the marriage enrichment seminar SmartLoving Marriage (formerly Celebrate Love) which has been operating in Australia since 1990, and more recently in the UK, NZ and Asia. They are also authors of the multi-media marriage preparation course SmartLoving Engaged (formerly Embrace) which is used for Catholic marriage preparation in dioceses across several English speaking countries.

They chair the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, an advisory council of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and  Francine is a former member of the Executive of the Catholic Society for Marriage Education. They are former past Presidents of the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning and have represented the Australian Catholic Bishops at meetings of the Pontifical Council of the Family.  They are regular keynote speakers at Marriage Conferences, both in Australia and overseas.

Speaker Profile
Director of Minnis and Samson and CEO of menALIVE, Robert leads, equips, enables and empowers people to be effective in their lives. He am particularly interested in finding intentional ways for people to be authentic. 

menALIVE teams work in partnership with parishes throughout Australia and New Zealand to run these weekends. The program that has been honed over the past ten years delivers relevant talks and personal testimonies, opportunity for discussion in small groups and, most importantly, it provides the space and environment for men to reflect.

The experience of men gathering together at a menALIVE weekend or event is dynamic and powerful. The result is that for many men, they are inspired, encouraged and feel that they have a new sense of purpose and mission.

Three Power-Packed Streams

Short and focussed IMPACT talk blocks with speakers from each stream will be followed by one hour deep-dive workshops with each of the speakers.


Download the PDF brochure

Register As A Group

This discount is available if you register as a group of 3 or more. 

Price per person

$295 | 250
  • Standard | Concession

Bring your Spouse for +$100!

If you work as a couple, or even if you don’t, we’d love to have your spouse join us!

From the Convenors

The Renaissance of Marriage conference series exists to draw together the nation’s best thinkers and practitioners on marriage formation throughout the life cycle for a feast of stimulating talks and workshops.

Continuing in the tradition of St John Paul, Pope Francis calls us to turn our attention to the practical applications of Theology of the Body. In a world that is fractured by broken relationships and widespread disillusionment, the healing mercy of God is desperately needed.

Join us as we collectively discern and discuss how we, as the people of God and leaders in his Church, can be both the ‘light on the hill’ illuminating the darkness and the ‘field hospital’ tending the wounds of the broken-hearted.

Organised in three streams (Youth/Schools, Engaged/Newlywed, Enrichment/Support), the program features high energy IMPACT talks followed by deep-dive workshops with each speaker. In addition, ROM2018 will also feature dynamic panel dialogues on the tough topics: how can we hold in one hand the vision of our fulfilment and with the other embrace those suffering under the weight of sin?

We are so excited by our line-up of speakers! Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the national dialogue on marriage formation in the Catholic church.

BF Pirola signature

Dr Byron & Francine Pirola
Directors, Marriage Resource Centre

Register Now


  • Professionals in paid positions
  • Registration Pack
  • All meals & Friday drinks

Standard Couple

  • Professionals in paid positions
  • Registration Pack
  • All meals & Friday drinks


  • Religious, Volunteers & Students
  • Registration Pack
  • All meals & Friday drinks

Concession Couple

  • Religious, Volunteers & Students
  • Registration Pack
  • All meals & Friday drinks

Day Registrations available


Australian Catholic Marriage & Family Council

“A renaissance refers to a re-birth, a renewal, or a rediscovery… Perhaps now more than at any time in our history we need a renaissance, a rediscovery and renewal of marriage. In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis has called on the people of God to renew our efforts in the marriage arena, boldly proclaiming our vision and extending the hand of mercy as we accompany each other in the journey towards holiness. The Renaissance of Marriage 2016 conference is a timely response and will be a unique gathering of experts across the nation united in the goal of advancing our understanding of Catholic marriage.  I commend it to marriage educators, clergy, teachers, couples, counsellors, parents and all who engage on the topic of marriage, relationship and sexuality education.”

Bishop Michael Kennedy | Bishop Delegate to the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council

A message from Bishop Peter Comensoli

Thank you for informing me about the Renaissance of Marriage Conference to be held 16-17 February 2018. Having attended previous Conferences in this series, I appreciate their great value and look forward to participating in the next conference.

Because it is increasingly important to present to the young people in our care the life-affirming values of the Catholic faith in the areas of sexuality and relationships, it is particularly pleasing to see that you have included an entire stream of input orientated towards teachers and those involved in the formation of youth. This event will be an ideal professional development opportunity for teachers and Religious Education Coordinators.

As Bishop of Broken Bay, I take this opportunity to extend my support to you for this event. I wish you every success with this endeavour, and I encourage you to approach Catholic Education Offices and School Principals to consider enabling an appropriate delegate from their school to attend.

Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Most Rev Peter A Comensoli