Guidelines for Marriage Preparation have been prepared by the Bishops’ Conference in response to a survey carried out in 2010 and publication of two reports on Catholic marriage preparation in 2012.
The guidelines seek to encourage collaboration at diocesan and parish level in order to develop a deeper understanding of both the theology of marriage and the pastoral skills needed for the ministry of preparing couples for marriage.
Caroline Dollard, Bishops’ Conference Family Catechesis Development Worker, introduced the new guidelines to clergy and lay people committed to marriage ministry on 11 May at the Hallam Pastoral Centre. She drew particular attention to the place that welcome and the naming of the couple presenting themselves for marriage in the parish has as a valuable part of the preparation process.
The session included a presentation by Deacon John Wright with an analysis of the feedback from ‘Preparing for a Lifetime Together’. Statistics and comments such as ‘It made me realise that I had learned more than I thought possible’ and ‘Every couple should attend this course’, confirmed the value of the marriage preparation provided to engaged couples by our volunteer marriage presenters in Hallam.
Charles and Jane Perryman reminded us of the core components of the course which comply with Bishops’ Guidelines.
Plans are currently being made to update the course in the light of new research and the nature and importance of the emotional bond in the marriage relationship.