Mark and Kate Genovesi have been married thirty-two years and are parents to four grown children: Joseph, Andrew, Rosemary, and Julia. Mark teaches at St. Francis De Sales High School, while Kate is the Assistant Toll Plaza Supervisor for the Ohio Turnpike Commission. They live in Toledo and belong to St. John the Baptist Parish in Point Place.
Here’s their story.
Please share the short story of how you met and began dating.
I was home for the summer from college (Gannon University, Erie, Pa.), and was stocking shelves at the local grocery store in Norwalk. Kate came in to go out with the two young ladies who were working in the cash office (it was a Saturday night…June 7th, 1984). I knew Kate’s older sister Karen (who worked as a cashier at the store). I ended up going out with the three ladies to a local watering hole. Kate and I hit it off immediately. She picked me up the next day and we went to Mass together at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue (so technically our first date was a Mass!). We saw lots of each other each and every day for the next two weeks, and on June 21st, 1984 we got engaged (that’s right…just two weeks after meeting). Our engagement lasted two years so I could finish my B.A. from Gannon, and we were married on June 21, 1986, about 6 weeks after I graduated.
What are some favorite family activities?
The children always enjoyed camping and amusement parks.
Share a time you all really laughed as a family.
We laugh at each other a lot. One time Sam made this ridiculous video of himself asking if we would like to see his nose. He then proceeds to screech and howl holding his nose in piglet fashion. It makes us laugh over and over no matter how many times we view it. We also have had some amazing laughs sharing the 50 LIT Guide icebreaker questions. “One time I laughed the hardest” is a really good one.
Share a “cute kid” story (or two).
Our second son Andrew could never get the hang of calling Kate’s father “grandpa” or something like that. He always called him “Mr. Schlotterer”. And our youngest, Julia, was known throughout the family as “The Screamer” when she was a baby because she could wail loudly enough to break glass (or so it seemed).
Describe a dream family vacation.
All of our children and grandchildren together with Kate and I in Italy to see my relatives and where my grandparents emigrated from in 1924.
What do you love most about being married?
The fact that you have a gift from God in the person you have married, a helpmate to share everything with and care for. What a wonderful treasure it is to be able to have that special someone who makes life worthwhile.
What is your greatest challenge as a married couple and how are you working at it?
Our learning how to handle the changes since I was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Toledo (last September). My life has gotten busier to be sure, and Kate has had to adjust to being a “Deacon’s wife” within our parish, with all of its challenges. We have lost some of the time we formerly had just for ourselves, but the rewards of serving the Church to the best of both of our abilities has certainly been worthwhile.
What do you love most about your family?
How many there are! Kate is the last of 7, and her Dad was one of 16. Kate has 87 first cousins. There are so many nieces, nephews, etc., that it is great when they get together. And then you throw in our 4 children and our 3 3/4 grandchildren (Rosemary’s 1st is due September 1st), and you have quite a crew!
What is your greatest challenge as parents and how are you working at it?
Being what our children need us to be. Fixing the brokenness in ourselves so we can give our children what they need. Not being able to fix all the hurts and learning to let go… and let God take it from here.
Share a time you saw Jesus fulfill a real need in your family?
During Kate’s illness (several years ago). She almost died twice, and it was the strength (grace) given us by God that helped us through those times into Kate’s recovery.
How does your family pray?
As a Permanent Deacon, I am required to pray the office at least twice a day (morning prayer and evening prayer). Kate and I do it together whenever possible; it is enriching and very gratifying to do it as a couple. And, ALL Catholics are encouraged to pray the office every day! Try it, you’ll like it (my apologies to “Mikey” and LIFE cereal)!
How do you measure success as a family, and what help do you need getting there?
Success is enriching your bond with Jesus and your ability to not let the secular world draw you in.
What are you moved to proclaim to other families?
Being a parent is not easy; there is no manual. You HAVE to let God guide you in your decisions regarding your children, especially when they do something contrary to your beliefs or likes. Remember, faith is a CONTACT SPORT…you are expected to get some bumps and bruises along the way. Jesus saved us all but did not promise us smooth sailing throughout our lives. Be prepared for some of those bumps and bruises when dealing with your children as they grow up. Don’t give up, but don’t strangle your children trying to protect them. Let them learn from their mistakes while they are with you; it is WAY better that them having to learn from their mistakes after they leave you (because you are not there to guide them and rein them in!).
How have Mass Impact and LIT Groups impacted your marriage and family life? Why do you think others should get involved?
Mass Impact has been a wonderful addition to our lives (we hosted a group at our home last fall). The growth in faith and love of all of our guests (and Kate and I too) has been a blessing in or lives. Again, try it, you’ll like it! What could be better than getting together on a regular basis with like-minded Catholics and learning/sharing your faith?
We would love to feature your family story!