Saint Gerald

Marriage Formation

St. Gerald's Marriage Formation process is a dynamic process for engaged couples. The overall outcomes desired through this process include:
  • Strengthening relationships, primarily with God, the couple, and the parish community.
  • Review of the FOCCUS inventory to facilitate the conversation with the couple to prepare them for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
  • To provide a mentor couple to the engaged couple to lead them through the Witness to Love process and accompany them through their first year of marriage. This evangelization process is founded upon classical principles of relational virtues.
  • Sacramental preparation and enrichment, the focus creates an environment through the Mentors that draw couples closer together through Christ and to the Parish.
For questions about the Marriage Formation process, please contact Deacon Steve Luna, Marriage Formation Coordinator, at

Mentor Couples

Mike and Alicia Battershell

Click on image to pop up a full sized version of this image. Congratulations to you for answering the call of your vocation to marriage! What an exciting time of anticipation for all the gifts God will provide through you, your spouse, and your family.

Mike and I are both transplants to Omaha and adult converts to the Catholic faith. We met in 2006 shortly after Mike was confirmed. Mike had a son from a previous marriage who was 6 years old at the time. We were married civilly in 2008 while going through the church's annulment process. Our marriage was consecrated in 2011 while I was attending RCIA classes. We now have two more sons and a daughter. Our oldest is currently a student at UNL and the younger three attend Westside public schools. We are active in the church through Eucharistic Adoration, Family Formation, Exodus 90, and now Witness to Love.

We believe we have been called to serve as marriage mentors because we have unique perspectives to offer engaged couples. We bring pains of divorce and anxieties of step-parenting. We can understand hesitance to join the Catholic faith and are able to share the joys and fruits of a deepening relationship with Christ. We enjoy being active in not only personal devotions, but also in various activities within the church family. Additionally, we realize that no marriage is perfect and see marriage mentoring as a way to also strengthen our own vocation of marriage.

Our prayer for you is that you take this time to fully engage in the marriage preparation process. We look forward to being part of this journey with you.

Dan and D'Lynn Buck

Click on image to pop up a full sized version of this image. College best-friends turned sweethearts, Dan and D'Lynn Buck have been married more than 25 years. After meeting at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, they were married in 1993 before moving to Ames, Iowa for graduate school. In 1998, they settled in D'Lynn's hometown of Omaha and joined St. Gerald Parish.

Dan and D'Lynn have raised four children, three boys and a girl, now aging from 27 down to 21. In their free time, they love to visit and laugh with their family and friends - usually over good food and a cold beverage.

The Bucks have been involved in many aspects of parish life... Choir, Men's Club, MOM's, School Advisory Board, Pastoral Council, Cub Scouts, Guardian Angel Dinner, That Man Is You, Knights of Columbus, Eucharistic Adoration, and Alpha.

Dan and D'Lynn are excited to get to know and experience life with engaged couples, sharing both the joys and the gravity of the sacrament of marriage. Congratulations on your engagement and may God bless you both in this time of preparation and anticipation!

Spencer and Erika Choquette

Click on image to pop up a full sized version of this image. Welcome to the beginning of your marriage journey! We are excited for you to be a part of this process and pray that you find great fruit and growth through 'Witness to Love'.

A little about us: We were married on June 28, 2014 after dating for two years. Prior to our courtship, we met at Nebraska Wesleyan University where we both attended college. Since being married we have lived in the Omaha area where we've been parishoners at St. Margaret Mary and currently at St. Gerald. We have two children, and a third on the way (as of this writing). Grayson is our oldest, 4, and Saige, our second, is our angel. She was with us for nine days before going to her eternal rest. Erika works as a nurse at both Children's Orthopedic Clinic and for Essential Pregnancy Services. Spencer is an educator and serves as the principal at Anderson Grove Elementary in Papillion La Vista.

In our spare time we love to spend time outdoors and with our family. We both enjoy sports and were fortunate to play competitively at Nebraska Wesleyan, but we now enjoy the recreation of sports and activities like walking, running, biking, golfing, and going to the lake . We also love spending time with our families. Erika's family is in the Omaha area, where she is originally from, and Spencer's family is in Kansas City and central Nebraska (Minden), where he grew up on his parents farm.

