Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Several items here: This past week I received a sample marriage preparation packet from Dynamic Catholic, an organization that, as its name suggests, exists to produce materials that will help everybody become more dynamically Catholic. The marriage preparation program is entitled Better Together. There is a leader’s guide, the couples’ workbooks, and a series of DVDs. As you can imagine, with an organization like Dynamic Catholic, the materials are stellar! They created them over a three-year process of listening, exploring, and developing/refining. It brought back to me my dream of having couples who are passionate about solid Catholic marriage (which can transform the world!) team up with me in marriage preparation, using such a program. I would, of course, do an initial interview, and fill out the necessary diocesan forms with an engaged couple, as part of the process. But then I would love to have several other couples who could guide them through the process of marriage preparation, and even follow them for the first year or two afterwards, to help them as mentor couples, as they face some of their first struggles. It would be a couple-to-couple approach, with the priest still involved as part of the process.
You can check out a quick YouTube introduction to the program at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG4jlMWyRf8. But then you can find all of the 12 chapters worth of videos at https://dynamiccatholic.com/better-together/program-view/. The whole program is, in fact, available to the public free of charge. That’s pretty amazing!
One of the things recommended in the leader’s guide is that couples who have already been married for some years could watch these videos as a source of inspiration and refreshed vision. Married couples have a beautiful call to image the very life of the Holy Trinity by the way they live self-donating love towards one another. And, by living this amazing call from God in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, they have a mission to the world around them, i.e., to transform it by the radiance of such self-donating love that images God himself. What about committing as a couple to watch these videos for your own marriage enrichment?
On another note, I know it’s been a while since we’ve had a parish mission speaker in for Lent. We are putting money in the budget for this upcoming Lent. Very soon, I will work on getting a great mission speaker for us!
Also, as I thought this past month about the diocesan strategic plan that you saw a couple bulletins ago, I was once again inspired strongly to hope for more work to build Catholic family spirituality. What does the spiritual life of a Catholic family look like? What ought it to look like? In times past society seemed much more supportive of the Christian life. And I think that allowed some Catholics to rely on the surrounding culture to maintain the faith of family members, without requiring much spirituality within the family. Those days are clearly over!! Families have to live a nourishing Catholic spirituality that can help their children stay on track when they get exposed to the worst that society has to offer these days. Our society is not going to keep our children Catholic. The Faith has to be built into them, and nourished, over the course of years, in a very positive and engaging way in family life. I would love to have people in the parish who come up with some ideas to enhance Catholic family spiritual culture in our parish. This will be a topic of upcoming pastoral council meetings. Will we create a Divine Mercy Parish Family Spirituality Handbook?
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,