The first Building Block is the work of BUILDING leaders and establishing a Team. This Building Block begs the questions, does “Our Parish provide programs and effective catechesis that help youth and young adults discuss, understand and defend the unique meaning of marriage in the face of contemporary challenges?” Does our “Faith formation programs and catechetical curriculum include components at every level that address healthy relationships and the vocation of marriage?” Proximate preparation begins around puberty and involves a more specific preparation for the sacraments, including an understanding of healthy relationships, sexuality, the virtue of chastity, and responsible parenthood.
While teaching a class on the Sacrament of Marriage to Middle and High Schoolers, I showed the video produced by the Committee of the USCCB for Laity, Marriage, Family and Youth called: MADE FOR EACH OTHER. Following it, I asked the class if they had any questions. I received four: “If two people of the same sex want to get married, is that a marriage?” “Is Divorce a sin?” “Can I get married on the Beach?” and the final one, “When will you know it’s the right
person to marry?” You would have thought I gave them the questions to ask. While it gave me a chance to answer these teens, I’ve wondered often about the questions our youth have that are going unanswered. They do have questions. We need to provide a means for them to ask them.
Also important, are the Single Adults of the Parish. In “Unmarried & Unnoticed: the untold story of single Catholics in the Church,” it encourages us to consider the eerily quiet limbo single Catholics find themselves in as marriage is delayed and religious vocations decrease. “The Church has no formal reason to serve them, no set program or routine ministry,” is noted, and some consider themselves invisible. They’re hungry for fellowship. They’re eager to share their
time, talent and treasure. And they’re desperate to be drawn into the warm fold of the Church. What are we waiting for? Let’s help them build healthy relationships. Let’s include them in the programs designed to teach skills. Let’s be certain they are represented on our Marriage Ministry Team.
- A Dating/Relationship course for adolescents is offered.
- The beauty of sexuality and the church’s teachings on marriage are taught effectively to our youth.
- Single adults are given opportunities for relationship education.
- Our church provides programs and effective curriculum for youth and single adults to discuss, understand and defend the unique meaning of marriage in the face of contemporary challenges.
- Recruit some solid, young married couples to offer the program “Matrimony—an Invitation to Live in Love,” by Ron & Kathy Feher and Fr. Chuck Gallagher, SJ. It is available through the Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Center (PMRCusa@msn.com) and is best done as small groups of teens with a lead couple. Utilizes exercises and a couple’s witness help form our teens on marriage and relationships.
- Teach the Theology of the Body to youth and young adults.
- Show the video MADE FOR EACH OTHER from the USCCB Publications Office and create important discussions at a youth event.
- Have a “Junior-Senior” Prom where the teens of the parish host a dinner and dance for the 55+ “senior” couples. Let the teens sit once the meal is served, and listen to stories from these married couples lives.
- Offer a RELATIONSHIPS course for the single adults of the Parish. Invite singles to participate in any of the skills programs being taught.
- Include single Catholics on your Marriage Ministry Team to keep the needs of this group in the forefront of all planning.