Congratulations! You are likely here because you are engaged and you are looking to enter into the beautiful vocation of marriage in the Catholic Church. What an exciting journey ahead! The Church rejoices in your desire to marry in the Church and we want to journey with you. It is our hope and prayer that you, as a couple, and your family will become a vibrant part of parish life wherever you are situated.
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership for the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (CCC 1601). A sacramental marriage is a marriage that includes God Himself, who is love, (1 Jn 4:8) as the centre. He leads us in all our ways, and He gives strength and direction to the couples who seek Him. Love, by its very nature, requires a giving and receiving by each person, and marriage requires this in an ongoing, sacrificial, and unconditional way which is modelled on the love of God Himself revealed to us in Jesus Christ.
The Sacrament of Marriage is a serious, lifelong commitment for which you want to be well prepared. We want to assist you in growing in your love for each other, as well as in your relationship with Christ and His Church. The Church cares about your marriage and takes the preparation process very seriously. Therefore, in the Diocese of Pembroke, Catholic marriage preparation is mandatory.
Once you have met with your parish priest, be sure to register for one of our marriage preparation programs hosted by a team of married couples and clergy. It is highly advisable to take the program at least six months before your wedding.
Here is a list of topics we will be covering within a program called GOD’S PLAN FOR A JOY-FILLED MARRIAGE:
Day #1 – Life Skills
- Discovering Your Marriage Mission
- The Fourfold Commitment of Married Love
- Seven Key Virtues of a Joy-Filled Marriage
- Bringing Your Goals into Focus
- Communicating Love – Learning and Respecting Love Styles
- Key Virtues for Communicating Better
- Resolving Conflict
- Managing Your Time, Money, and Energy
- Foster Intimacy in Marriage – Sexuality and Prayer
Day #2 – God’s Plan for Love
- God’s Plan for Marriage “In the Beginning”
- Christ restores God’s Plan for Marriage
- What are we saying “I do” to?
- Where the words of your vows become flesh
- The Beauty and Openness to Life (Natural Family Planning)
- Living God’s plan for Marriage – Prayer, Confession, Eucharist, Couple Testimony
The Diocesan two-day program is offered three times a year in various parishes within the Diocese. The fee is $100/ couple and consists of two Saturdays from 9:00 a.m – 4:30 p.m. Couples will receive workbooks to work from on both days and a beautiful journal for recording important information and to use in the years ahead. *Includes lunch on both days.Click Here to Register
Natural Family Planning
Natural Family Planning (NFP) allows a husband and wife to fully express their gift of love for one another while remaining open to life, in accordance with God’s plan for marriage and family. It is a natural way for spouses to regulate the spacing of their children. Studies show that NFP can be as effective as artificial contraception.
NFP is a simple but effective way of monitoring a woman’s fertility cycle based on a few basic symptoms. A couple can choose to abstain on those days, or they can engage in sexual relations in order to maximize their chances of conceiving.
Many couples choose NFP because it respects the ecology of the woman’s body, since it does not require the use of artificial substances and chemicals. They also testify that NFP helps to build a couple’s affection and communication, while experiencing a real sense of freedom rooted in love and respect for each other and for God. Click here to read more.
Couples who teach NPF in the Diocese of Pembroke:
- James and Ellie Hrkach: 613 623-7459 or Email – Pakenham -offered ONLINE or in person- Sympto-Thermal Method
- Dr. Rachel Helferty, ND: 613 635-7206 or Email – Pembroke, Lavallee Health Centre – Fertility Care Practitioner – Creighton Model
- Dave and Elena Afelskie: 613 756-7718 or Email – Barry’s Bay – Billings Ovulation Method
Diocesan “Celebrate Marriage” Dinner
This dinner is held to celebrate marriage and offer a time of marriage enrichment for married couples, from year to year, as we are able. There is a guest speaker, catered dinner, social time for couples and a short opportunity for adoration/exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, ending with a blessing for all couples, especially those celebrating a special anniversary.
Next “Celebrate Marriage” dinner – TBD
World Wide Marriage Encounter
World Wide Marriage Encounter (wwme.org) is a religious (Catholic) based weekend program designed to help married couples discover or rediscover the need for God in their marriages, improve their marriages, grow closer to each other, and improve their commitment to one another.
Retrouvaille (retrouvaille.org): This program, which gets its name from a French word meaning “rediscovery,” offers couples tools to establish (or rediscover) a loving marriage relationship. Thousands of couples experiencing difficulty establishing or maintaining happy relationships or headed for divorce have overcome their marital problems by attending the program.
See additional online resources by clicking here.
There are a number of helpful books on marriage in the office that can be lent out. Please contact us for more information.
Whether or not you had the opportunity to grow up in a faith filled family and were given loving instruction on the Catholic faith, you may find these Catholic family-friendly resources helpful. Please contact us if you have any other helpful resources that we can add here for other families to benefit from. We are all in this together, and so we need the tools other families have used and have benefited from. Thank you!
Summer Retreats for Families
See our links page for additional resources.
Ministry for the Separated & Divorced/Remarried
The Diocese of Pembroke is working hard to put together a team of individuals who wish to help support and journey with those who are going through a separation, divorce or are remarried outside the Catholic Church and wish to come into communion with the Church.
We need volunteers who have gone through the healing process, have fully healed from their own loss and grief and are able to accompany others in their journey towards healing. Volunteers need to be committed to their Catholic faith and be compassionate and understanding of the pain and suffering that others are experiencing in these difficult times.
Ottawa – By My Side (Formerly Journey of Hope) Program for Separated and Divorced Catholics. This ministry will assist separated and divorced Catholics to reconnect and build on their faith. The program, led from a Catholic faith exploration perspective, is designed to help participants find reconciliation, peace and healing by taking positive steps in their daily spiritual life. For further information and registration, please visit: www.bymyside.ca, or contact Mary Jane Manley at (613) 294-1308. The cost is $40.