As leaders of the Preparation of the Sacrament of Matrimony ministry at the Church of Saint Paul in Ham Lake, MN, we first discovered Marriage Ministries’ Catholic Marriage Prep Class on-line program when we were looking for ways to conduct distance preparation with engaged couples where one of them were in the military. What we found was a program that could be used not only for distance preparation, but also for engaged couples who were meeting on site with our Sponsor Couples. Here’s how it works for us!
“The response from our Sponsor Couples has been very positive. It takes a lot of pressure off them.”
First, we pre-pay for a block of ten online Catholic Marriage Prep Classes. This allows up to incorporate the program into our preparation process more easily. We also subsidize a large portion of the cost of the program and do not pass the entire cost onto the engaged couple.
When an engaged couple decides to receive their preparation at our parish, we assign them to one of our fourteen Sponsor Couples. We also advise them that, in addition to their meetings with the Sponsor Couple, they have also been registered for an internet-based Catholic marriage preparation program. We let them know that these on-line videos and exercises will enhance their preparation experience and provide them with information that will be applicable throughout their marriage.
We ask the engaged couples that, prior to getting together with their Sponsor Couple, we would like them to complete three courses as well as their corresponding Reflection Exercises. We let them know that each video course will take between 13 and 20 minutes to complete and that they should make every attempt to view these programs together as a couple. The courses that we initially assign to them are Marriage as a Sacrament, Family of Origin, and Communication. This way, when they meet with their Sponsor Couple, there is a base of information that provides for a positive discussion.
Throughout the next seven sessions with their Sponsor Couple, they will be assigned various program segments that directly relate to their needs, based upon the results of their premarital inventory. Some of our Sponsor Couples choose to assign the programs to be reviewed at the next session. Other Sponsor Couples choose to view the programs along with the engaged during their sessions.
The response from our Sponsor Couples has been very positive. It takes a lot of pressure off them. Instead of having to “instruct,” they can now “facilitate” the Preparation for Matrimony process. Our engaged couples also enjoy the program because they can view the sessions in the privacy of their home and have discussions prior to meeting with their Sponsor Couple.
Joe & Lisa Budnick
Church of Saint Paul
Marriage Preparation Coordinators