How to Bring New Couples to Your Parish
Preparation for the sacrament of marriage used to happen at the dinner table. The best preparation came from the family that you grew up in. Unfortunately, with the changes in our culture, including the very high divorce rate, couples often receive this sacrament without ever seeing a healthy marriage relationship.
JPII called for formalized marriage prep. However, over the past 40 years, the marriage prep process has never quite become the vision that Pope John Paul II longed for. The retreats and sessions with our priests are good, but unfortunately, most couples treat these as a check-list, hoops to jump through in order to get to the altar.
But our desire is to evangelize when couples come to us. We want to invite these couples into the family of the Church.
One way to provide this is through the Mentor Couple Model of marriage prep. This solution drops the divorce rate of couples who go through it to 5% and increases the parish’s rate of retaining their couples after marriage to 70-90%.
Parish Marriage Prep Resources:
- Bring Witness to Love to My Parish – Witness to Love (WTL)
- WTL-The-Difference.pdf (witnesstolove.org) The full implementation of Witness to Love at a parish (averaging 17 marriages/year) in 2012 took the divorce rate from 23% to 0% each year over the last four years. Further, all parishes implementing Witness to Love report a divorce rate of less than 5.8% at the five-year mark. Even more, reports show that newly married couples still attend Mass and are active in their parish years after their wedding day; parishes report a 70-90% increase in Church attendance and involvement.
- WTL_8Steps_Explained_Be_Light-Flyer.pdf (witnesstolove.org) (8 Step Marriage Mentoring Process for Parishes + Marriage Enrichment Program)
- FOCCUS | Become a FOCCUS Facilitator (foccusinc.com)
- Joy-Filled Marriage – Ascension (ascensionpress.com) (Ascension Press parish resource for marriage prep)
Parish Marriage Enrichment Resources:
- The Choice Wine – Paradisus Dei
- Be Light: A Marriage Formation Movement by Witness to Love
- Three Secrets to Holiness in Marriage | Ave Maria Press
Domestic Church Movements:
Continue the Conversation
Jim Jansen – Director of Pastoral Services, Archdiocese of Omaha
Rachael Tvrdy – Coordinator, Marriage Preparation and Enrichment