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Here are some frequently asked questions from couples and priests who want to learn more about MHSF.

FAQs for Couples

What is MHSF?

The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in the Family (MHSF) is a Catholic apostolate for married couples focused on the practical application of the New Evangelization in the Domestic Church to build up the culture of marriage and family. 

It is our vision to unify, strengthen, and normalize virtuous marriages that are solidified by orthodox formation, intentional community, and deep encounter with God.

What is the purpose of MHSF?

The primary goal of MHSF is to help married couples grow intentionally together, strengthened by the graces of the Sacrament of Marriage. We provide a transformative environment through orthodox formation & community with other couples that fosters growth and vulnerability in married life through the Holy Spirit.

We create a roadmap for the family and provide the tools needed to create a new normal in marriage and family life for the home, the community, and the culture at large. We take an “up and out” approach through a gradual process of apostolic multiplication unique to each family and specific to each person.

How can I join?

Married couples can join MHSF by entering or starting a local chapter. These chapters include 8-15 couples from your parish or community who come together on a monthly basis to be formed through the same four pillars of seminary formation: human, intellectual, spiritual, and apostolic.

How do I bring MHSF to my parish or community?

There are two simple ways to have MHSF brought to your community or parish:

- Work with us to help start a chapter in your community or parish. Chapters start each January, and include a period of training to start a new chapter and a period of discernment for couples considering joining.

- Share MHSF with your pastor or a priest who may be interested in learning more. Have them reach out to us directly for more details.

What does the commitment involve?

Couples who join MHSF spend two years together meeting monthly and participating in various gatherings, retreats, and small group activities.

Can I join if I’m engaged?

MHSF formation is aimed at those who are already married, so it's not for couples who are engaged. But once you're married, we would love to have you!

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FAQs for Priests

What is the involvement of a priest within the apostolate?

A priest is needed to offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Confession to MHSF couples once monthly.

Is there any benefit to my parish?

By serving families participating in MHSF formation, you are helping build, grow, and establish intentional disciples in your parish.

As you may know, the Latin word ‘seminary’ means greenhouse. A greenhouse provides a place of protection for a seedling. Within the walls of the greenhouse, through proper nourishment, nurturing and light, it grows deep roots and begins to become what it truly is. As it becomes strong, it can be transplanted outside and will be able to withstand the storms of life. MHSF is a seminary for those in the Sacrament of Marriage.

Through human, spiritual, intellectual, and apostolic formation, spouses receive the wisdom and beauty that God has revealed about marriage. Through meaningful relationships with other couples, they realize it is normal to receive God’s plan for marriage and family, and so be fully alive. As St. John Paul II was fond of saying, "Family, become what you are."

What does the process of starting an MHSF chapter look like?

We start MHSF chapters every January, and they meet monthly for 24 sessions. Chapters typically meet at a local parish so that adoration and confession can be offered. Prior to the start of formation in January, there is a training period for leaders and a discernment period for couples considering joining, typically in the fall before a chapter starts.

What is included or needed for an MHSF chapter to begin?

Each chapter includes between 8 and 15 married couples. If more than 15 couples discern into the apostolate, we explore the possibility of creating a second chapter to help foster intimacy, vulnerability, and friendship between couples in each chapter.

There is one ‘facilitating couple’ who communicates with the entire chapter and provides support and information on behalf of MHSF throughout the formation period.

Ideally, at least one priest is available who can offer adoration and confessions monthly. Preferably this priest will be able to be with the couples during the full two years. Obviously, things can change, but we try to plan for that if possible.

Finally, a ‘teacher’ of the content in needed. This could be the priest, someone locally who can speak to the content, or, at a minimum, the video series that we created to deliver the content in the absence of an in-person teacher.

What are other priests saying about MHSF?

“MHSF gives a pastor the space to engage a small group of intentional disciples to build up the families of his parish and initiate them in the ministerial life of the Church. Spending just one night a month, you will give the couples in your parish an excellent way to grow in their faith in God and openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And you will receive so much more in return: new friendships with families in your parish, new disciples for Church ministries, and a bonus dinner and holy hour at the monthly gathering as well! This ministry has given me an amazing opportunity to encounter young families and grow within an intimate group of disciples, and I pray it will give the same opportunity to your parishes.”

