You have decided to get married in the Catholic Church — now what? You might have heard by now that you need to go through an approved marriage preparation program, otherwise known as “Pre-Cana.” The next step is for you to determine whether you will complete online or in person Pre-Cana.

The intent of this article is not to say either way which one is better — that would be subjective, so deciding which option is “better” is all about personal preference.

In this article, we will discuss both options and the experiences that can be included with both.

The Online Option

Thanks to the internet, information is readily available for the plucking. Some of our phones now are more powerful than our computers! The idea that we can connect with loved ones on the other side of the earth in a matter of seconds is incredible and sounds like something out of Star Trek.

Side note, we might actually have Star Trek to thank for most of our modern marvels.

Moving on…

For more than a decade, we have offered Pre-Cana as an option to conquer online and on-demand Catholic marriage preparation. The obvious, initial benefit for this is that couples are able to navigate through the course whenever and wherever.

From the feedback given to us by the thousands of couples who choose our program each year, here are other reasons they have enjoyed the online option:

  • Convenience: Life is busy now. It is difficult, and in a lot of cases, impossible, to be able to be off work and free for an entire day, weekend, or the same evenings for multiple weeks. This can often make it challenging for couples to attend their Parishes schedule Pre-Cana events.
  • Privacy: These are serious and often intimate topics. Being able to take the time and have focused, in-depth, conversations with privacy will make sure that you are both on the same page with them. Often with group sessions you won’t be able to take the time to have these conversations so discreetly.
  • Long Distance Couples: You may be currently living in different locations whether for work, school or several other factors. This can make it physically impossible to attend Pre-Cana at the same time and location. Online courses allow you to work on them anytime, whether just a few hours apart or half the world apart.

This data has helped us to develop and deliver a more impactful and meaningful online Pre-Cana experience.

Online learning is a great option for those who prefer to tackle the more complex talking points in the privacy of their home. It’s also great for folks who desire to work at their own pace — taking as much time as they need to dive into a given topic. The video segments in our program can be paused to help give enough of a break for you and your significant other to really connect with each other.

Our online course is accepted in parishes and dioceses all over, so it’s up to you and your significant other if this option is the right option.

That being said, although the online option has several obvious benefits, it might not be for everyone. There might not be the fatigue of an all-day or all-weekend event, but you definitely have to stay motivated.

There may not be the distractions of a crowd, but there still are distractions. “Those mines aren’t going to sweep themselves.” — Jim Halpert, The Office.

The In-Person Option

Most churches offer a flurry of options for in-person Pre-Cana. Whether it’s meeting with your Priest a required number of times before getting married, a one-day event, a weekend retreat — either way, your church is positioned to offer you something that fits your learning style.

A few benefits of an in-person gathering are:

  1. There is a potential for fellowship with like-minded peers — all in the same boat of preparing for marriage.
  2. You might be able to hear from several subject matter experts over the course of the program. This helps to make each topic more exciting and the event a little more interesting!
  3. When taking a course with instructors or sponsor couples, you will be able to ask questions and get feedback in real time, allowing you for greater clarity in the moment.

The challenge can be that an in-person option might not be available in enough time before the wedding day. In-person events might even be cancelled from time to time, and a reschedule might just put you too close to your wedding day — or worse — might not be available until after your wedding day.

The Decision

Regardless of which option you choose — online vs in person Pre-Cana — the most important thing to remember is to be transparent with your significant other and the ministry leader helping you to prepare for marriage. Please make sure that you are scheduling plenty of meetings with your Priest or Deacon for this important step towards your wedding day.

Interested in Online Pre-Cana?

Living Our Faith in Love - Online Pre-Cana

Have you ever wondered who instituted the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church? Have you asked yourself where is Marriage in the Bible?

This might be a question that is important to you and your fiance, especially now that you are preparing for marriage. Let us take a look at what the Bible tells us.

Marriage in the Bible

The Bible tells us that God created man and woman and after creating them, the first thing He does is to bless them.

“God blessed them…” (Gn. 1, 28)

This tells us that right from the beginning the union of man and woman is blessed by their creator God. God looks with favor this new union.  Marriage was what God had planned for man and woman.

This union of man and woman has also other implications; God tells them to “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gn. 1:28) Here we can clearly see the connection between marriage and establishing a family. Man and woman are called to create together, this union is to be the foundation of society.

