In matrimony and in the family a complex of interpersonal relationships is set up – married life, fatherhood, motherhood, filiation and fraternity – through which each human person is introduced into the ‘human family’ and into the ‘Family of God’, which is the Church.

Familiaris Consortio, 15

Marriage Celebration Westminster

The Church lives and has its being from generation to generation through Christian marriage and family life. The sacrament of mutual, exclusive, lifelong commitment that is marriage graces couples as they journey together in love, faith and hope. The Church offers preparation for marriage, post-wedding opportunities for marriage enrichment and counselling. Here you can find links to a variety of resources dedicated to the pastoral care of marriage.


The Church’s pastoral care for marriage finds its most visible expression in its care for couples preparing to get married. There are a number of programmes available to couples in England and Wales that complement the required preparation that is the responsibility of clergy to provide before a wedding can go ahead.

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Guidelines for Marriage Preparation are currently being prepared by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in response to a survey carried out in 2010 and publication of two reports on Catholic marriage preparation in November 2012. The Guidelines will help dioceses and parishes reflect on their marriage preparation policies and increase the availability of programmes delivered by lay people. It is anticipated that the Guidelines will be available in late 2015.

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National Conference on Marriage Preparation, 2011

national Conference on Marriage Preparation, 2011


A number of dioceses host annual marriage celebrations, retreats and offer peer-based support which help couples explore their vocation to marriage and further develop their marital spirituality. Some also offer healing opportunities for troubled marriages which include couple counselling and domestic abuse awareness.

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In the UK Natural Family Planning is delivered by a number of groups, working independently and providing a range of different methodologies and approaches. The values of a holistic and human approach to family planning deserve to be considered seriously. Our Family Planning page offers signposting to a range sources of information and support for couples in England and Wales.

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The Catholic Church's initiatives to care for families who have experienced the breakdown of a marriage include counselling, peer support, bereavement support for children of separation and divorce and the annulment process.

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