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June 21, 2023
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June 21, 2023

Initiatives to strengthen marriages, family life

Through the sponsorship of the Catholic Marriage Initiative (CMI) fund whose  purpose “is to dramatically increase the availability of and participation in high quality Catholic Marriage Ministries throughout the United States”, the Archdiocese of Port of Spain is the only diocese outside of the US to receive such funds.

With a goal of “Investing in Marriage,” the CMI fund was established to dramatically increase the availability of and participation in high quality Catholic Marriage Ministries  that are balanced between teaching the Church’s teaching on marriage (vision), providing the ‘how to love” (skills) and a community (support), strengthening, renewing and restoring, giving children the important benefits of an intact family life in which to grow up and thrive in.

The Archdiocesan Family Life Commission’s (AFLC) vision is to proclaim to all people the plan of God for marriage and family life and thus promote the renewal of family, Church, and nation.

Over the next four years the Archdiocese and the CMI fund will be investing heavily in  the following areas:

  • Preparing engaged couples for Immediate Preparation (within six months)
  • Accompanying married couples in the first five years
  • Ongoing marriage enrichment
  • Accompanying married couples in crisis
  • Accompanying persons who are separated, divorced, widowed

In the area of accompanying the married, we are seeking Catholic, dedicated married couple leaders who will be trained to guide and inspire others on the  marital journey. These married leaders, carefully selected from within the parish, will receive comprehensive training in various aspects of marriage and family life. Their role will involve mentoring engaged couples, guiding communication, conflict resolution, and fostering spiritual growth within marriages through:

  • Sacramental Marriage Building: a Catholic-based, dynamic skills course for marriage strengthening with coached skills by trained ‘Marriage Angels’.
  • Marriage Care: a ministry of care for marriages in crisis; for couples going through difficulties or loss, and even those who are just wanting help to know what to do to strengthen their marriages and is designed to change the parish’s response to a marriage in need by giving them every chance to survive, and even better, to thrive.

This three-part formation/training for parish married couple leaders involves:

  1. Participating in a weekend training course
  2. Ongoing online coaching
  3. Training in parish facilitation

Please note that this will be a ‘Train the Trainer’ programme requiring all three phases to become a facilitator. Married couples who are interested in this Train the Trainer initiative  must contact their parish priest to be considered as parish representatives. Sessions will be held in the last quarter of the year.

Participants of the first Train the Trainer which was held from February to May shared the following:

“The programme opened our eyes to the beauty and sacredness of marriage. Through the workshops and mentorship, we learned effective communication techniques and gained a greater appreciation for the role of spirituality in our relationship. It has truly enriched our marriage.”

Another shared: “This  programme exceeded our expectations. It provided us with practical tools to navigate challenges, deepened our understanding of each other and connected us with a supportive community. We highly recommend it to any couple seeking to strengthen their marriage.”

In the area of the accompanying persons who are separated and divorced, the AFLC relaunched this ministry and currently hosts monthly meetings via Zoom using the 12-week programme – Surviving Divorce. The next monthly meeting is on Friday, July 14, 6–8 p.m.

The AFLC recognises that the impact of these initiatives extends beyond individual marriages and families. Strong and healthy families create a ripple effect, positively influencing the broader community.

By strengthening the foundation of marriage and support to persons who are separated and divorced with prayer and relationship with Christ, formation, accompaniment, skills, and support, the AFLC aims to create a culture that values and supports marriage and fosters the domestic Church to become what you are: a community of life and love.

 

Interested in finding out more? Please contact the AFLC: WhatsApp 299-1047 and familylife@catholictt.org