Christ Instituted The Sacrament of Marriage

In the New Testament we see that Jesus reminds us the same truths that were previously stated in the book of Genesis.

Jesus says: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt: 19:4-6)

It is in these words of Jesus that we find the essence of the Sacrament of Marriage: a sacred union, instituted by Christ, between a man and a woman.

In the words of the Catholic Bishops of the United States in their letter “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan”, “Marriage is a lifelong partnership of the whole of life, of mutual and exclusive fidelity, established by mutual consent between a man and a woman, and ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation of offspring.”

God is Bigger than a Pandemic

By now, we probably do not want to hear anything else about COVID-19 and its effects on our lives. The whole world has changed because of this pandemic. There are many adaptations, changes, and new ways of doing things.

We might feel stressed, afraid, and impatient.

That is when we need to remember Saint Teresa of Avila, the founder of the Discalced Carmelite nuns from Spain, words:

“Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things are passing away;
God never changes,
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing,
God alone suffices.”

In the midst of all these changes, we need to remember that some things never change! If you just got engaged during this difficult time, do not get stressed and do not get disappointed. The wonderful news is that the love that brought you two together has not changed. The desire to start a family together has not changed and certainly God has not changed!

Here is some practical advice to help you keep the focus on what is important. You will realize that these essential aspects of life have not been affected by the pandemic.

Focus On God

Keep your focus on God, your faith and in the sacrament of Marriage. Let God be the center of attention during this time of preparation for your wedding day and for your new life as a married couple. Make it a habit to spend some time in prayer, both individually and as a couple. Let God be the point of encounter between you and your fiancé(e). Share prayer time together, pray for each other, pray for your future life as a married couple.

Be intentional about starting marriage preparation classes early. Even though live/traditional events are rarely occurring at the church, marriage preparation is still happening. There are many options to complete your preparation for marriage. Online Pre-Cana is a great option, now that meeting in-person with a sponsor couple or a priest/deacon might be more challenging.

Small, Intimate Wedding Celebration

The wedding Mass must be the center of your attention. Check with the church where you will celebrate your marriage and ask for the protocols they are observing for celebrations of weddings. Ask about the number of people allowed in the church and then plan your guests list according to that number.

Plan a small and intimate wedding celebration, with only close friends and family. Think about those people in your life that have been instrumental for you and your fiancé(e). Think about those people in your life that you really want to be a part of your new life as a married couple. They are the ones who really need to be there with you at this important moment of your life.


We pray that your engagement is a blessed time of prayer, reflection, and preparation for a wonderful married life together. We pray that the Lord will give you His peace as you prepare to start a life together as a husband and wife. Remember to make Him the center of your life!

Your friends at The Marriage Group

When we ask couples who are preparing for marriage, “Why do you want to get married in the Catholic Church?” sometimes the answers include…. “It is a family tradition”, or … “it is the right thing to do”, or “our family expects it”.

But there are deeper and more important reasons why a Catholic should get married in the Catholic Church:

Helps Us Fulfill Our Baptismal Promises

Getting married in the Catholic Church helps us to fulfill our Baptismal Promises. These are those promises that our parents and godparents did for us before God in our Baptism and that later in our life were renewed by us when we celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation.

Gives Us Graces

Getting married in the Catholic Church gives us graces. First there is an increase in Sanctifying Grace, which makes the couple spiritually stronger. Also the couple receive Sacramental Grace of Matrimony, which:

    • Perfects the natural love of husband and wife;
    • Elevates this love to a supernatural level which far surpasses mere mental and physical compatibility.
    • Gives to marital love a sanctifying quality, making it an instrument for growth in holiness and marriage a path to sainthood.
    • Imparts conscientiousness in the begetting and rearing of children.
    • Gives prudence in the innumerable problems consequent upon family life.
    • Enables husband and wife to adjust to one another’s shortcomings and to bear with one another’s faults.

Creates A Bond Between the Spouses

Getting married in the church, creates a bond between the spouses, “From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” (CCC1638) So we can say that there is a special strength that is created when a couple gets married in the Catholic Church.

These are only a few of the many reasons why it is important for Catholics to get married in the Catholic Church. We hope that through the preparation for marriage and in your married life you will discover the great benefits that this Sacrament will bring to your union.

