There is a need to reevaluate our marriage preparation process in response to the cultural evolution and the Pope’s call in his recent documents. Pope Francis remarks “what emerged was the serious concern that, with too superficial a preparation, couples run the risk of entering into a marriage that is null and void or has such a weak foundation that it ‘falls apart in a short time and cannot withstand even the first inevitable crises.” In addition, the Pope reechoes the Pontifical Council for the Family document on Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage as follows “it is structured according to the three stages: the preparation for marriage (remote, proximate and immediate); the celebration of the wedding; the accompaniment of the first years of married life.”
This model addresses the challenges we see in marriages and families today. It approaches marriage preparation as a process, notas a program. It provides tools that treat the sacrament as individually received but publicly witnessed. The catechumenate model becomes an exemplary process that offers platforms and creates opportunities for the couples and the parish community to engage in the process.
“The baptismal catechumenate treats the sacraments as a journey of conversion and growth as individuals and as a faith community. It is ‘both a process of formation and a true school of faith.” (p.115).
The cultural shift impacts the society and the church and the tools must be responsive and not reactionary. Any material must be used as a guide, each couple is different and must be accompanied and supported to grow. That is why my mentorship initiative is relationship-based.
• Marriage as a social reality
• Marriage as a liturgical event
• Marriage as a theological reality
• Marriage as part of the ecclesial community.
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