Vatican Releases New Pastoral Document for Marriage Preparation as a Vocation

June 15, 2022

New paths for preparation for the sacrament of marriage

The document has been published: “Catechumenal itineraries for married life. 

Pastoral guidelines for particular Churches "

The document is an initiative of the “Famiglia Amoris Laetitia” year and responds to the desire of the Holy Father to offer new paths for preparation for the sacrament of marriage.

"The joy of love that is lived in families is also the joy of the Church": these are the first words of Amoris laetitia, which constitute a message, but also an appeal of the Holy Father Francis so that the Church may know how to announce, especially to young people, the beauty and abundance of grace that are enclosed in the sacrament of marriage and in family life. The invitation is to train and accompany young people so that they can not only understand, but also experience the presence of the Lord in the couple and so, as Pope Francis says, they come to "mature the certainty that in their bond there is the hand of God ".

To this end, the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has prepared a document that offers pastors, spouses and all those who work in the pastoral care of the family, a vision and a renewed methodology of preparation for the sacrament of marriage and for all married life.

“Catechumenal itineraries for married life”. Pastoral guidelines for particular Churches follows up on an indication repeatedly expressed by Pope Francis in his magisterium, namely "the need for a" new catechumenate " that includes all the stages of the sacramental journey: the time of preparation for marriage, of its celebration and subsequent years ”, especially when the spouses could go through crises and moments of discouragement.

We underline two aspects of the novelty of the Document: first of all a look that is turned to the future of the family, with a very remote preparation for the vocation of marriage . In fact, it is a question of preparing the ground by starting to work with children, adolescents and young people, planting seeds whose fruits will be seen in the years to come. Young people who, otherwise, probably would never marry. This is because the proposal is not simply to renew immediate preparation for marriage, but to set up a vocational ministry that announces the vocation to marriage to children and adolescents , so that they are accompanied by the gradual discovery of a call to Christian family life.A rapid preparation of the engaged couple, just before the celebration of the rite, is no longer sufficient today for the Church to truly take care of those whom the Lord calls to marry and build a Christian family.

Secondly, the importance of the fact that, alongside priests, there are married couples who accompany the catechumenate of those who ask for the sacrament of marriage is underlined. Their experience of married life is decisive so that there can be understanding, acceptance and gradualness in this path which, in many parts of the world, among other things, is today often aimed at couples who already live together and who can thus feel understood by those who live. their already familiar experience.

"The concern of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life", comments Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect, "is to convey to the bishops, family pastoral workers and formators, the Holy Father's invitation to rethink seriously preparing for marriage as a continuous accompaniment before and after the sacramental rite. A competent and concrete closeness, made up of bonds between families that mutually support each other ".

The document is published in paper format by the Vatican Publishing House and, for now, it is only possible to find it in Italian. The versions in other foreign languages ​​will be published shortly.

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