Aside from our wedding day, New Year’s Eve in 2018 was the best day of my life. Jake, my best friend and boyfriend of five years, proposed. We were elated, ringing in the new year bearing the excitement of becoming husband and wife. But after the lively FaceTime sessions, house calls, and champagne toasts, reality sat in — we were planning a wedding in eight months.

And so it began. My mother toiled away on her computer creating wedding-related spreadsheets. Jake and I spent countless evenings in our living room discussing tuxedos, invitations, and DJ playlists. Bridesmaids eagerly pinned updos and floral arrangements to my now-shamelessly public wedding Pinterest board. Everything was falling beautifully into place.

As we crossed things off our master list, one task that we didn’t manage to tackle early on was Pre-Cana. There are a few reasons why:

  • We both work full-time, so our schedules were booked solid.
  • Wedding planning was taking up all of our time, energy, and money.
  • Taking any hours-long class that includes group participation is daunting.

Weighing Our Pre-Cana Options

The first logical step for us was to meet with the priest, so we made an appointment at my childhood parish. During this first meeting, we were bombarded with paperwork, including a sheet of approved Pre-Cana classes. Later that night, I sat down to Google each parish-approved Pre-Cana course. While each couple hosting the classes seemed terrific, it was the little details that prevented me from booking. One class was 30 miles away. Another cost upwards of $200. And one was absurdly long. None of those Pre-Cana options were ideal.

Luckily, one of the options was an online Pre-Cana course. Since I grew up in a traditional Catholic family, the idea hadn’t even occurred to me. So we went online and learned about Living Our Faith in Love. After browsing their website, we knew this was the route we wanted to take.

Our Experience With Living Our Faith in Love

Opting for an online marriage prep course took a huge weight off our shoulders. Instead of setting aside an entire weekend for Pre-Cana, we could take the course at our own pace in the comfort of our own home.

And that’s exactly what we did. Over the next few weeks, Jake and I carved out time to get comfortable on the couch, curl up with our two beagles and cat, and watch marriage prep videos.

Our Top Three Favorite Things About This Pre-Cana:

1: The Content

We were pleasantly surprised that the content in this Pre-Cana course offers a modern take on traditional values. The people in the videos shared anecdotes that are relatable to younger generations living a modern lifestyle but still express the critical aspects of building a lasting marriage.

2: The Built-In Discussion Time

Each bit of the course includes prompts to discuss key takeaways with your partner, which was an excellent opportunity for us to dive into tough subjects like family and faith. Jake and I found the section on communication particularly helpful — we still cite our learnings from that part of the course to help us move past conflicts.

3: The Flexibility

One of the best things about using Living Our Faith in Love for marriage prep was the flexibility of the course. We never felt pressured by time restraints typical in a classroom setting, and we took all the time we needed to hash out complex discussions. Plus, we were able to get our Certification of Completion on our own schedule.

At the end of the course, we felt accomplished, fulfilled, and happy with our decision to take Pre-Cana online — and Living Our Faith in Love made the whole process easy.

Living Our Faith in Love - Online Pre-Cana

Lent is a time of preparation for the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has established this time as a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving so we can be spiritually ready to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.

This time of preparation lasts 40 days. The number 40 is used in the Bible many times as a time of preparation for something else that is to come: in the story of the flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7: 4-12); Moses was in the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28); the people of Israel wondered in the desert for 40 years (Joshua 5:6) and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry (Matthew 4: 1-2).

Lent and Engaged Couples

If you are engaged to be married, Lent is a great time of prayer and reflection and a time of preparation. If you are wondering if you can be married in the Catholic Church during lent, click here to access a great blog that explains that.

Since Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, it is also an invitation for you and your fiancé to prepare for the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony.

Preparation takes different forms: you can attend a retreat organized by your parish or your diocese, you can attend marriage preparation classes either as a group or one on one with a sponsor couple, and you can also attend online marriage preparation classes here. All these forms of marriage preparation are accepted by the church and are available to you.

Lent and Married Couples

If you recently got married in the Catholic Church and you are starting to build your own family and your own family traditions, Lent is a great time to establish some practices that are spiritually important for both of you.

Start by telling each other how each of your families of origin prepared for Easter during this time of Lent.

Did you attend reconciliation as a family? Did you practice fasting and almsgiving in a special way? Once you have shared all these stories with each other, establish your own Lenten practices.

