Marriage Preparation

Couples can expect their preparation to take place over a minimum of 4 sessions as outlined;

Introductory/ Exploratory session with the parish priest; the prenuptial documents will be completed and conditions for a valid marriage confirmed. As a couple you will be encouraged/invited to reflect on your relationship to date and your expectations for your future together as a family. In addition, you will explore the sacramental nature of the covenant that you are about to make; you are encouraged to view this experience as an opportunity to take the time to truly reflect on the call to the married vocation.

It is envisaged that, within the Archdiocese of Cardiff, all couples will be directed towards a lay-led course alongside sessions with the clergy. These courses are run by trained lay facilitators, frequently couples, and provide an opportunity for engaged couples to explore together, often within a group setting, their relationship now and beyond their marriage. Within the Archdiocese of Cardiff, Marriage Care (MC) are the main providers of this part of the marriage preparation (MP) process and this relationship is being further developed to ensure this valuable resource is sustained. The content of the MC ‘Preparing Together’ preparation course is outlined here.   –   NB All Marriage Care courses are to be booked via their central booking system.

After completing the Lay-led course, you, the couple, will then meet again with the parish priest of your domicile parish (or where your preparation is being provided) to reflect with him how things went and are going. You will then begin to explore the liturgy of the marriage; how the liturgy relates to your hopes and aspirations, how it relates to what you have experienced on the MP course and how it can be put together to provide a fulfilling experience for you and your wedding guests.

The rehearsal for the ceremony is to be recognised as a great time for evangelisation, not merely as a familiarisation exercise; spending time explaining to all the key participants their role and the meaning behind it. This will strengthen the sacramental experience for you as a couple and your guests.

Lay led Preparation courses:

Two Marriage Care preparation programmes are currently used in the Archdiocese, which should be booked directly with Marriage Care:

a one-day workshop for groups of up to 12 couples. It is normally held on a Saturday or Sunday, organised by local Marriage Care centres across the Archdiocese. Enjoyable, revealing and rewarding, couples are encouraged to consider things they may not even be aware they need to think about. All in a safe, supportive environment, where no one is forced to share anything they are uncomfortable with.

Also, as a direct consequence of the pandemic, Preparing Together Anywhere has been developed for virtual delivery, for up to 6 couples over three weekly ninety-minute sessions.

stands for Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study. It is a personalised consultation using a research-based questionnaire and gives couples a good snapshot of how their relationship works. The picture that develops is shaped by their experiences and answers to questions about family life, faith and spirituality, how they communicate and settle differences.

It’s not a test to pass or fail, as every relationship is unique. But the couple’s responses help in identifying, discussing and working through any issues as they enter this new phase of their relationship.

This involves the couple and a Facilitator and is currently available in person and via secure webcam.

Some resources for engaged couples preparing for their catholic wedding: Readings   Choosing your Readings   Reflections on the Readings  Advice for your Reader 

Marriage preparation is a process rather than an event limited to the planning of a liturgy or the completion of obligatory paperwork; marriage preparation is a gradual, continuous, life-long endeavour, which follows a three-stage process of: remote , proximate and immediate preparation as defined in Familiaris Consortio #66 and by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

  • remote (beginning in infancy, through to adolescence),
  • proximate (catechesis for young people, through relational, moral and spiritual formation, presenting the sacrament of marriage),
  • and immediate preparation (as defined in Familiaris Consortio, #66) and the Pontifical Council for the Family) the period from an engaged couple’s first approach to the Church, the period of preparation and the celebration of the rite.

The Archdiocese also recognises and acknowledges the need for continuing support during the couple’s life-long commitment to their marriage (Familiaris Consortio (1981) #69)

Relationship Support

As with all relationships, marriage needs working at. Couples wishing to develop and strengthen their relationship may find an enrichment programme a helpful process; the following organisations provide such opportunities and online resources:

All relationships, whether solid and loving or stressed and fragile, experience challenges which test our ability to support and understand each other as needed or appropriate, and we may struggle with the promises we made to each other. Most of the time, couples will resolve their own differences through mutual sharing and listening, working together to find the best way forward. However, should things become strained and resolutions difficult to achieve, seeking support from others can be beneficial, especially relationship support with an impartial perspective. Two organisations that can provide this form of support are  Marriage Care  or Retrouvaille.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and recognising that support for marriages and relationships is potentially more vital than ever, both Marriage Care and Retrouvaille are now delivering their services by virtual means; details of what is available and how to book can be found on their websites.

Restored Lives  helps people recover fully from relationship breakdown. By supporting people through separation or divorce, when a relationship is beyond repair, the course helps reduce the negative effects on individuals, children and communities.

Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage

The Cardiff Archdiocesan Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage 2021 took place on Saturday 15th May at 11am, during National Marriage week.

Over 50 couples submitted wedding photos and details so that they can be remembered especially in this Thanksgiving Mass as they celebrate significant anniversaries this year (or last).

Click to view the celebratory reflection which was shown during the Mass and the commemorative Mass booklet.

Becoming a volunteer facilitator of Marriage Preparation Programmes.

Have you considered becoming a volunteer facilitator of Marriage Preparation Programmes?

To find out more, download our leaflet here and contact one of the team.

Are you a Relationship Counsellor looking to volunteer in a friendly environment and to make a difference in your community? Then Marriage Care has the opportunity you are looking for! Visit their website to apply today

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