The Willwoods Community is a Catholic Nonprofit located in the archchdiocese of New Orleans. Willwoods was established in 1978 by a group of married couples desiring to support the Catholic Church and the community through prayers and service. Since then, Willwoods Community has grown to serve in different areas, including Faith and Marriage, Affordable Housing, WLAE-TV, and TheDailyMass.com

The Willwoods Community Faith and Marriage apostolate is dedicated to promoting the Sacramentality of marriage and providing for married couples opportunities of growth, enrichment, and support.

Our Mission

Our goal is to awaken married couples to their responsibility to continually grow in their sacramental relationship with God, with one another and the community of God’s people; and, to initiate such activities to empower them to fulfill their call to love.Our goal is to awaken married couples to their responsibility to continually grow in their sacramental relationship with God, with one another and the community of God’s people; and, to initiate such activities to empower them to fulfill their call to love.

Advisory Board

Jason & Elise Angelette were married in 2002 and have five beautiful children. Jason and Elise are the Co-Directors for the Faith & Marriage Ministry of the Willwoods Community.

Jason received a Masters in Theological Studies from the Pope John Paul II Institute on Studies of Marriage and Family at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.. His ministry experience includes high school campus ministry, teaching theology at the high school and college level, working on and speaking at various retreats and events nationwide swell as co-host a weekly television program on WLAE entitled Issues & Faith for 8 years.

Elise graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. She then taught Drama and Kindergarten in Covington, La, followed by a First Grade teacher position in Alexandria, VA. Elise has been involved in music ministry, as well as retreat leadership and speaking ministry for both teens and young adults with Dumbox Ministries.

Chris & Christine Baglow were married in 1995. They are the proud parents of three beautiful children: Margaret, John and Peter George. They live in Covington and are parishioners of St. Peter Parish. Chris is a theology professor at Notre Dame Seminary and has recently published a text book entitled: Faith, Science & Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge. He is a popular Catholic lecturer whose ministry takes him all over the Archdiocese of New Orleans and around the United States. Christine is a homeschooling mom, crafter, church volunteer, presenter and Little Flowers Girls Club leader. She is on the board of directors for the Old Mandeville Jane Austen Festival and is an avid reader.

The Baglow’s marriage is founded on mutual respect and devotion to one another and to Jesus Christ and His Church. The evangelization, education and spiritual formation of Catholic laity – children and adults – are priorities for the Baglows. They met and became friends as young adults working side-by-side in youth ministry. Over the years, their mission has grown to include various ministries such as the Willwood’s Faith & Marriage Board, chastity education, Theology of the Body, Pro-LIFE work, virtue formation for girls, seminary education and much more. But, their primary mission remains to one another and to their children.

Chris and Christine are proud, die-hard Saints fans – both those in heaven and on the field!

Deacon Mark & Judeyanne Coudrain have been married for 26 years and are blessed with three wonderful daughters. Judeyanne is an Occupational Therapist with the St. Tammany Parish School System. Mark was employed with the Willwoods Community for 22 years at WLAE TV before recently taking positions with Archbishop Hannan at his FOCUS ministry and St. Joseph Abbey starting a new woodworking venture, St. Joseph Woodworks.

After attending an Engaged Encounter weekend as an engaged couple, Mark and Judeyanne became involved in that ministry for many years after they were married. Also, they have been involved in Evenings for the Engaged in their home. In June of 2006 Mark was ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Arthur & Shirley Dupre have been married 33 years and are the parents of 11 children and 10 grandchildren. They are active in their parish community, St. Christopher the Martyr, through various church and school ministries. They are integrally involved in the Willwoods Faith and Marriage ministry speaking and providing presentations on married couples retreats.

Also, Arthur and Shirley have been preparing engaged couples for marriage for the last 10 years in the one on one couple to couple program “Evenings for the Engaged.” They reside in the New Orleans area where Arthur has been practicing law for over 30 years.

Eric & Lisa Johnsen have been married for 35 years and are blessed with 4 children and 9 grandchildren. They are both active in their parish community with teaching the Confirmation class for the teens and running the RCIA classes for the adults. They are involved in the Willwoods Faith and Marriage Apostolate both as presenters and being a prayer couple. They are also ambassadors for the Blessed Seelos canonization cause and use the Seelos cross to bless and pray for those who request it. The cross is at all Marriage retreats that they attend. They do marriage prep in their parish and volunteer as the registration couple for the local Engaged Encounter program.

Lisa is the Director of Religious Education for St. Benedict’s Parish in Covington, LA and Eric is a Systems Analyst for a computer firm in Metairie, LA. They both are passionate about marriage and enjoy working with couples on retreats and in their parish.

Willie & Aly Leonard have been helping to prepare engaged couples for marriage over the last sixteen years. At the present, Willie and Aly help with the Willwoods Married Couple’s retreats in the areas of prayer ministry, sharing their marriage journey, and giving presentations. They have two grown children and have been married for over 22 years.