What do you want to do during Lent now that you are married? Make sure to include time for prayer, both as a couple and individually, fasting and almsgiving.

Lent and Families

Lent gives families an opportunity to come together for prayer and to reflect on the things we want to change. It is important to highlight the aspects of forgiving, reconciliation, and accepting one another in the family. Family prayer before meals is a special time to be thankful for what we have and to ask God to help us be aware of those around us who are less fortunate. Nighttime prayers are also a good moment to stop and reflect on what we did wrong and who did we offend during the day.

Practicing the corporal works of mercy as a family is also a good Lenten practice, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc., are all activities that the whole family can practice.

Lent is an invitation to all of us to change our ways (convert) and start a new life with the Risen Lord in the Resurrection at Easter. Let us make good use of these 40 days and really make a change in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Many blessings on this Lenten Season

There are many beautiful places where a couple may want to celebrate their wedding. Some of these places may even have a special meaning to that couple. Maybe that’s the place where they met, or maybe that’s the place where they dreamed of going together as a married couple. Whatever the reasons why the couple may want to celebrate their wedding at a place that is not a Catholic church, it is important for the couple to know the Church’s position on the celebration of weddings at places that are not a Catholic church.

The Wedding and The Marriage

In order to address this question properly, we need to remember that a wedding ceremony has so many spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical implications that tend to be forgotten when we focus our attention in the beauty of the physical space, such as the floral arrangements or the decorations of the “wedding.” In other words, a couple needs to maintain focus on the Sacrament of Marriage, not just the physical details of the wedding ceremony.

Let us remember that a Catholic wedding is the ritual through which a Sacrament takes place; the Sacrament of Marriage. This is the reason why the Church requires that the ceremony be held in a proper space; a Catholic parish. Christ, who honored the wedding at Cana with his presence, is also present in the Eucharist when the wedding ceremony takes place inside the church.

Outside Wedding

The Code of Canon Law says, “Marriages are to be celebrated in a parish where either of the contracting parties has a domicile… With the permission of the proper ordinary or proper pastor, marriages can be celebrated elsewhere.” (Canon 1115)

It looks like the Code of Canon Law may allow the wedding to be celebrated “elsewhere,” with the authorization of the local bishop, but it is almost impossible to obtain such authorization. Bishops are very reluctant to grant authorization for outdoor weddings by a Catholic parish, because they are concerned with maintaining a sense of the sacred, which is precisely what happens at a Catholic wedding ceremony — it is a sacred sacramental occasion.

The reasons why a local bishop may grant authorization for a catholic wedding to be celebrated elsewhere include political, cultural or even for safety reasons. One example may be when a church building planned for hosting the wedding ceremony has suffered structural damage, due to earthquakes or other natural disasters. As we stated previously, these circumstances are highly unusual.

A wedding is a special moment in the life of the new family that is beginning. We encourage you to focus all of your attention and efforts in making it a memorable event that will emphasize the sacredness of the occasion through the exchange of the promises that will make this an everlasting covenant.

Marriage preparation? What is that? What’s the point of doing Pre-Cana?

“My fiance and I have decided to get married in the Catholic Church. Why are we being asked to take classes?”

These are all real and legitimate questions that many couples ask when they learn that they need to complete a marriage preparation program (Pre-Cana) in order to get married in the Catholic Church.

Let us examine some of the reasons why the Church asks engaged couples to take classes before they get married.

Why Is It Required?

Everything in life takes formation, preparation, and getting ready. Before we go on a trip, we pack our bags, we look at a map, we purchase airline tickets, etc. Before we graduate from college, we have to study and pass several classes — it takes years!

Important things in life take a time of preparation and formation in order for them to be successful. Same with marriage! It is a very important decision; one that will change the way we live our lives. Therefore, it is a decision that requires an important period of formation and preparation, both individually and as a couple.

First, let us look at the sacrament of marriage in the teaching of the Catholic Church. Marriage or Matrimony is one of the seven sacraments of the Church, together with Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. Two of these are considered the sacraments of service (Marriage and Holy Orders). The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions them:

“Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.” (CCC1534)

There is a connection between marriage and service that we usually miss or that nobody explains to couples preparing for matrimony. Marriage consecrates us to serve others: our spouse and, if we have them, our children, and the rest of the community. Marriage is a ministry — our first ministry — and it is in their marriage where the spouses serve each other. Together, they serve their family and the whole community.

