(Editor’s note: Following is the next installment of the Herald’s monthly series commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Office of Marriage and Family Life.)
COLORADO SPRINGS. Although weddings during the coronavirus pandemic look much different than in the past, couples are continuing to attend marriage preparation classes and enter into the sacrament of matrimony. Because so much of the diocesan marriage preparation program is available online, couples are able to finish the classes, including education in natural family planning (NFP), at their own pace while still observing social distancing requirements and travel restrictions.
“The online option allows couples to take their time in discussing every topic, allowing them to have long and deep conversations,” said Christian Meert, who along with his wife Christine founded Catholic Marriage Prep (www.CatholicMarriagePrep.com) and co-directs the Office of Marriage and Family Life. “It’s also very personal, and each engaged couple is personally mentored by a certified married couple.”
To get an overview of the positive impact the marriage preparation program has on engaged couples, the Herald compiled some of the feedback sent to the Meerts from the couples themselves as well as parish staff involved in marriage preparation.
One couple from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock went through the program to have their marriage convalidated.
“It has already given us a lot to think about and inspired us to pray more as a couple,” they said. “We are glad that we took this class and feel that it’s going to help us get going in a better direction that is closer to God’s path for us.”
Another Castle Rock couple said that they learned about NFP for the first time through Catholic Marriage Prep.
“Before I started this course, I was not informed about NFP, and after hearing the testimony from (Catholic speaker) Jason Evert, it really inspired us to practice NFP after marriage,” the engaged woman stated.
Priests and deacons who work with engaged couples also say the program has been invaluable in helping them to be thoroughly prepared.
“In my 57 years as a priest, I have never witnessed a more thorough preparation and such blessed feedback,” said a priest from the Diocese of Albany.
And a deacon in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe began recommending Catholic Marriage Prep to the roughly 80 engaged couples at his parish after the pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person classes.
“Considering the great success many of our couples have experienced, we give full credit to completion of the course,” he wrote.
The program also helps give couples from different religious backgrounds a clearer picture of the obstacles they might face after marriage.
One deacon in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, reported that a couple he was working with — a Catholic and a Hindu — were seriously looking at how their difference in religious faith would impact their marriage.
“I could see that they were very deeply considering the questions about faith differences and what they learned about the Catholic faith through Catholic Marriage Prep,” the deacon said.
For more information on marriage preparation requirements in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, visit www.diocs.org/Offices/Marriage-and-Family-Life.