God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage is a supplement to the existing marriage preparation programs in your diocese. Because the program is a supplement, it is adaptable to almost every diocese or parish situation. Your God's Plan representative can work with you to determine how this program can best work with your current preparation efforts. Whether your diocese has its own program, uses parish-based programs, or hosts independent organizations such as Engaged Encounter, the God's Plan program will work for you. Here are four ways the program could be incorporated in your diocesan marriage preparation offerings.
Four Ways to Use God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage in Your Diocese
1. EXPAND your current marriage preparation offering.
Many diocesan programs currently present a “one-day” marriage preparation experience for couples. We strongly recommend that dioceses consider adding an additional day to their offering in light of the great challenges modern couples face as they struggle against permissive attitudes about sex and the decline of marriage and the family in the culture. It is also the common experience of those who work with engaged couples that the faith of these couples is most often in need of rediscovery, nourishment and maturation regarding Catholic marriage and human sexuality. The God's Plan program provides this comprehensive catechesis. The addition of the God's Planprogram will yield great results in the hearts and minds of engaged couples. As ministers, we will help them embrace their vocation to marriage and live the Christian sexual ethic.
Click here for more information about the Outline for the God's Plan Program.
2. OFFER as an Optional Diocesan Approved Program.
The God's Plan Program can be offered as a "stand-alone" program offered as another option for engaged couples looking to fulfill their marriage preparation requirement. So, instead of adding another day or replacing an existing program, your office can simply offer the God's Plan program as another option. Depending on your needs, the diocesan office, trained facilitators in your area, or the God's Plan national office would manage the program dates and registrations. The program could target various regions of your diocese needing marriage preparation support and could be promoted through the diocesan office as another viable option for marriage preparation. We can also assist with your marketing efforts, including handling them completely, if needed.
3. REPLACE Current Catechetical Program with God’s Plan.
While an additional formation day for your couples is ideal, we also realize that such a task will be challenging in some dioceses. Yet, the fact remains that today’s engaged couples needs more content-rich formation, not less. To address this, you may consider replacing your current catechetical offering with the God’s Plan program. This means, for example, that your current program’s one or two hour presentation on sacramentality and sexuality could be replaced with the longer catechesis, thus adding approximately one-half day to your program. Or, this option could result in the creation of a new weekend retreat wherein the "life skills" (finances, communication, etc) are interspersed with theGod’s Plan catechesis. God’s Plan offers an excellent format wherein other topics could be introduced in the greater context of the program. Couples would receive a certificate of attendance showing their participation in the program to present to the priest or deacon preparing them for marriage in the Church.
4. SUPPORT it as an Independent, Approved Program.
Dioceses face different challenges in trying to offer effective marriage preparation programs. There are some dioceses that do not offer a diocesan-based program and rely on existing parish-based ministries or employ independent organizations to provide sacramental marriage preparation to the engaged couples in their dioceses. The God’s Plan program team would seek the permission from your diocese to operate as an independent program. We could work collaboratively with your diocese to market the God’s Plan. Our team would manage the program with an independent, trained facilitator in your area. As we want to be viewed as a blessing—not a burden to you diocese—we will keep you abreast of how we propose working in your diocese. We are ready and willing to work closely with you on this, or you can handle everything on our own.
Any of the four options above can be implemented in a single-day seminar held on a Saturday or Sunday or over multiple weeks using sponsor couples.
Introducing the God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage supplement into your diocese’s or parish’s current program is easier than you might think. To discuss any questions you may have, or to learn more about the program, please email Jay Wonacott or call him at 208-345-6575.