UP Catholic 02 10 2017 E Edition Page 10

10 February 10, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC WEDDINGS & MARRIAGES www.upcatholic.org Rvbmjuz gvsojuvsf bu xipmftbmf qsjdft A Catholic family owned & operated company since 1979 Members of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan Ejojoh Sppn Pggjdf Gvsojuvsf Nbuusfttft Vqipmtufsfe Tfut Ljudifo Dbcjofut Cbuisppn Dbcjofut Cfesppn Mjwjoh Sppn Cretens Furniture Factory & Showroom Qfsljot Spbe Qfsljot NJ xxx dsfufotgvsojuvsf dpn N G Tbu Mpehf Dbnq boe Dpuubhf tuzmf gvsojtijoht BY GREG GOSTOMSKI DIRECTOR OF YOUTH, YOUNG ADULT AND FAMILY MINISTRY DIOCESE OF MARQUETTE Strong marriages are a basic building block of our society and also critical to our church. In Oct. 2013, Pope Francis called for an Ex- traordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on topics related to the family and evangelization. In calling this world-wide meeting of bishops, the Holy Father recog- nized the need to strengthen marriages. In preparation for this meeting, Pope Francis asked for input from all the bishops of the world. Bishop John Doerfler conducted a diocesan-wide consultation that included priests, deacons, and laity to provide input to the Holy See. The results of this consultation gave direction to Bishop Doerfler's vision of marriage preparation here in the diocese. In July 2015, all active priests were sur- veyed to ask about marriage preparation at their parish. They were asked about what re- sources were being used and what assistance was needed from the diocese. Lastly, pas- tors were asked to nominate a marriage mentor couple to be involved in the prepara- tion of engaged couples and also offer support and help to maintain a connection to the parish following the marriage. As a result of the survey, the first step was to review the preparation programs already being used in parishes, and new programs that have been including pre-marriage inven- tories, courses to teach the sacramentality of marriage and life skills to support healthy marriage. There were many programs being used in parishes. Each of them had their strengths. There is a positive influence to having consistency in the preparation pro- cess. To facilitate this, no more than three re- sources will be approved for use in the future. Before the final list of resources are approved for use in the diocese, Bishop John is seeking the input of his priests. While at this time, the list of resources has not been finalized, the pre-marital inventory has been decided on. The Prepare-Enrich program is being adopted. This relationship inventory and skill-building program has been used by over 3 million couples and is one of the most widely used pre-marital pro- grams. In spring 2017, the diocese will begin to train couples to serve as marriage men- tors. A pre-marriage inventory is a standard part of marriage preparation and therefore these couples will be trained in Prepare-En- rich. In addition, couples will receive training in the theology of marriage. The sessions will be led by Bill Boomer M.A., director of Marriage Ministry and Family Ministry for the Diocese of Cleveland. Boomer is the author of the Catholic con- tent of Prepare-Enrich and has conducted trainings in numerous states. These trainings will take place at three locations across the diocese and more will follow. Boomer will return in September of this year to train all priests of the diocese in the program. The final step in the diocesan plan will be to increase the availability of people certified to teach Natural Family Planning (NFP). There are few people trained and willing to serve in this ministry, and yet this is a critical piece of preparation for Catholic marriage. The diocese is working with St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba to arrange for a trainer. Anyone who is interested in or willing to become an NFP trainer is encouraged to talk to their pastor. Greg Gostomski Mentor couples to play large role in diocesan marriage prep Praying as a couple The following has been adapted from an article available at www. foryourmarriage.org. The website offers marriage resources for dif- ferent stages of marriage. Amid the busyness of family life, how can one respond to God's ongo- ing invitation to speak with and listen to Him? Here are 10 pointers to help you do just that. 1. Pray as you can, not as you can't. God calls most Christians to an active life in the world, with family, work and community responsi- bilities. Lay people can become discouraged when they try to pray like a cloistered contemplative. Be realistic about what's possible. 2. Take 10 - or 20. If a half hour for prayer isn't possible, how about 10 minutes, or 20? Designate a special site for prayer so that spot becomes holy. 3. Pray as a family. Build upon rituals such as grace before meals. In addition, encourage family members to offer thanks for the blessings of the day, as well as prayers for those in need. 4. Decorate your domestic church. When we enter our parish church, the statues and pictures focus our minds on Jesus, Mary and the saints. We can create an atmosphere for prayer in our home the domestic church - by displaying a crucifix, icons, the Bible and other holy objects. 5. Short prayers count, too. When you're stopped at a long light or put on hold, consider it as God's invitation to turn your heart and mind to him, if only for a few seconds. 6. Find God at work. Connecting with God in the workplace takes effort. Offer the day to God as you turn on your computer, or pray for the person you're about to call or wait upon. 7. Jump start your prayer life. At some point almost everyone experiences dryness in prayer. Praying with Scripture can help us focus. As well as can an inspirational book such as St. Francis de Sales' Intro- duction to the Devout Life, written specifically for lay people. 8. Ask your Mother for help. The Blessed Virgin Mary, under- stands our needs and offers profound comfort. The rosary is ideal for the family since children can be taught the simple prayers at an early age. 9. Read a good story. Everyone enjoys an inspiring story, consid- er reading those of the saints. Whether it's the little way of Therese of Lisieux or the heroism of Maximilian Kolbe, their stories offer some- thing for everyone. Consider the particular virtue that a saint demon- strates and pray for help to emulate it. 10. Walk with a spiritual friend. Good friends will hold each other accountable for their prayer life, making sure that prayer has not been neglected in the busyness of life. For married couples a spouse is often this spiritual friend, but God will also put wise and holy people in our path when we need them. They can be the answer to prayer.

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