Since being at St. Gerald's we've found ways to be involved with the parish. We attend mass regularly, have been a part of parish wide book studies, and are now a mentor couple for newly engaged (you). Spencer is an active member of the Knights of Columbus and a part of a "That Man is You" bible study group on Saturday mornings. We love our faith and parish community.

Evan and Alexa Pille

Click on image to pop up a full sized version of this image. Evan and Alexa met as freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They got to chatting at a launch party for the university literary magazine. Alexa was a magazine editor, and Evan was one of the published writers. They grew in their friendship and later started dating at the end of freshman year.

They got married after graduation (2018) at St. Thomas Aquinas in Lincoln. Then, in the summer of 2020, they welcomed their daughter, Linnea, into the world. God has always been an important part of their relationship, but they've both pushed each other to grow even more in their faith over the years. Their relationship has improved as a result.

They want to help other couples grow in their faith as well. They love playing tabletop games, video games, and reading.

Brian and Melissa Svoboda

Click on image to pop up a full sized version of this image. What an exciting journey you are on! Congratulations on your engagement and approaching marriage! We are excited to meet you and work together on this sacred vocation of marriage you are entering soon!

A little about us:
Brian was born and raised in Papillion, NE. Brian comes from a large Catholic family and attended Catholic school from kindergarten through 8th grade. Brian then attended Papillion/Lavista High School graduating in 2001. After high school, Brian attended UNL-go HUSKERS! And graduated with a bachelors degree in Political Science.

Melissa was born and raised in Red Oak, IA. Melissa comes from a smaller Catholic sized family and community. After graduating from public school in 2002, Melissa attended UNL and graduated with a bachelors degree in Human Science.

Thanks to God and a mutual friend, we met in 2005 and were immediately drawn to one another and became inseparable. After moving to Omaha in 2007, we became engaged and parishioners of St. Gerald and began our marriage preparation. To this day we both acknowledge and appreciate the experience we had with our marriage prep. While we thought we already knew a lot about God and one another, the marriage prep process made those feelings even deeper and we were more confident than ever that we were preparing ourselves for forever to God and one another. We were married in 2008.

In 2009 we received the shock of our lives...we were expecting...TWINS! Our baby boys were due end of April 2010. Unfortunately, much to our surprise, they were born at 28 weeks, 3 months early. We spent the next 3 months praying for their survival and health and our prayers were answered at the end of April when they got to come home!

Parenting together has been an amazing journey and we both wouldn't want to be on this journey with anyone else. We have had several challenges through the years and together with the help of God, we have always come out on top. We have been through career changes, elementary school, and a pandemic together.

Even after a busy day from a full time job, an evening full of homework, and cub scout meetings; one of our favorite things to do is to sit down together at the end of the day and just talk or take a walk with our new puppy and be in each other's presence. In our spare time we do enjoy trying out new local restaurants, running, biking, fishing and traveling to the Ozarks.

This is your journey and no one else's. Remember at the end of day to laugh and enjoy each other! God bless!

Ray and Paula Szczepaniak

Click on image to pop up a full sized version of this image. Congratulations! You have chosen to be married in the Catholic church in the midst of your parish family. These are exciting days for you, ones filled with planning and building dreams. We rejoice for you and already hold you in prayer.

The two of us met on a blind date and have been married for 32 years. We are parents to five adult children ranging in ages from 22-30 yrs old and are grandparents to one very special grandson! We have many individual interests, but together we love to spend time gardening, taking walks, enjoying evening campfires and spending time with family. Our Siberian Husky is our daily entertainment and constant companion.

We hope you find Witness to Love to be a down-to-earth, yet inspired marriage prep tool. Faith has always been the center of our relationship, but it would have been a real blessing to participate in such a welcoming, easy to use program when we were dating. It can be a challenge to add one more thing during this busy time before your wedding, but a God-centered preparation is important in building a life-long marriage. Enjoy the process! We are very excited for you and look forward to being a part of your journey!