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Renew the "I do"  Foundation Copyright 2019

 

Renew the 'I do' is an emerging Foundation that is inspiring marriages to THRIVE in today's culture, guided by research, science and the Holy Spirit.

 

 
Why create a foundation to build a THRIVING marriage culture?

We realize the challenges we face.  Our media and culture promotes and normalizes immorality and broken families that result in loneliness and hurt, which often lead to many other problems. Research shows the best way to strengthen communities is by strengthening marriages.  This makes sense – families are the heart of our community and strong marriages lead to overall health and happiness for the whole family.  Renew the ‘I do’ Foundation was founded on this premise. 

 

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”   ~Pope St. John Paul II

 

A strong marriage provides the foundation each family needs to thrive.  Renew the ‘I do’ offers unique Pittsburgh date nights, marriage preparation weekends, couples mentoring, renewal of vows Masses, and organic married health.  We also gather the latest and most compelling research, studies, articles and videos from partner institutes studying relationships, family and culture, all widely supporting the importance of thriving marriage and teaching effective ways to inspire it through all stages of life.

About the Renew the 'I do' Foundation

meet our team

Father John F. Donahue

Founder

Founder of Renew the 'I do' Foundation is Fr. John F. Donahue, Administrator of Good Samaritan, St. John the Baptist, Saints John and Paul and Our Lady of Peace Grouping . Fr. Donahue’s love for marriage and family life began at the feet of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Donahue, where he witnessed the vocation of marriage daily.  

 

As a native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Central Catholic High School, Fr. John “Jay” Donahue is well-loved in our city, not only by his many relatives living locally, but also by the many friends that he has made along the way, cheering on marriage.

 

After high school, Fr. Jay went on to study at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. He then spent a year with the Legionaries of Christ Classical Humanities in Cheshire, CT. After much discernment, he went on to study Philosophy at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy where he earned a Master’s Degree in Philosophy in 2003.  

 

In 1993 he became a Novitiate in the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire CT. From 1998-2001 he was an Apostolic Practices legionaries of Christ in Mexico City, and Washington DC.  From 2003-2006 he served in General Directorate with youth and family life of the international work of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. March 10th, 1998 he made his Perpetual Profession to the Legionaries of Christ Seminary in Rome, Italy. December 23rd, 2006 he was ordained by Cardinal Franc Rode in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, Italy.  June of 2015 Fr. John F. Donahue was officially incardinated into the Diocese of Pittsburgh and named Pastor of Saints Simon & Jude Parish and chaplain of Bishop Canevin High School.

Fr. Donahue’s life and ministry is guided by his personal statement:

He Leadeth Me! My goal in life is to let the love of the Lord lead me. My family and friends and my vocation to the priesthood are the greatest gifts I have received. I hope that each day is opportunity to spread the love of Christ in all that I do.”

 

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Arlene is a 15-year parishioner at St. Mary’s of the Assumption in Glenshaw, where she met Fr. Jay. Together, they created the first Renew the 'I do’ event hosting 50 married couples to renew their vows in a grand celebration. It was a moving milestone event for the parish and a spark that started this foundation.

 

Arlene met her husband Bill of 18 years at a Ringling Bros. Circus performance in Dallas, TX when she was a young promoter and he attended the show with some friends she had provided tickets for.  They began dating shortly thereafter and were married two years later in New York City where Arlene was working with the Radio City Rockettes.  Their son Luke (15) was born in Chicago and they also lived in Philly with Bill working in the steel industry and Arlene continuing her Marketing career. Pittsburgh became home quickly and their second child, Kathleen (11) was born.  They continue to laugh together at their own fun-filled family circus, happy here in Pittsburgh for 14 years.

 

Arlene is a 24-year veteran of the Entertainment Industry, has created and implemented successful marketing campaigns for top selling live family entertainment productions across the country. As Vice President of Marketing, for Madison Square Garden Entertainment Touring productions and Feld Entertainment, Arlene has lead sales and marketing teams for US productions of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and Walt Disney’s World on Ice, in over 100 cities.

Arlene is a native of northeastern PA and a graduate of Lehigh University. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Economics with a concentration in Marketing and Psychology.

Ashley Dillon

Program Director

Ashley (Miller) Dillon, has spent most of her life interested in marriage and family. Newly married to PJ Dillon and the oldest of seven children to Timothy and Christine Miller of the North Hills, Ashley has been inspired and supported by her family to follow this passion. The lessons she learned in her home growing up have only encouraged her in the work of Renew the 'I do' Foundation.

 

Ashley earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville, majoring in Mental Health and Human Services, with a minor in Theology. After spending time in business and retail as an Operational Manager, she began following her passion and interest in family life, working as the Service Coordinator for St. Mary of the Assumption in Glenshaw, PA. Ongoing professional development is important to Ashley, and she has earned a variety of certifications in areas such as Leadership Development with Jeff Arnold, Theology of the Body Immersion and Into the Deep Courses with Christopher West, Catholic Sexual Ethics Course with John M. Haas, PH.D. and Catholic’s Guide to Divorce with Rose Sweet.

Engaging with people of all ages, especially young people remains important to Ashley. The summer of 2014, Ashley led a group of high school and college students on a mission trip to Jamaica. Since then Ashley has worked to help led various types of young adult retreats. 

Renew the 'I do' began as a dream and went through major transitions to become the foundation that it is today, and Ashley was part of it from the beginning. No stranger to transitions, having moved over ten times, including a period of studying abroad in Europe and visiting 9 countries and cultures, Ashley is excited to see how Renew the 'I do' Foundation grows and she feels truly blessed to be working with the members of this great organization.

