New materials for couples seeking to have their marriage blessed

Categories: Around the Diocese

Jan. 3, 2014, edition
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully

Since the St. Cloud Diocese launched Fully Engaged in 2009, about 6,000 couples in 30 dioceses completed the premarital inventory program.

“We’ve had psychological inventories for a long time,” said Chris Codden, diocesan director of the Office of Marriage and Family. “With changes in society and the increase in length of time between confirmation and marriage, there is a need to catechize. Our focus is catechesis.”

ringsmarriageFully Engaged, designed by the St. Cloud Diocese, is a premarital inventory with an accompanying workbook and facilitator’s guide. Though the resources work well for many engaged couples, they are not as applicable to couples that married civilly and are seeking a blessing from the church.

This January, the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family is launching a new set of materials especially for them. The materials for Fully Engaged for Convalidation include an inventory, workbook and facilitator’s guide. A Spanish version will be available in the spring.

Codden said the materials are designed to help couples prepare for marriage as a sacrament.

“We are excited that they are coming to the church to have their marriage blessed,” Codden said.

Like Fully Engaged, the inventory asks couples questions relevant to marriage. The couples fill out a workbook to further examine the topics. They meet with a sponsor couple or priest or deacon who facilitates conversations with them based on the topics in the inventory and workbook.

To apply to civilly married couples, many of the questions in Fully Engaged for Convalidation are worded differently than in Fully Engaged. For example, “fiancée” has been changed to “spouse,” and “will you” has been changed to “are you.”

Because the couple was married civilly, there is more stress on the sacrament of marriage. The parenting section is longer and some of the other sections are approached differently than in Fully Engaged to better address couples that are already married.

Members of a committee worked together to develop material for Fully Engaged for Convalidation. The committee included Codden, Kristin Molitor, Jim and Maureen Otremba, Father Tom Knoblach, Dorothy and Roger Kantor and Deacon Don Tzinski. Mayuli Bales, director of the diocesan Multicultural Ministries Office, David and Adela Hernandez, and others yet to be named will assist with developing the Spanish version.

For more information about Fully Engaged for Convalidation, Codden or Molitor at 320-252-4721.