Aly Leonard has been trained and certified to do spiritual direction under Ignatian spirituality. She is presently spiritually directing women. In addition to this ministry, she and her husband Willie have helped prepare engaged couples for marriage over the last sixteen years. At the present, She is the mother of two grown children. She continues her in-home ministry of taking care of infants.

Willie Leonard has a master’s degree in theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He has taught religion to pre-k, kindergarten, first, second, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and twelfth grades over the last twenty-five years. He has been campus minister and been involved with high school retreats over the last sixteen years. He is presently one of the senior and freshmen level theology teachers at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, LA.

Paul & Kat Metzler are committed adorers, act as a mentor couple for the Evenings for the Engaged, and are a speaker couple for the Supper and Substance program and Willwoods marriage retreats.

Kathy Metzler was born in New Orleans in 1955. Kat became a Catholic in 1980. She received a degree in geology from UNO, and after graduation, took on a full-time job as the mother of two children. She is very active in the St. Dominic parish and school, has served as a board member for St. Michael’s Special School, and is currently a group leader in Lord Teach Me To Pray program.

Paul Metzler was born in New Jersey in 1954, along with his identical twin. Paul received a degree in mechanical engineering and moved to Louisiana in 1977 to work in the oilfield. Paul is currently part owner of his own business and is very active in the St. Dominic parish and school, and teaches CCD classes and Confirmation classes.

Deacon John & Linda Pippenger met at Loyola. She was a student and, on work-study, the chaplain’s secretary and he was a guitarist who played for the student masses. They met while setting up for mass. After graduating from Loyola, Linda & John were married at St. Dominic Church on Sept. 18, 1971.

They have 3 children. Their daughter Jodie was born on Christmas Day, followed by Jason on the Bi-Centennial and Jeffrey in 1982. They lived in Lakeview for 26 years before Katrina. Linda was a full-time mom and made their house a home while John was a teacher at Dominican High School before going into the accounting field.

Over the years both Linda & John have been very active in family and parish activities. They were active in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and then shifted their attention to St. Dominic Parish where they became active in the school, the Mothers’ and Men’s Clubs, and numerous church activities. They have been the coordinators of the St. Dominic Parish based marriage prep program, Evenings for the Engaged, for 26 years.

Together they helped initiate the Supper and Substance Program in the Archdiocese and have been a speaker-couple at many parishes. They have been speakers at many retreats and have given talks to many diverse groups.

In 1996 John was ordained to the Permanent Deaconate and was assigned to St. Dominic Parish. As a Deacon Couple, Linda and John, have been very active with the Family Advisory Board planning numerous family enrichment programs for families of all ages.

Linda helps coordinate Family Day, Parish Supper & Substance Programs, as well as special events in their parish. After buying and fixing-up a new home in Lakeview following Katrina, Linda serves as one of the Lakeview Beacon of Hope Coordinators. She also loves to cook and makes her home a welcoming place to visit. John received his Masters in Theological Studies from Notre Dame Seminary in 2005 and is a theology teacher for the Deaconate Candidates for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. John is also chairman of the parish Liturgy Committee as well as a member of the parish pastoral council and the spiritual advisor for the St. Dominic Knights of Columbus Council #3729.

Linda and John are both members of the St. Dominic Chapter of the Dominican Laity and members of the WillWoods Faith and Marriage Board. As members of the St. Dominic KC council they coordinated programs that won the annual State-wide Family Activity Award 3 times and the International Knights of Columbus Family Activity Award once.

Two of their children are married and they are blessed with 2 grandchildren with whom they spend as much time as possible. They love planning family activities with their immediate family as well as with their extended family of St. Dominic. They most especially enjoy being together as husband and wife and witnessing the joy of living out a Catholic Marriage.

Clinton and Sheryl (Sutton) Smith have been married 25 years. They are the proud parents of 3 children, Clinton III, 19, Jesse, 17, and Talmon, 13. The family is active in Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish on St. Roch Avenue in New Orleans.

While just beginning their involvement in marriage ministry Sheryl has been a supporter and retreat captain for the Cenacle for the past few years. Clint and Sheryl look forward to furthering the efforts of the Willwoods Community in reaching out and involving as many communities and parishes as possible in keeping with their mission.

As we rebuild our communities in New Orleans they realize that our marriages and families need to be nourished and supported now more than ever.

Pat & Susie Veters have been married for 25 years and have three sons. They have been parishioners of St. Dominic parish for 24 years. Pat is a practicing attorney and Susie is the Executive Director of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans. (Boys Hope Girls Hope is a residential program for at-risk teens.)

Pat & Susie are both involved in many Church and Archdiocesan activities, including marriage ministry and Christ the Builder mission program. They served for years as co-chairs of the Willwoods Faith and Marriage Committee. They are presently serving as co-chairs of the Willwoods Community Board of Trustees.

Their favorite ministry is speaking to couples about the wonderful gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony.