Lifelong Support for Marriage Emphasized in Catholic Church, Survey Finds
WASHINGTON - Lifelong support for marriage is a key effort for parishes and dioceses in the United States, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life.
The survey, which looked at diocesan efforts in 2003, found Catholics nationwide involved in preparation for marriage programs, post-marriage enrichment programs, celebrations of special anniversaries and workshops to address troubled marriages.
The survey drew its findings from a study of 129 (66%) of the nation's 195 dioceses and eparchies. It also included data from three national groups: Catholic Engaged Encounter, Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille.
According to the survey, virtually all dioceses require some form of marriage preparation. Only two of the 130 dioceses surveyed did not have a policy governing this. According to figures reported in The Official Catholic Directory, there were 177,825 couples married in the Catholic Church in 2003 in those 130 dioceses. The survey found that some 81 percent of couples (144,054) took part in a marriage preparation program that same year. This number represents a combination of totals reported by diocesan programs and by Catholic Engaged Encounter, which operates in 121 dioceses.
Survey organizers surmised that the actual percentage of couples attending pre-marriage programs is much higher than reported.
The survey did not gather data on couples who might have participated in a parish-sponsored marriage preparation program, or one offered in military or campus chaplaincies. Also not included in the totals are some couples who were excused from programs because of special circumstances, or who were entering into second marriages, or having the convalidation, or blessing, of a marriage previously performed outside the Church.
The survey found that marriage preparation programs may consist of anywhere from one to 12 sessions. The average number of hours a couple spends in a program is 12.
Sessions typically involve interviews with a parish priest or deacon, educational presentations and discussions with married couples who serve as leaders and mentors, and the opportunity for a couple to plan the readings, prayers, and music they will use in their wedding ceremony. Most marriage preparation programs also use a pre-marital inventory which gives the engaged couple a profile of their areas of agreement and disagreement.
Ongoing marriage education is offered in more than 70 dioceses, the survey found. Some couples also attend programs in their local parish. A cumulative total of 14,289 couples participated in 72 diocesan programs aimed at helping couples renew their relationships and in some cases reconcile when a marriage is about to fail. In addition to programs offered by dioceses, another opportunity was offered by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a weekend renewal experience led by a team of married couples and a priest. In 2003, Worldwide Marriage Encounter served 10,989 couples with programs in English, Spanish and Korean.
Retrouvaille, the church ministry geared towards troubled marriages, reported working with 5,000 couples in 2003. Retrouvaille, which means rediscovery, is in 40 states currently.
The survey also found that an increasingly popular diocesan event is the annual Mass celebrated by the local bishop for couples married 25 and 50 years or more. In 2003, one hundred dioceses reported hosting anniversary celebrations with an overall total of 23,165 couples attending.
Bishop Kevin Boland of Savannah, Georgia, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Marriage and Family Life Committee, said support for marriage is one of the most important ministries in the Church.
""We are trying to build a continuum of ministry for couples in order to give them both encouragement and the tools they need to grow and thrive in all stages of their marriage," he said.
"It is especially important that couples find marital help in their parishes," he added.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
http://www.usccb.org DC, US
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 202 541-5413
Life, Abortion, Marriage, Family, Prolife
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 HD Video
- Indonesia rejects law that would criminalize sex outside of marriage
- Church reviews possible Catholic hospital mega-merger
- Daily Readings for Friday, December 15, 2017
- Australia asks Church to end celibacy and confession to fight child ...
- St. Mary Di Rosa: Saint of the Day for Friday, December 15, 2017
- Commission recommends Church end priestly celibacy and confession to ...
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 18th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 17th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 16th, 2017 HD
- The Net Neutrality Scam: Get ready to pay a lot more for a lot less HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way