Drew Martier

Event & Partnership Director

Drew has been the life of the party for over three decades. He has been performing and promoting events throughout the region since 1987.  Drew is a cantor at St Mary of the Assumption in Glenshaw and as part of the music ministry he has found his unique way to honor and praise God with his talent. Drew finds great reward in welcoming married couples to Renew the ‘I do’.  His warm and inviting personality makes each event a positive experience for every participant. As a husband and father of three, he understands how precious the time that a couple spends together to reaffirm their commitment to each other is. That is why each Renew the ‘I do’ event is planned with faith, fulfillment and fun.

Dolores Shipe

Director of Married Life

Dolores is excited to be a part of the Renew the 'I do' team, working with great people who are passionate about marriage!  For over 18 years, Dolores has been working in marriage ministry, with engaged and married couples. She feels so blessed to encounter people, learn their story, and share her love for her Catholic faith, marriage and family – and how it is all connected. 

Dolores and her husband, Mike will celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary on December 28.  Together, with their four sons, Peter, John, Phil, and Danny (and a dog named Gus), family life is always an adventure. Life is full of faith, love, surprises, struggles, great times (and some not so great times), but there is always JOY!  Recognizing God in our everyday lives is essential to the joy we find in our marriages and families.    

After earning a bachelor’s degree in education, with dual certification in Elementary and Spanish, Dolores taught Kindergarten and 7th/8th grade Spanish at Assumption School in Bellevue.  When they were expecting their first son, Mike and Dolores saw an ad in the Pittsburgh Catholic seeking couples to be trained to teach the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning. They had been praying for an opportunity to serve the church together and this was an answer to prayer! 

Shortly after their training, Dolores began working with the Pittsburgh Diocesan Pre-Marriage program and Natural Family Planning ministry. Dolores and Mike speak on various topics pertaining to marriage to both married and engaged couples. Dolores currently teaches the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning and is a member of the Diocesan NFP Advisory Board.

Dolores worked at St. Raphael parish in Morningside as the Director of Marriage and Family. There, she helped to prepare engaged couples for marriage, organized Date Night’s for married couples, met with families to plan the liturgy after they lost a loved one, facilitated a group for those who are separated or divorced, and directed the Vacation Bible School. 

This past year, Dolores served as the Pastoral Associate for the City Center Parishes. Among other duties, she worked with engaged couples, guiding them as they prepared to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Sylvia Gaudelli

Office Manager

Sylvia and her husband of 10 years, Ron, have been going to Renew the 'I do' events for years. They have 5 children and know how important date nights are. They are very passionate about the organization, so when the opportunity arose to be part of the Renew the 'I do' team, Sylvia, guided by the Holy Spirit, was excited to accept the job as Office Manager. She has over 16 years of experience, including in a Military Hospital in Colorado. Sylvia was born and raised in Germany and moved to the States in 1993. Pittsburgh became home in 2009. God is the center of their lives and Sylvia feels truly blessed to be working for a catholic organization that supports marriages.

Fr. Adam Potter

Spiritual Advisor

Fr. Adam Potter grew up in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with his parents and five younger siblings.  After his high school graduation in 2006, he attended Penn State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Math in 2010. After graduation, he entered the seminary for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. After earning a Master's degree in Philosophy from Duquesne University, Bishop Zubik sent Fr. Adam to Rome for his theology studies, where he received his Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University and his License in Studies on Marriage and Family from the John Paul II Institute. Fr. Adam was ordained a priest on June 25, 2016 at St. Paul Cathedral by Bishop Zubik. He is now the Parochial Vicar at St. Paul Cathedral, St. Regis, St. Rosalia, and St. Stephen Parishes.

Shortly after beginning parish ministry, he was approached by Fr. Jay and after several long brainstorming sessions about how to transform the marriage culture, he was asked about putting his Marriage and Family degree to work by helping out with Renew the 'I Do'. It seems to have been a perfect answer to prayer on both parts!

Since the Fall of 2018, Father Adam Potter has been the Spiritual Advisor for RTID. In particular, he is leading the Marriage Mentoring Program and assisting with the Joy-filled Marriage Preparation Program.

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Father Jay, inspired by the Catholic marriage of his own parents and grandparents, founded Renew the 'I do' in 2014.

 
contact us

Renew the 'I do'

The Pitt Building

213 Smithfield St

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

email: info@renewtheido.org

number: 412-436-0088

 
 
get involved today!
Help build and renew marriage culture in our community. 

 

  • Become a Marriage Sponsor- Befriend an engaged couple throughout their marriage preparation journey.  Keep couples on track in their steps to their wedding day.  Guide and pray for them. We will pair you with a great couple! 

  • Host a Joy-Filled Marriage Prep Weekend- a lively, insightful and resourceful preparation experience at your parish. Contact Ashley Dillon to learn more about the Joy-Filled Marriage Program and booking a weekend at your parish.

  • Host a Renewal of Vows Mass at your parish- Bring one of the most meaningful and special ways to celebrate and renew the marriages in your parish community in 4 easy steps. 

 

  • Become a Parish Ambassador for Renew the ‘I do’-

  • Plan creative date nights out for your parish couples.

  • Introduce and help run Father Jay’s ‘Five Step Marriage Preparation Program’ in your parish.

  • Plan a spring ‘Renewal of Vows’ Mass at your parish

  • Host Small Group Couples Dinners

    If you would like to learn more or bring any of these programs to your parish please contact Ashley Dillon, Program Director at ashley@renewtheido.org

for more information. 

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Renew The I do' Foundation is organized as a non-profit entity under the laws of the State of Delaware.  By letter of the Internal Revenue Service dated January 16, 2015, it is granted Private Operating Foundation status.