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One in Christ Marriage Seminar teaches couples how to have holy, happy, healthy & lasting marriages

2/13/2010 - 4:28 PM PST

Catholic PRWire

CHICAGO, IL (February 13, 2010) - Over five years ago when I began the One in Christ Marriage Seminar with Fr. Paul Stein, we asked ourselves how we could effectively evangelize our culture that has become increasing secular and hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His message of salvation. With the support of His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George and the assistance of the Priest Advisory Board to the Respect Life Office in the Archdiocese of Chicago, we decided to create a program that would not only prepare engaged couples for the wonderful Sacrament of Marriage, but to re-evangelize fallen away and lukewarm Catholics so that they could experience a truly faith-deepening conversion and an awakening to the beauty, goodness and truth about marriage, family life and the Catholic Faith. We discovered that by evangelizing couples with the Gospel of Life, within the context of marriage preparation, couples come to appreciate the total value of human life transmitted through marriage.

The One in Christ Marriage Seminar provides priests, deacons, and lay facilitators with an all-inclusive and comprehensive Pre-Cana program, which is perfect for marriage preparation or weekend retreats. One in Christ presents both the sacramental theology and the practical "tools" of Christian Marriage so that couples reach an understanding of how marriage is a participation in the life of heaven and what that means for their lives together here on earth. The seminar is ideal for engaged couples, those who are convalidating their marriage and couples who would like a refresher course on marriage. It is designed to be flexible. For example, it can be presented on an entire weekend or over a period of two to three weekends. It has also been used to prepare individual couples or couples in small groups.

The course takes the Hans Urs von Balthasar approach of presenting the truth, beauty and goodness of marriage and family life. This approach is very appealing to today's couples, assaulted as they are by much secular negativity about marriage. Our goal is not just to present information on marriage, but rather to help couples see the what, why and how of the Church's teaching in relation to marriage. That is why we begin with the basic catechesis on the Catholic Faith and interweave it throughout the seminar. As a result, it becomes a catechesis reinvigorating the couples' faith life within the context of marriage preparation.

Deeply rooted in Scripture, Catholic Tradition, the Lives of the Saints and Papal Encyclicals, this seminar will prepare couples to see the truth, beauty and goodness of marriage and family life. Couples will come to see how God and His grace are the remedies and the quintessential means to a happy, healthy, holy and lasting marriage.

This seminar includes a 280-page facilitator's manual, a 270-page couple's workbook, ten multimedia Microsoft® PowerPoint Presentations on a DVD and over fifteen videos. The books contain all the speaker notes with the presentation goals, handouts, prayers, and articles on marriage. Note: (As a refresher course on marriage, married couples would simply purchase the Couple's Workbook. The DVD can be acquired by emailing Fr. Aschenbrener at

The videos for the Presentations include: Growth in Christ, Forever One, Forgiveness, Prayer, Almsgiving and Tithing, In Sickness and in Health, Fasting, Large Families, Head and Heart, Words of Advice, The Unitive End of Marriage and Chastity, Facing Infertility: a Journey of Faith, Hope and Love, and five videos on Natural Family Planning, the Ovulation Method and Contraception.

The Presentations include:

1. Following Christ in the Vocation of Marriage 2. Covenantal Theology and the Properties of Marriage 3. Espoused Forever: The Sacraments of Marriage, Communion and Confession 4. Covenantal Communication and the Moral Virtues 5. Marriage and Money: Almsgiving and Tithing 6. Covenantal Love: The Unitive End of Marriage 7. Covenantal Life: The Procreative End of Marriage 8. Contraception in Question 9. Planning your Family God's Way: Natural Family Planning 10. Facing Infertility: a Journey of Faith, Hope and Love (This talk also includes the Church's teaching on reproductive technologies).

"While marriage is a natural institution, created neither by the state nor by the Church, it is protected by the state and sanctified by the Church. Part of the Church's care for marriage expresses itself in programs preparing men and women to enter into the state of marriage today. A sacrament of the Church by the will and action of Christ, marriage demands a personal formation that will enable married couples to grow in sanctity together. That is the purpose of One in Christ."

"Chastity, fidelity and indissolubility might seem impossible, unless one comes to rely upon God and count on His grace. This book assures couples that God is more interested in the success of their marriage than they are. Preparation for marriage includes lessons in communication, in common understanding about finances and the raising of children, about where to live and dozens of other practical considerations. Most basically, however, marriage preparation should inspire a man and a woman to seek "the goodness, integrity, holiness and salvation" of their spouse. I hope and pray that all couples who make use of this text will experience a faith-deepening conversion that will remain with them each day of their married lives."

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago

[In accordance with c. 827, permission to publish is granted on January 6, 2010 by Very Reverend John F. Canary, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Permission to publish is an official declaration of ecclesiastical authority that the material is free from doctrinal and moral error. No legal responsibility is assumed by the grant of this permission.]

I hope that you find the One in Christ Marriage Seminar instructive, insightful and beneficial to the couples you will be preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Fr. Thomas Aschenbrener at


Holy Name Cathedral  IL, 60611 US
Fr. Thomas Aschenbrener - Preist, 312 771-4265


Pre-Cana, Marriage Preparation, One in Christ, Wedding Preparation,


US Archdiocese & Diocese

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1 - 1 of 1 Comments

  1. Mrs Eva
    1 year ago

    Greetings brothers and sisters in the Lord! I would like to receive more info on Pre-marriage and con validation topics,outline and activity which could help us in helping couples restore and strengthen their relationship to God and man..We are volunteers from our church and we don't have enough info about these.

    Grateful for whatever help you can extend to us.
    God bless you all.

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