The Sacrament of Marriage

Marriage unites a man and a woman in faithful love for their natural lives. God’s blessing on this love is a rich and rewarding gift which will bear fruit throughout their married days.

Statistics increasingly show that couples who undertake marriage preparation have a far greater chance of a happy fulfilling marriage, and we certainly want that for you. Here at Catholic Cathedral Parish, engaged couples receive pre-marriage education and mentoring from a team including the priest and married couples of the parish.

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Using the resources and material of the SmartLoving Engaged course couples will meet with a mentor couple from our parish who are trained to assist you prepare practically and spiritually for this wonderful adventure which is your married life together. The course is made up of six sessions and the topics discussed cover many issues facing couples in married life, from faith to cultural differences, to family influences and finances.  To find out more about the course and content of each session, visit the SmartLoving Engaged website.

Finally you will spend some time with your priest to complete the preparation and to consider the practicalities of the ceremony.

We are delighted that you are asking to receive the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church.

Steps to take:

In the first instance, make contact with one of the priests of the parish. He will arrange a time to sit with you and your fiancé to discuss your plans.

At  that meeting the priest will work through Church’s marriage papers with you both (called the Prenuptial Enquiry). As well he will arrange for one of our marriage preparation team to contact you to discuss a suitable time for you to undertake the Smart Loving programme. Additionally we offer an interesting optional ‘inventory’ called COMMIT which helps couples identify their strengths and areas for growth.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh, so then, they are no longer two but one flesh…
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Gospel of Matthew 19:5,6

Course Overview:

Session 1: Mission to Love

This session introduces the concept of Smart Loving – a practical insight designed to make a couple’s efforts to love more efficient by helping them learn the specific ways in which their fiancé experiences love. The role of affirmation is also addressed.

Session 2: Dialogue, Being One

Using the L.I.F.E. communication framework, couples will learn how to communicate effectively and intimately. A technique for accomplishing Emotional Communion (empathy) is also taught.

Session 3: Knowing Me, Knowing You

A detailed examination of the couple’s attitudes and beliefs about sexuality and marriage, looking particularly at their family of origin. The impact of other significant relationships including emotional injuries is addressed.

Session 4: Building Unity

Couples learn how to use the Stop-Reflect-Connect tool for values based decision making. Conflict and the role of forgiveness is examined, including an adaptation of the Stop-Reflect-Connect tool for the specific purpose of reconciliation.

Session 5: Sex, Sacred Embrace

Examines how, contrary to popular belief, marital sex is an intimate communication rather than just a recreational activity. The concept of sex as a sacramental gesture and a renewal of wedding vows is explored. A take home DVD provides a summary of key concepts regarding sexuality with a discussion of natural fertility methods and their benefits.

Session 6: Soul Mates for Life

Addresses the sacramentality of marriage and will direct couples towards spiritual intimacy with their fiancé. Specific issues relating to couples of mixed faith are addressed along with an introduction to couple prayer.

“Enjoyable, revealing and rewarding, you’ll be encouraged to consider things you may not even be aware you need to think about.”  Jason & Katlyn  SmartLoving Graduates

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