This is the reason why the Church takes so seriously the preparation for these sacraments. Priests have to study for years (six to eight years) before they receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Husband and Wife also need to prepare themselves to become fully informed of the commitment and the responsibility that comes with marriage.

Why Is It Important?

Marriage preparation is not only learning about the religious, spiritual, or theological aspects of the sacrament of marriage (even though these are important elements that are present in every marriage preparation course).

Preparation for marriage also includes practical elements that will help the couple in those “day-to-day aspects” of forming a new family. Family of origin, money matters, conflict resolution, intimacy and sexuality, and several more are important topics that will help the couple deal with important issues that we often forget to talk about before and during marriage.

Therefore, how can we answer the question that many couples ask, “What’s the point of doing Pre-Cana?” We understand that, because it is a sacrament and commitment for a lifetime that moves us to serve others, we need an appropriate period of preparation to be fully informed of what that entails. Also, the Church sees the time of immediate preparation (approximately six months before the wedding) as a time of discernment; a time to think and reflect on what the new life that a husband and wife are beginning together will look like.

Immediate preparation for marriage should include not only marriage preparation classes, but also a personal time of preparation. It is wise for each individual to take time alone to think and reflect on the important step that they are about to take. Take time to pray and talk with God about the future family about to be formed.

What’s the Point?

So, what’s the point of doing Pre-Cana? The points include:

  • Prepare yourself to serve your spouse
  • Prepare yourself to serve the family
  • Prepare yourself to serve the community
  • Time to talk to God
  • Time to think and reflect

It is our hope that this time of preparation for matrimony will be a joyful experience in your life and that, through this time, you learn to discover the beauty and wonder of the sacrament of marriage. Be blessed!

You are getting married in the Catholic Church. Congratulations!

Now that the big decision is made and you have decided to begin this process, you may have heard about “Pre-Cana” and you may be wondering what it is and how will it benefit you and your future spouse.

First, what is Pre-Cana?

Simply put, Pre-Cana is a marriage preparation course, class, or consultation for couples who will be married in a Catholic Church.

Let us take a look at the first miracle that Jesus performed; it actually happened at a wedding. The town where this wedding was celebrated was called Cana and Jesus, his mother, and his friends were invited.

So, this is where the word Cana comes from; the town where Jesus performed his first miracle and it happened at a wedding. For this reason, the preparation offered by the Church to engaged couples is called Pre-Cana. In other words, “before the wedding.”

Pre-Cana programs are organized and/or approved by either a diocesan office or a parish and they can be presented in different formats.

What Happens During Pre-Cana?

In a “Pre-Cana” experience, you will prepare for the sacrament of marriage. You and your future spouse will have an opportunity to discuss very important topics, including Family of Origin, Spirituality of Marriage, Money Matters, Conflict Resolution, Intimacy and Sexuality, Theology of Marriage, and more. It is important that you reflect with openness and honesty about these topics and that you share your reflections with your fiancé(e). Pre-Cana events will provide you with opportunities for prayer, reflection, and sharing with your fiancé(e).

The Pre-Cana program that you experience will likely be one of the following formats:

  • A series of weekly meetings with a sponsor/mentor couple, oftentimes at their home
  • A weekend retreat with other engaged couples
  • An online course
  • A series of meetings with your priest or deacon

All of the organized and systematic experiences that help you and your fiancé(e) to prepare for marriage are collectively called Pre-Cana. The church offers them to you as a tool to help you and your fiancé(e) better prepare for marriage.

The Marriage Group is excited to provide you with an online Pre-Cana experience that is flexible, on-demand, current, and fun to use! Our online courses offer you the same course content that is covered in the other Pre-Cana experiences, but in the comfort of your own home.

If you have already completed our courses, we hope you will share your experience with others. If you are planning to use our courses, it is our hope that you will enter into this time of preparation and formation with your fiancé(e) with an open heart and mind.

Be assured of our prayers and support for your future marriage!

“There are a number of legitimate ways to structure programmes of marriage preparation, and each local Church will discern how best to provide a suitable formation without distancing young people from the sacrament.” (Amoris Laetitia #207)

As diocesan or parish leaders, we are often faced with those “special cases”. There’s always someone who can’t attend our Pre-Cana workshops or Marriage Preparation retreats we prepared for them. Sometimes the schedules don’t work for everyone, or sometimes distance, professions, school and work can also be a factor.

