Marriage Preparation With a Difference
By Mashadi Mathosa – Mater Dei Pastoral Centre in Mokopane, in Polokwane diocese, offers a marriage preparation course with a difference, including talks by medical doctors, civil lawyers and priests specialising in canon law.
The course run by Mater Dei’s Fr Sunny Vattapparayil SVD is interactive, and presented through scripture, films, meditation, prayer, lectures by experts in their fields, and discussions with long-married couples on achieving an enduring and happy marriage.
Participants are encouraged to engage with lecturers and with each other. This makes it a more relaxed and fun environment.
During breaks, there is time for quiet prayer at the rosary garden and Adoration chapel.
Couple Masedi Sehoka and Becky Kgole from Lynwood said: “The course offers help on the practical aspects of marriage.
“The combination of an attorney, a medical doctor and a canon lawyer gives a unique and honest perspective.”
The Church requires that all couples wishing to marry attend a marriage preparation course, and the Mater Dei course is based on Christian principles and ethics.
It covers topics such as:
- Meaning of the sacrament of marriage and the kind of commitment that marriage embodies.
- Importance and significance of the vows couples make in the church ceremony, in terms of the public commitment to each other.
- Basic understanding of the civil and Church laws regarding marriage.
- The art of communication.
- Building and sustaining relationships.
- Recognising the influence of each other’s family backgrounds.
- Improving relationships with parents and in-laws.
- Understanding each other’s strengths and differences.
- Developing greater sexual intimacy.
The course is also ideal for couples who have particular, difficult circumstances, such as those who live in two different cities, or those who come from different faiths where one is Catholic and one is not.
The course takes place over a weekend, starting with supper on Friday, and ending with lunch on Sunday. The centre offers comfortable accommodation and meals.
At the Sunday Mass, all participants receive their certificates, signed by Fr Vattapparayil and Bishop Jeremiah Masela.
As couples leave, Fr Vattapparayil always reminds them that “the Spirit of God, not the certificate, keeps you together”.
The Mater Dei marriage preparation course is offered once a year and is open to single people too.
For more information, contact Fr Vattapparayil on firstname.lastname@example.org or 078 316 5084.