OFFICE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE

Directors

Christian and Christine Meert

Phone: (719) 900-8229

Email: christian@catholicmarriageprep.com

www.CatholicMarriagePrep.com



Mission Statement

The Office of Marriage and Family Life assists pastors in their service to the "domestic Church" by offering a host of educational programs, events, services and resources designed to promote an authentic Catholic vision of marriage, human sexuality and family life. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Marriage preparation programs
  • Marriage enrichment programs
  • Natural Family Planning services

Christian and Christine Meert have dedicated their lives to preparing couples to live a happy and holy marriage. I am grateful that God called them to minister in our diocese.

Bishop Michael J. Sheridan

Christian and Christine Meert were married in France July 2, 1977. They have five daughters, and twelve grandchildren both in France and in the USA.

In 1984 they experienced a deep conversion and their family joined the Catholic Community of the Beatitudes in France in 1990 leaving everything behind: job, family, friends, house etc. In 1999, Archbishop Charles Chaput in the Archdiocese of Denver invited the Community to start a house of prayer in Denver. Christian and Christine were in charge of this new house until the summer of 2003 until the community, recognizing their talent in preparing couples for the sacrament of marriage, gave them the opportunity and time to focus more on their calling to help engaged couples. They founded Catholic Marriage Prep, LLC. which is dedicated to the building of strong Catholic marriages.

In July of 2005, Bishop Michael Sheridan re-opened the Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Diocese of Colorado Springs and hired Christian and Christine's organization to run it.


Free Parish Workshops

The Office of Marriage and Family Life is offering several workshops, free of charge, to all the parishes of the diocese.

I encourage all our parishes to take advantage of these helpful workshops. Contact Christian and Christine by phone at 719.471.9702 or email christian@catholicmarriageprep.com.

Bishop Michael J. Sheridan

I. Review of the Diocesan Marriage Prep Requirements

One and a half hour, mainly for marriage preparation ministers, minimum 20 people.

1 - Engaged Couples: who are they today? Demographics, today's socioeconomic situation, to help us better serve the engaged couples' needs.

2 - Review of the Colorado Springs Diocesan Marriage Prep Requirements.

3 - Q&A.

II. FOCCUS Certification and re-certification workshops


On a Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, minimum 5 couples.

FOCCUS Inc. requires all mentor couples to be certified or re-certified.

This workshop can be organized by several parishes, or at the deanery level.

III. Man and Woman in the Plan of God


Two hours, minimum 20 people.

This presentation is a sort of "instruction manual" for man and woman to understand their dignity as God’s beloved creatures.

It shows the beauty in their differences and helps understand how to function better together as a couple.

IV. Study Guide to John Paul II Theology of the Body.


Series of nine workshops of two and a half hours each, minimum 50 people.

Allows to actually read and understand John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and not only read books about John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

Workshop 1: Back to the Beginning.
Workshop 2: Original Humanity.
Workshop 3: Fallen Humanity.
Workshop 4: Redeemed Humanity.
Workshop 5: Glorified Humanity.
Workshop 6: Marriage the Primordial Sacrament.
Workshop 7: Living the Mystery.
Workshop 8: Love is Fruitful.
Workshop 9: Building a culture of Life.

Newsletters

Engaged Couples Parish Based Retreat.


The retreat is not mandatory in the Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Marriage Preparation requirements. It is strongly recommended and it is up to each Pastor to use his pastoral discretion in that matter.

Apart from existing diocesan retreats, like Engaged Encounter (http://www.engagedencounter.org/), there is a need for parish based retreats.

The obvious first goals of an engaged couples retreat is to feed them spiritually and give them the means to start a spiritual path together.

There is more:

These couples are the future of the Parish, of the Church and of Society.

The engaged couples getting married in the Catholic Church don’t always belong to a parish and may not even be practicing Catholics. A parish based retreat will give them a chance to:

 - Meet the Clergy and other couples:
During a parish based retreat these engaged couples will have a chance to meet with their priests and deacons, the Catechist of their future children; they will also have a chance to socialize with the other couples they will likely meet at Church.

- Understand the importance of belonging to the Parish and the Church:
It is a great opportunity for the parish to show these couples that the Catholic Church is a welcoming good mother; make them hear about the importance and benefits of practicing the Sacraments.

They can have a glimpse at what the Church can offer to them and their future families and what they could bring to the Parish.

The parish-based retreat is a way for the parish to recruit new blood.


Template for a Parish Based Retreat


Possible schedule for a one day retreat (Saturday)
- One or two teachings about the Sacrament of reconciliation and the Mass.

For example, give a teaching about the Sacrament of Reconciliation and offer them to receive this vital Sacrament.

- Take a long lunch break allowing them to meet the Clergy, some parish staff and the other couples. (It could be as simple as a brown bag lunch.)

- Meet with parish married couples, Catechists; discuss raising children in the Catholic Faith.

- Give a teaching about the Mass and the unfolding of the Mass.  Offer them to participate in the Saturday evening Mass.

They commit to go to Sunday Mass, but they may not fully understand the deep meaning of the Mass.

If they have a better, more spiritual understanding of the Mass it will make it more attractive to them, and motivate them to attend regularly.


Marriage Prep Step by Step


Before anything else, engaged couples need to first meet with their Pastor or Deacon. During this essential visit couples will understand the importance of the different steps. What is the next step? (More…)

From our experience and the feedback we get from engaged couples, the best would be for the engaged couples to start their preparation with the Catholic Marriage Prep course, that includes the spiritual and sacramental formation.

It will prepare them to understand better why they have to take the full NFP training.

It will also give them the opportunity to discuss many topics they hadn’t talked about and they will know each other better. That will prepare them for the FOCCUS. The meetings with their mentor couple will be much more beneficial and should avoid repetitions.

They can take the NFP or the FOCCUS as their following step or simultaneously.

We believe the retreat should conclude the whole marriage preparation process.