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February 21, 2020
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February 21, 2020

At last… JFM has come along

Love is in the air! With the wedding of popular Soca artiste Machel Montano to Renee Butcher on Valentine’s Day, along with marriage proposals of two other entertainment personalities, marriage and weddings are on people’s minds. It is always important to remember that a wedding is a day, but a marriage is a lifetime. Marriage is a vocation and requires adequate preparation. This preparation can be remote from childhood, proximate through faith formation programmes and immediate through marriage preparation programmes offered by the Church.

JFM Arima

The term ‘proximate preparation’ refers to a long period of time because it extends from the end of the ‘remote preparation’ (the onset of puberty or early adolescence) until the beginning of the ‘immediate preparation’ for marriage. This should take place during the months before the wedding day.

The Joy Filled Marriage (JFM) Preparation Programme is designed to address some of  the challenges of immediate preparation, offering a comprehensive approach to marriage preparation that covers not only the sacramentality and theology of marriage, but the practical life skills necessary to live out the rich Catholic vision of marriage.

It was piloted in this Archdiocese in 2017 and 2018 and mandated by Archbishop Jason Gordon as the new programme to replace the Evenings for the Engaged programme in 2020.

“The Archdiocese has a responsibility to offer a solid immediate marriage preparation programme” that offers “an adequate preparation for marriage, conscious celebration of the sacrament and the accompaniment of the couples before and after marriage,” said Archbishop Gordon.

JFM has two components, ‘Life Skills for Couples’ and ‘God’s Plan for Love’ and incorporates a three-stage approach:

Learning Stage: Couples learn sound principles and a fresh, virtue-based approach to life skills, as well as the Catholic vision of marriage and the beautiful and significant gift of sexuality.

Discuss and Discover Stage: Through a variety of focused questions and activities, couples discuss their relationships, learn about themselves, and begin applying what they have learned.

Plan and Build Stage: Couples recognise topics they may need to discuss later, identify shared goals, and set a unified vision to build a joy-filled marriage. All this is captured in the Couple’s Journal.

JFM North

In January, couples in the Santa Rosa/Malabar cluster and Church of the Incarnation, Maloney (Eastern Vicariate), St Anthony’s/Nativity/St John’s, Diego Martin (Northern Vicariate) and St Philip and St James (Central Vicariate) began rolling out the 12-week JFM.

Santa Rosa/Malabar cluster facilitators noted, “The preparation for the roll-out of our brand new programme was demanding but truly an enriching experience for our team couples. We approached the inaugural session with a sense of quiet prayerful anticipation like a mother waiting to give birth: not knowing how many couples would turn up.”

Facilitators in the Northern Vicariate said “After three presentations, the JFM programme continues to be well-received with active participation from 13 couples. Two couples have already enrolled for the next cycle in May.”

The facilitators at Church of the Incarnation, Maloney commented, “This new format is quite simple to present.” Eight couples are currently registered.

In March, the Suburban Vicariate will start their first cycle in St Joseph (See ad below).

Couples planning to get married are invited to contact their parish or the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, 299-1047/672-4280 for more information.


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