Church launches survey on marriage preparation
A new survey on Catholic marriage preparation has been launched by the Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Marriage and Family Life at the start of Marriage Week in the UK (8-14 February).
Bishop John Hine has invited all those involved in preparing couples for marriage to take part in the survey, including priests, deacons and marriage preparation providers as well as the couples themselves.
Launching the survey, the Rt Rev John Hine described the sacrament of matrimony as “a blessing that lasts for a lifetime, not just the day of the ceremony”.
He underlined that preparation for matrimony, which he described as “such a great commitment”, was “an essential step in the journey towards marriage”.
The Bishop of Southwark said he had discussed the survey, which seeks to better understand how couples are currently prepared for marriage, during his visit to the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome last week.
“They welcomed the survey which will undoubtedly give us a much better indication of how we can further develop this vital family ministry in the future”, he explained.
The survey aims to look at how many people are involved in marriage preparation, their background and experience, as well as what they offer to couples preparing for the sacrament of matrimony.
It also aims to identify how many couples are being prepared for marriage by the Catholic community and how many couples experience the ministry of the Catholic community.
Elizabeth Davies, Marriage and Family Life Project Officer, said she was “delighted that the Committee have launched this inquiry into marriage preparation”.
She added that the survey would “yield a great deal of useful information that will help us better understand the ways in which this critical form of sacramental preparation is delivered.”
Ms Davies said she was “especially keen to encourage participation from priests and from marriage preparation providers who are not affiliated to any national or diocesan programme”.
To mark Marriage Week in the UK, a Mass of thanksgiving will be held in the Diocese of Shrewsbury on Saturday 13 February a 2pm in St Columba’s Church, Chester, while on Sunday 14 February, St Valentine’s Day, Archbishop Vincent Nichols will lead prayers at the annual celebration of marriage and family life in Liverpool Cathedral at 3pm.