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Consultation on the Practice of Marriage Preparation


As part of the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage, in February 2006 five experts met with the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life to discuss the current practice of marriage preparation in the Catholic Church. The consultation was organized around five dimensions of marriage preparation that are present in virtually all programs, though not always in the same way or to the same extent. In a sense, these dimensions can be considered foundational to the current practice of this ministry and are the basis for future development and change within the ministry.

The consultation dealt with these topics:

  1. the role of married couples

  2. the role of clergy

  3. the integration of natural family planning education

  4. the Hispanic/Latino experience

  5. marriage preparation as the beginning of lifelong formation for marriage

Each of the five presentations examined the present experience and suggested ways of building a more effective ministry of marriage preparation - one that is responsive to contemporary realities while at the same time maintaining its grounding in the Church's teaching and pastoral tradition.

The papers and presenters:

Introduction to the Consultation H. Richard McCord, Executive Director, USCCB Committee on Marriage and Family Life

The Role of Married Couples in Marriage Preparation Mrs. Winnie Honeywell, Director of Family Life Ministry, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (TX)

The Role of Clergy in Marriage Preparation Rev. Jay Biber, Pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish, Diocese of Richmond (VA)

The Integration of NFP into Marriage Preparation Mrs. Donna Dausman, Director of Family and Youth Ministry, Diocese of Springfield (IL)

The Hispanic Experience in Marriage Preparation
Mrs. Lydia Pesina, Director of Family Life, Diocese of Brownsville (TX)

Marriage Preparation as the Beginning of Lifelong Marriage Formation
Mr. Frank Hannigan, Director of Family Ministries, Archdiocese of Chicago (IL)

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