Pastoral Guidelines For Marriage Preparation
The Committee on Marriage Preparation, in conjunction with His Excellency Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D. and the Department of Pastoral Services, has prepared a set of guidelines for the preparation of couples seeking to enter either the Sacrament of Matrimony or valid Christian Marriage in the Diocese of Belleville.
The Diocese looks to foster the theme of "One Diocese, one message" by standardizing our preparation for this beautiful vocation. As our American culture moves farther from the traditional views of "marriage", we find ourselves as a Church moved to reinforce the values and substance that make marriage a true convenant rather than just a legal contract. The guidelines are intended to help lay the basis for a strong marriage by encouraging discussion of the issues that all couples may face. Your role as facilitators of these discussions is to catechize on the teachings of the Church regarding this life-long commitment.
To that end, the diocesan Committee on Marriage Preparation and you as Priests, Deacons and Parish Administrators, are responsible for providing marriage preparation, not wedding planning. While planning the service (whether inside or outside Mass) will surely be part of the conversations, providing the couples we work with an opportunity to look beyond that day to the many days after is our unique role and privilege. The Committee hopes that this resource provides you with the support you need to achieve the end of helping couples prepare for a strong future together.
We thank you for the time you take to work with your couples to help them be true reflections of Christ's relationship with his bride, the Church, inside of their covenantal relationships. A strong marriage combined with a strong faith fosters a stronger and vibrant Church.
Updated Information on the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Second Ritual Edition
Advice from the United States Conference on Catholic Bishops Committee on Divine Worship - includes questions concerning catechumens and the Order of Celebrating Matrimony and Best Practices for the Procession.