When that happens and when those couples come to us requesting help with marriage preparation but, due to different circumstances, they can’t attend the diocesan or parochial programs we offer, the church calls us to offer them other options so they can complete their marriage preparation.

These options include online marriage preparation, so we don’t distance the couple from the sacrament of marriage but encourage them to get closer to God and the church.

In this blog post, we will explore our attitudes as ministers towards the utilization of methods of marriage preparation that may not be the traditional way in which we have always done things.

Let us open our minds and our hearts to new ways of reaching out to those who need our services.

1. Be Open to Try Something New

New things always bring with them an element of fear of the unknown, this is completely normal. There are two attitudes we can have towards fear: we can either be paralyzed by it and do nothing, or we can face that fear and overcome it.

Remember what the Bible says so many times: “Be not afraid” (Joshua 1:9).

Fear can be transformed into fuel that will move us towards action. We usually fear what we don’t know, therefore, if we don’t know much about online learning and online marriage preparation, let us learn more about it. Ask the experts, ask the professionals, consult with your peers, those who have already used online marriage preparation programs, and see what their experience is with online courses.

Consult with us! At The Marriage Group we have a great group of friendly professionals with tons of experience who will be more than happy to answer your questions and enter into a conversation with you about what is the best course of action for the needs of your diocese or parish.

Most importantly look at the reality with a new set of glasses and be open to what technology offers us today, a whole new way of doing ministry and reaching out to even more people than before.

2. Get to Know Your Audience

The Millennial Generation.  Once you have overcome your own fears, it is time to get to know this new audience that also need your pastoral attention and care. They are called millennials; this generation grew up with digital devices that facilitate communication, learning and connectivity.

They not only expect technology to be present everywhere, but they also expect this technology to work for them, to facilitate their lives and solve their problems.  For the millennials, the online experience is real life experience, the world is smaller, the distances are shorter. They communicate with family and friends using technology. The sense of community and the concept of church for the millennials is completely different than that of other generations.

How are we, as ministers of the church, going to respond to the needs of millennials?

Are we brave enough to say “welcome” to a generation that uses technology as a way to communicate, learn, engage and interact? That’s exactly what online marriage preparation offers.

Online marriage preparation is an opportunity for millennials to engage in a church that welcomes them as they are and where they are at, with their busy schedules, with distance challenges, with work and study obstacles, etc.

For the millennials the online experience comes naturally. Watching a video and reflecting about it with their fiance via Facetime, reflecting about it and writing down their thoughts on their iPads, is as enriching for them  as attending an 8 hour talk may be for other generations.

Let us show millenials that they also have a place at the table and that they are also members of the Body of Christ!

3. Trust the Couple

One of the temptations that we may face when deciding to use online marriage preparation is to want to treat the couples as children subjecting them to “tests” or “quizzes”  to make sure they actually watched the videos and answered all the questions.

It is proven that in sacramental preparation (First Eucharist and Confirmation) testing the children or youth is actually counterproductive.

Can we measure and give a grade to our faith? Can we evaluate the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives?  Can we put a number on our conversion process?

If we have stopped testing children for First Communion and Confirmation, why do we still want to test couples who go through online marriage preparation?

We need to remember that these couples are adults and as adults we need to treat them with respect and trust.

The online experience of marriage preparation (videos, discussion guide and affirmation exercises)  gives us (ministers) the tools that will clearly show us if  the couple went through the contents of the videos and the questions offered for reflection and sharing. But we need to resist the temptation to submit the couple to a test and offer them a space where they can enter into an adult conversation about the contents of the online course and what they learned.

As ministry leaders we like the advantages of having a toolbox, a place where we can go and obtain answers to our questions without having to recreate the wheel.  Online marriage preparation can be a great tool in your ministry toolbox.

We realize that what you are doing in your ministerial setting, either diocesan or paroquial, is excellent! You are doing a wonderful job! But what are you doing for those couples that do not fit into the schedules of your class sessions? What are you doing for those who have valid reasons or conflicts with your marriage preparation courses?

We are here as an option for you and we are here to partner with you and to offer you one more tool for your toolbox. Let’s work together!