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Covenant of Love: Marriage Preparation Policy Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan.

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Presentation on theme: "Covenant of Love: Marriage Preparation Policy Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Covenant of Love: Marriage Preparation Policy Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

2 The Crisis and Confusion of the Marriage Vocation The Familial Matrix in the culture obscures increasingly the meaning and importance of marriage: Often few positive, stable examples in couples lives/subsequently, fear of commitment Decrease in divorces (in number), but corresponding decrease in marriages [example: Diocese of Phoenix 1993 (1,542 total marriages) -2007 (1,389 total marriages)] Meteoric rise in cohabitation, with far less expectation of marital success Fundamental disconnect between marriage and children (loss of child-centeredness, Popenoe, 2006) Popular examples reinforce trend Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

3 2007 Births and Marriage Statistics 07 U.S. Births Break Baby Boom Record New York Times By ERIK ECKHOLMERIK ECKHOLM Published: March 18, 2009 More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than in any other year in American history, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics. …The 4,317,000 births in 2007 just edged out the figure for 1957, at the height of the baby boom. The increase reflected a slight rise in childbearing by women of all ages, including those in their 30s and 40s, and a record share of births to unmarried women. …The new report also found that the share of births to unmarried women of all ages reached a record high of 40 percent of all births in 2007, the most recent data available. This continued a marked trend upward in unwed births since 2002. The growth has mainly been fueled by increases among adult women, Ms. Ventura said. Racial and ethnic differences remain large: 28 percent of white babies were born to unmarried mothers in 2007, compared with 51 percent of Hispanic babies and 72 percent of black babies. The shares of births to unwed mothers among whites and Hispanics have climbed faster than the share among blacks, but from lower starting points. Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

4 The Magisteriums Exhortations During the 20 th Century, the Magisterium of the Church has explicitly taught with greater and greater urgency the need for more thorough preparation for marriage: Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI, 1930, Sections 112-115 Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II, 1965, Section 49 Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II, 1981, Section 51 Letter to Families, Pope John Paul II, 1994, Section 16 Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage, Pontifical Council for the Family, 1996 The US Conference of Catholic Bishops: 2004-2011, National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

5 The Goal for a Couple… The journey or conversion from a rather external and vague level of faith, typical of many young people, to a discovery of the "Christian mystery" is both essential and decisive: a faith that involves the communion of Grace and love with the Risen Christ. (Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage, 25) Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

6 Considerations in Developing Policy 1.Church teaching and signs of the times; (What?) 2.Laitys right to marriage in balance with duty to prepare. (What?) 3.Quality, effective approaches from other dioceses throughout the country which address these core points without overwhelming available resources; (How?) 4.Input from diocesan leaders: (Honing the What? How?) Priests Deacons Lay Leaders 5.Programs offering more thorough catechesis/evangelization regarding sacramentality and sexuality, while still being user-friendly, trainable; (How?) 6.NFP readiness; (When?) 7.Marketing aids to parishes (How best to assist?) Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

7 Diocese of Phoenix and MP Policy Initial Policy1978 2 nd Policy1998 3 rd Policy Draft Goal of PromulgationJuly 26, 2009 Goal of ImplementationJanuary 1, 2010 Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

8 Covenant of Love: Process of Development 1.2005Research begins; 2.2007Drafting team formed: Priests Lay Leaders in parish MP, Spanish MP 3.April 2008First Draft produced; 4.Summer 2008 Official Readers give input; 5.September 2008 Pres. Council; 6.Sept-Nov 2008Clergy review, give feedback, Presented for vote to Pres. Council; 7.Dec. 2008April 2009 Policy Committee review; 8.April 2009Current Draft produced Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

9 1998-2009: What is the difference? Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan 1998 Policy 1. Some analysis of current issues, explanation of Gods plan and Pastoral response to crisis 2. Parish/Diocesan programs encouraged 3. Basic trainings for MPMs and MPLs 4. Two courses required (approx. 14 hrs.) 5. Introduction to Natural Family Planning 6. Cost of Preparation: $140-300 (Dioc. schol. available with MPM request) 7. Six-month prep period 2009-10 Policy Draft 1. Analysis, diagnosis, theological understanding, pastoral response deepened 2. Parish/Diocesan/Online programs encouraged 3. More thorough training 4. Three courses required (approx. 26 hrs) 5. Full course in an approved method of NFP 6. Cost of Preparation: $250-$460 (Dioc. schol. available with MPM request) 7. Nine month prep period 8. Appendix updating pastoral approach to cohabitation/sexually active couples

10 So, a Couple arriving at the Parish Jan 1… 1.Jan 1: A couple meets with Pastor or his delegate, parish starts their Nuptial File. 2.Jan : FOCCUS inventory 3.Jan-Mar: Married Life Skills Course (weekend or 6-7 evenings)-ex: Love for Life, Engaged Encounter, Unitas or other approved program. 4.Mar-June: Gods Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage (weekend)- this will include an NFP Introduction 5.April- July: Full NFP Course (4 meetings) 6.Aug 15Sept 15: Reconciliation 7.Aug 1-Sept 1: Final meeting with Pastor or his delegate October 1 st Wedding Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

11 Brief Overview of Gods Plan Program for Couples Purpose: Deeper, more Evangelistic and Catechetical course in Sacramentality of Marriage and the Implications for a Couples sexual relationship. Formatsingle day or two-session, DVD/booklet and well-trained instructor couples, clergy (ideally a team of two couples and a priest or deacon) Six Segments: 1.Salvation History: Old Testament 2.Salvation History: New Testament 3.Canon Law: Defining Marriage 4.Sexual Honesty Before Marriage 5.Sexual Honesty Within Marriage 6.Intro to NFP Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

12 If what our Magisterium says is true… 1.The future of humanity passes by way of the family. (FC, Conclusion) 2.And, the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace. (Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Peace, 2008) 3.And, The fruitfulness of the Christian family in its specific service to human advancement, which of itself cannot but lead to the transformation of the world, derives from its living union with Christ… (FC, 62) 4.Then we believe a more adequate plan to meet the needs of our couples, continuing our diocesan leadership nationally in marriage preparation, is well overdue. This is the urgency, intermingled with an abiding trust in Gods providence, behind the Covenant of Love document. Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

13 Aiding the Process Brochure of Steps for couples; Videos: For couples: 20-24 min in length For Mass use: 5-6 min in length Website:; (purpose: explanation, catechesis and registration for any Diocesan courses) More thorough MP certification course; Trainings for parish personnel in Covenant of Love and related programs (see insert for current schedule in fall) Clergy Day May 5 '09 Mike Phelan

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