The Marriage Catechumenate
Classes/Initiatives offered as part of the Marriage Catechumenate:
Phase 1: Encounter
Foundational to the catechumenate is the proclamation of the Kerygma--the initial proclamation of The Gospel. Pope Francis himself has specifically identified the KErygma as being an essential element of the preparation of marriage. Here in the Diocese of Lansing, we are well equipped to incorporate this element as we have been focusing on encounter opportunities in our parishes as part of Bishop Boyea's pastoral letter and initiative of evangelization. Thus, as the first step of their catechumenate, the engaged couple, and their mentor couple with them, if possible, should attend on of the manny encounter opportunities available at their parish or a neighboring parish if necessary.
The word “kerygma” is Greek for “the gospel” or “the good news.” Kerygma Encounter is a day spent with our loving God; Father, Son, and Spirit. The focus of this retreat experience is to bring you to a new encounter, both in mind and heart, with Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, drawing closer into the heart of the Father.
The Kerygma Encounter experience consists of several components; opportunities for quiet listening, assent, healing, and rejoicing. The day consists of the essential Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in brief but compelling talks, times of direct and private conversations with the Lord, Eucharistic Adoration, powerful community prayer, and sharing encouragement and joy with each other in quiet conversation.
Since Kerygma Encounter was developed in the Diocese of Lansing in 2015, more than fifteen hundred committed Catholics around the state of Michigan have been formed and transformed by the experience (including priests, deacons, and the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist!!) Kerygma Encounter is now used as a first step to catechist training; it's being incorporated into marriage preparation; and it has been appropriated for use as a Confirmation Retreat for teens. Participants have said so many marvelous things about Kerygma Encounter: "I needed this so badly", and "I FINALLY met Jesus!" and "The prayer times were POWERFUL!!" and "I'm coming back to do this again!!"
If you have questions about hosting a Kerygma Encounter please contact Brian Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the schedules, select this link: https://www.dioceseoflansing.org/vocations/marriage-and-family-events
Alpha for Catholics
Christ Renews His Parish
Life in the Spirit Seminars
Other Encounter Opportunites Approved by the Parish Pastor
Phase 2: Formation
The Formation forms the main body of content communicated to the engaged couple and is made up of three main elements; an education in life and relationship skills, a training in the spiritual and theological truth of marriage, and finally a liturgical catechesis of the Rite of Matrimony itself so they may best perform their function as the principle ministers of the sacrament.
Life Skills Options Include:
A Lasting Promise
A Lasting Promise is a Christian communication and relationship enhancement program that is designed to teach couples communication skills and techniques for handling conflict and promoting intimacy with the aim of preventing future problems and divorce. This program emphasizes constructive arguing techniques that allow couples to adjust their communication styles and achieve more positive and intimate communication in a Christian setting. Other key topics include: Values, Beliefs, Expectations, and Commitment.
To find and register for a class in your area, please visit one of the following Catholic Charities Organizations within the Diocese of Lansing at our events page: https://www.dioceseoflansing.org/vocations/marriage-and-family-events
ePREP is the online platform for PREP, Inc. that produces evidence-based resources for educators, programs, and therapists to support their work in helping others have healthy and happy relationships. Their relationship education curricula are founded in research on prevention and resiliency.
- If there are no A Lasting Promise classes available in your area during a time when you are available, talk to your parish Marriage Prep Coordinator (who could be your pastor) about the possibility of going through ePREP instead. It is a program that the Diocese of Lansing has vetted.
*If you are a Parish Marriage Prep Coordinator and would like to register a couple for the ePREP program, please visit the sidebar section of this web page under "Resources" labeled "FOR PARISH USE ONLY"
Alpha for Marriage Prep
Financial Peace University
Marriage & The Blended Family Retreat
Typical marriage education programs and ministries are not sufficient for couples entering into blended family marriages. Since marriage in a stepfamily is a "package deal" you must minister to both the couple and "the package”. This requires addressing dynamics related to ex-spouses and co-parenting, loss, stepparenting, spiritual shame, finances, and the expectations of both children and adults--just to name a few”. To do anything less is grossly inadequate to prevent divorce. The Smart Stepfamilies program, created by author, therapist, and blended family expert Ron L. Deal, brings together these different aspects a stepfamily will encounter, in order to empower blended family couples and their extended family for successful family living.
The Remarriage Retreat is a way for couples to come together in a non-threatening setting to learn about the challenges that will be experienced, as well as children entering into a stepfamily. It is also an opportunity for a couple to, possibly for the first time, begin to focus on previously unknown information or previously undiscussed topics that will bring challenges and begin the process of sharing with each other how this will be addressed within their new family dynamic.
All the Facilitators have journeyed through the trials and blessings of living in their own blended family and are willing to share their stories and help with the questions the attending couples may have.
If you are interested in attending this retreat, please reach out to Liz Neuens in the Office of Marriage & Family Life (email@example.com).
Catechetical Options Include:
Preparing to Live in Love
Joy Filled Marriage
Phase 3: Purification & Synthesis
The third phase is a time of final preparation for the couple to reflect on what they've learned, to root it more deeply in their heart, and engage in spiritual preparation for the Rite of Matrimony.
Phase 4: Mystagogy or Living Marriage
Taking cues from the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of mystagogy for the marriage catechumenate will focus on deepening the understanding and experience of the sacramental life as well as a further drawing into the life of the community. Because of this, the mystagogy should entail three pillars:
- A continuation of the mentor relationship as friendship
- Inclusion in small groups
- Continuing formation in the family as Domestic Church along with the life skills of marriage
Options for Plugging Couples into Community Include but are not Limited to:
Christian Family Movement
The Christian Family Movement strives to equip families to intentionally address the concerns facing families in modern society, to help them discover ways to grow in holiness themselves and as families, and, ultimately, to bring the light of Christ into their environments.
The primary objectives of CFM are the Christian formation of its members through repeated small acts of service and the constant effort to extend one's influence. To effect change in one's life and one’s environment even in very little ways, creates "training-through-action" which is at the heart of the movement.
Through the Jocist Method of social inquiry (observe, judge, act) pioneered by Servant of God Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, CFM members are empowered to transform their good intentions into actions.