*The Diocesan Marriage Preparation Programs and Options:
Marriage and family have been the cornerstones of society in cultures throughout the world and across time. Because Christian marriage is a sacrament and a holy vocation, the Catholic Church wants couples to be well-prepared. Marriage preparation programs help couples develop a better understanding of the sacrament; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life; and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple.
The Diocesan Pre-Cana curriculum utilizes the program, “Together in God’s Love” (Our Sunday Visitor). This program uniquely combines cultural attitudes, modern psychology, and Catholic theology as couples prepare to become one in Christ through matrimony.
The curriculum addresses all the key areas called for in the U.S. Bishop’s document on Marriage, “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan”. “Together in God’s Love” effectively combines Church teachings with current, relevant, scientific research about healthy marriages that affirms and expands upon the insight of the Catholic Faith. The program focuses on the areas of Faith, Communication, Sexuality, and Stewardship to express marriage as a communion of persons, just as the Holy Trinity is a communion of persons.
-Marriage and Faith: Theology and Spirituality of Marriage
-Marriage and Communication: Family of Origin, Communication Skills, Forgiveness, and Prayer as a of form of intimacy
-Marriage and Sexuality: God’s Plan for Marriage and Natural Family Planning (NFP)
-Marriage and Stewardship: Time, Talent and Treasure including the “Domestic Church” and Finance & Budgeting
Couples also take a “Pre-Marital” inventory. The inventory is a valuable tool used at the beginning of the marriage preparation process to enhance communication between the couple preparing for marriage. It is a discernment tool designed to help engaged couples learn more about themselves and their relationship. It is an integral part of the marriage preparation process for all couples. The inventory is not a test and is not be used as an indicator or a predictor of marital success. It is a self-diagnostic inventory.
Pre-Cana classes are offered on specific Sunday afternoons in New Castle County, DE; Dover, DE; or Salisbury, MD. Classes also meet on Wednesday evenings in Wilmington, DE; Monday evenings in Bethany Beach, DE; or an April Engaged Enrichment Day Conference in Dover, DE (see below).
Engaged Enrichment Day Conference (Pre-Cana):
- This option utilizes “Together in God’s Love” as well. The day begins with “Theology and Spirituality of Marriage”, followed by lunch and break out sessions that rotate every hour. Each session includes one of the topics mentioned above. One of the break-out sessions includes reviewing the results from the “Pre-Marital” inventory.
- In addition to the regular topics, the Conference will include a “Forum” comprised of a panel of married couples, ranging from newly married, through the senior years. The day concludes with a brief Prayer Service.
- The Remarriage classes are held on 3 consecutive Wednesday evenings, 3 times per year in Wilmington, DE.
- This program is for couples in which one or both persons were previously married, that marriage having ended in divorce/annulment, or death of one of the partners.
- Topics are similar to those covered in Pre-Cana as well as issues relating to previous marital relationships, including blended families.