Guidelines for Marriage Preparation

The complexity of today’s society and the challenges faced by the family require a greater effort on the part of the whole Christian community in preparing those who are about to be married....In this regard the Synod Fathers agreed on the need to involve the entire community more extensively by stressing the witness of families themselves and by grounding marriage preparation in the process of Christian initiation by bringing out the connection between marriage, baptism and the other sacraments

Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia #206

Preparing couples to confidently live out their ‘lifelong project’ is a great joy and responsibility for the whole Christian community. By saying ‘I do’ couples begin a journey that calls for great generosity and commitment. It is our task as church to welcome them, help them discern their vocation, and then to walk with them, throughout the seasons of married life, supporting them as they gradually discover the dignity and beauty of their calling. Their love and hope are infectious, and bring essential new life to our communities too.
The Guidelines for the Preparation of Couples for Marriage propose a ‘journey’ for the couple in steps and stages, involving the parish community (particularly other couples and families), all very much aware that it is God who calls couples to marriage, and God who gives them grace for each step on the way. The process described in the Guidelines appreciates the need for preparation in both the religious and relational aspects of marriage, equipping a couple with the knowledge and skills to build a faithful, lifelong and fruitful relationship.
The Guidelines also express the goodness of marriage and richness of Church teaching through:
  1. an extensive theological preface;
  2. the suggested content for marriage preparation programmes;
  3. the need for training and support of clergy and lay people;
  4. the benefits and impact of the ministry of marriage preparation;
  5. options for planning local provision of marriage preparation by a collaborative team of clergy and lay people.
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Marriage preparation should be a kind of ‘initiation’ to the sacrament of matrimony, providing couples with the help they need to receive the sacrament worthily and to make a solid beginning of life as a family   

Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia #207

Related Resources

The resources in this download are not included in the Guidelines because of the challenges of keeping the information current. The links provided are for information purposes only. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship cannot and does not necessarily endorse the resources, the content on external websites, or those organisations' affiliations with third parties.