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Marriage and Faith Formation

Introduction: You are here to prepare yourselves to enter into a union so sacred and so serious: sacred because God himself has established it; serious because you both will bind together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate that it will profoundly influence your entire future that future with its hopes and disappointments, its pains and pleasures is hidden from you now. So not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or worse until death. You are also here to reflect together the grace and gift of marriage: the grace that enables the gift and the gift that invokes the grace. The grace of God and the gift of the couple. ... When before a candlelit altar, each of you takes the hand of your partner and vows: “I do!” what in fact you say is: "Today I commit my body and spirit to you. I promise to try always to make our relationship grow through openness in communication; through trust in your willingness to work toward our mutual good; through faith in our love for each other even when that love seems hidden for the moment. "Today I promise you the freedom to grow and develop your talents and capabilities. I promise to rejoice in your personal growth and to work out with you any problems this growth entails. "Today I pledge to join with you in a union that is meant to be fruitful. I promise to join with you in establishing a household that is open to the needs of others, where we can, so far as we are able, provide a place of warmth and belonging to those who have none." What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life, to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting? George Eliot A. Why Marriage Preparation Program/Course?  Many of you might have come for the certificate; however, all go away enriched and enlightened  Very Important Phase in your life  So many things in life can be changed like your job or house or vehicle, but not your spouse; permanent relationship  Initially it would be like two strangers living together; lots of adjustments  You would bring two families together; cultures, religions..together  Your mutual love would give life: children, future, family to the world; you participate in God’s creativity; you must be responsible parents  You would see the faith dimension in all these; not only for Catholics, but for all couples  Designed to cover all aspects of marriage  Your investment here is important

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B. For a couple it can
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show how the Church takes them and their relationship seriously help their marriage service be more meaningful and personal provide space to talk about important things together help them get to know more about each other and their hopes for their future give them the chance to meet other couples and share experiences.

C. For the Church it can • involve them with people at a serious moment in their lives • help marriage services become more meaningful • provide a base for wider support for family life (e.g. parenting courses) • demonstrate the Church as a supportive community • show their commitment to people's marriages. D. For marriage it can • emphasize the value and importance of marriage • model good practice • help couples set out on married life better prepared • help bridge the gap between ideal and reality.

E. So, we need marriage preparation that
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couples enjoy - and tell others about is relevant, and sensitive to the experience and needs of couples is well delivered is available everywhere Involves lay people from the churches.

F. Why Marriage? • • • Scriptural: “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him…’ (Genesis 2:18, 21,22). “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) Eph 5:31: As the scripture says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one." Psychological & Theological: Core need for companionship. Eve completed Adam. Marriage was designed to be the most intimate of all human relationships. Marriage was designed to be permanent. In sickness and in health…. Sociological: Marriage is that relation between man & woman in which the Independence is Equal, the Dependence mutual and the Obligation Reciprocal.
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G. Types of Marriage Three Types of Wedding: a) Regular / Normal – both are Catholic b) Mixed – both are Christian; one is Catholic c) Disparity of Cult – One is Catholic and the other is non-Christian; ordinarily no nuptial mass In all cases wedding ceremony is conducted in a church. Non-catholic partner agrees to raise children in the catholic faith. This is based on – Pauline Privilege -St. Paul lived among Greeks, Jews, Romans & other Gentiles -Faith comes with/after love; love is stronger -Partner’s faith lived out authentically invites the other through love to that faith. Validity of sacraments of other denominations: based on uninterrupted succession from Peter – pipeline. H. Sacrament of Matrimony "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a Sacrament." (CCC1601) I. Sacrament: A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, instituted by Christ within the Church. A sacrament is a Sign and symbol of God’s unconditional love: God to Israel; Jesus to the Church; spouses to one another • Sacrament is a SIGN • Signify and share in the unity and love that exists between Christ and his Church (God & Israel) – Covenant & Not a Contract; Total fidelity – Unbreakable unity – Sacrament modeled on the bond between Christ and his Church – Remain faithful in good times and bad – Purpose: Procreation and education of children – beginning & nurturing a family Marriage and Faith Formation The human person is created to know, love and serve God. The Church tells us that "All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church..." (Canon 748) "The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent. Hence by that human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other a
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relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too is a lasting one." (Gaudium et Spes 48) “The Church’s catechetical mission aims the faithful of all ages to grow in both human and Christian maturity, enriching the whole of life with the leaven of the Gospel” (Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation) In Adult Faith Formation we want “to encourage a living, explicit and fruitful profession of faith” (General Directory for Catechesis, 66). Explicit faith is being in: a) a personal relationship with Jesus, b) a growing in love with Jesus. Fruitful profession of faith results in experiencing the love of Jesus in a personal relationship and as a result of it, all our actions become fruitful whether it is in a kitchen or bedroom or office or volunteering in any parish/social activity that benefits the whole parish/community Living faith involves fully participating in: a) b) c) d) e) Sunday Mass, Reading of Scriptures, Being involved in the parish community, prayer, works of service Responsible, ethical in job/business/office and Loving our neighbors. In the Pastoral Plan, the Bishops identify six dimensions that require growth in “ongoing development of a living, explicit, and fruitful Christian faith:”
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Knowledge of the Faith Liturgical Life Moral Formation Prayer Communal Life Missionary Spirit

Marriage establishes a holy covenant among three: one man, one woman, and God Himself who creates, saves, and blesses us in love. • Through God the Father, marriage irrevocably joins the man and woman as one flesh, thereby making them stewards of God's unitive and creative power. • Through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, marriage receives the dignity of a sacrament, becoming a reflection of the ever-faithful bridegroom, who loves, forgives, and lays down his life for his bride, the Church. • Through the Holy Spirit, marriage unites man and woman in an indissoluble communion of life and love. Marriage is thus more than a legal contract between two parties; it is an icon of our Triune God, in whose image man and woman have been created from the beginning.

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