Fr. Joseph Wahlmeier

“MHSF has been a massive gift not only for individual couples, but even in my own vocation. It's been exciting and life-giving to see faith grow in my couples and how MHSF has brought spouses even closer to each other, but more importantly desiring more of God. It has restored hope for humanity in my heart and helped me enter deeper into my spousal relationship with my Bride, the Church. Seeing my couples pray with each other, pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament more and desiring to pray with and over each other fills my heart with the pride and joy that a father has of his children. With the MHSF formation already planned out, it's not taxing on the priest's schedule. It's prepped and wrapped up as a gift, but is up to the priest to open and unleash it for himself and his parish!”

Fr. Allan Phan

“I’m happy to see Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in the Family thriving. It gives me comfort knowing that a bunch of young married couples are being formed, and are forming each other, for their lay apostolate. I like that they are learning about baptism in the Holy Spirit and are recognizing this as foundational to new life in Christ. And I like that they are establishing community with one another.”

Fr. Christopher Goodwin

“Participation in MHSF is an incredible opportunity for husbands and wives to grow in their experience of the gift of marriage. We know the sacrament works; the grace is present. But an experience of the power of that grace at work in the everyday life of married couples is a game-changer for family life. The MHSF evenings provide an opportunity for a greater experience of the power of God's grace at work through the Church's teaching on marriage and family, through friendship and a shared experience of assimilating that teaching, and time spent together, as friends and as spouses, in prayer before our Eucharistic Lord. These moments make possible a new openness to, and cooperation with, the powerful grace of God. And, as priests we know, an openness to, and cooperation with, the grace of God has the power to set the world on fire - first in the human heart, then in the home, then in the parish, and then in the world!”

Fr. Jay Buhman

From Co-Founder of MHSF, Father Ben Holdren:


I am a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. I am now stationed at St. Gregory the Great Seminary as the Director of the Propaedeutic Year. I have been a part of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in the Family (MHSF) for the past six years. For the great majority of my time in MHSF, I was serving as the Pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bellwood, Nebraska and Chaplain of David City Aquinas Catholic School. I am writing to highly recommend MHSF to you. It requires a sacrifice of time, but in my experience, I have gained far more than I have given.

MHSF is an apostolate that desires to create an environment where spouses can vulnerably and safely grow in relationship with God, with each other, and with like-minded couples. St. John Paul II said in Familiaris Consortio, “Families, become what you are.” MHSF is deeply grounded in Familiaris Consortio and imparts solid Catholic teaching in the formation of Catholic marriages. Couples discover their identity rooted in the love of God for them, and can then truly live out the vocation God has entrusted to them.

It has been a joy to meet with couples once a month on Friday evenings and pass along the formation. MHSF continues to work to make it easier and easier for a priest to impart the curriculum. Each month there are recommended Catholic teachings on the Sacrament of Marriage, spousal prayer, charisms, etc. from a variety of sources. Accompanying these teachings each month is a video and a section of the workbook. If a priest is pressed for time in preparing, they can press play on the video and afterward go through the discussion questions in the workbook with minimal prep-time. A priest can also look at the information beforehand and use it to tailor a personalized talk on the topic and form their own discussion questions with the couples.

What I have enjoyed most is to see the couples form deep friendships with other like-minded couples, and to enter into deeper friendships with them myself. The couples receive a new awareness that they are not trying to be faithful Catholic spouses and parents on their own, but they are making this journey with many other couples who desire to do the same. It has given me tremendous life in my own priesthood as I am invited in deeper ways into the family life of many of these couples. It’s fun just to share a meal with them once a month as we have lighthearted discussions, and then to be able to be a spiritual father to them through the offering of Adoration and Confession.

I would welcome any questions you have if it would be helpful to reach out to a fellow priest and discuss these things further. Get a hold of me anytime.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Ben Holdren



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