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Too often, couples wait to seek help for their marriage until they reach a crisis point and sadly, by then it can be almost too late to rescue the marriage. In Familiaris Consortio 86, John Paul II said, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family.” This short sentence sums up the irreplaceable relationship between the family and society. Marriage is the foundation of the family. It exists to foster love between a man and a woman and their mutual growth and spiritual fulfillment. Marriage, a communion of persons, is the basis of the family: a good willed by God himself. The Second Vatican Council insisted that, amidst all changes and social transformations, the identity of the family must be protected (Gaudium et Spes, 48).
The family is more broken today than at any period in our lifetime. Catholic families are as susceptible, as the rest of society, to cohabitation, unwed pregnancy, and divorce. As Catholics, we say we value commitment and faithfulness but how are these principles being supported in our parishes? How are we showing others that we believe in marriage? Is there anything more that can be done to revitalize the domestic church? In order to help invigorating the Domestic Church, Marriage Works! Ohio is seeking to help parishes in becoming “Believe in Marriage” parishes. Based on the New Evangelization, the Believe in Marriage Ministry effort seeks to evangelize and support couples before they are in crisis mode, knowing that godly marriages lead to godly families. This ministry can augment marriage prep and marriage enrichment programs already in your parish and possibly enliven a new urgency to promote strong, faithful marriages.
We have developed a guide to help you and your parish in starting and maintaining a parish marriage enrichment ministry. The goal of setting up a Believe in Marriage Ministry in your parish should be to build a marriage support system that is ongoing, sustainable and one that utilizes parish resources in order to support and educate the domestic church. We want to help you in three areas towards getting this effort up and running:
1) We want to help you and your parish in starting marriage enrichment programming along with preparing them for this endeavor. As the starting point, we offer the Discovering our Deepest Desire (D.O.D.D.) marriage enrichment program, along with promotional materials, for helping you in getting an initial class off the ground. It comes with an eight DVD series of the program, taught by the author, and an additional Facilitator’s Training DVD for those in the parish who choose to facilitate the video series with their church. Marriage Works! Ohio staff are also available to work with couples in your church on training them in becoming Instructors of the DODD program. Trained couples who lead the classes add that personal touch to this learning experience.
2) Next we want to empowering parishes in continuing their efforts toward building further community support and marital strengthening through the development of ongoing Marriage Support Circles (see below). We have materials through our Reaching Deeper Series that can help facilitate ongoing learning for couples who want to continue in marital support long after the DODD class ends.
3) Lastly, we work with parishes and trained instructors on encouraging couples that have gone through the DODD program, to consider facilitating or teaching future programs by also getting trained in the curriculum. Also, couples can be encouraged to become part of a Believe in Marriage Ministry team to help with the process of putting on future classes, to be mentor couples to other couples in need or to mentor Pre-Cana couples going through marriage preparation. We also encourage these couples to consider hosting and leading a Marriage Support Circle.
To get started please contact us.