OCTOBER edition of The Domestic Church publication
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Welcome to the October, first edition, of the E-Newsletter for The Domestic Church.
This will be a monthly publication where we will be sharing many exciting marriage & family stories, articles, prayers, programs, and events concerning the Domestic Church (the family).  If you'd like to receive a mailing, please let me know.
Thank you for your kind remembrance in prayer.
Su servidora, Socorro

“The Church’s concern for the family begins with good preparation and proper accompaniment of the bride and groom, as well as a faithful and clear presentation of Church doctrine on marriage and the family. As a sacrament, Marriage is a gift from God and, at the same time, a commitment.”   Pope Francis

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”                               St. Thomas More

Marriage Preparation in the Catholic Church: Getting it Right
(a national study for the USCCB)
This was the first national study of the impact of marriage preparation in the Catholic Church. The study showed there was much right with marriage preparation. We list some top conclusions.

1. The vast majority of individuals who have participated in marriage preparation programs view the experience as valuable early in their marriage. In the first year of marriage, 93.8% agree that marriage preparation was a valuable experience, and in the second year 78.4% agree. Overall, almost two thirds (66.3%) perceive marriage preparation as a valuable experience, a quarter (26.6%) as a very valuable experience. The other third (33.8%), perceive it as less than valuable, 8.2% of them strongly.

The implication here is clear. Marriage preparation serves a useful purpose for couples preparing for marriage. It should continue to receive the support and the resources of the churches who are concerned with the enhancing of marriages and families.

2. The perceived value of marriage preparation declines significantly over time. Is it simply that memory fades? Is it that the benefits erode with time? Is it that marriage preparation prepares couples for the tasks they face early in their marriages, but not for the tasks they face later? If the last is the case, and we hypothesize that it is, it indicates the need for booster programs throughout the various developmental stages of a marriage.

3. Marriage preparation is judged most valuable when it is done by a team of clergy, lay couples and parish staff. Clergy working alone with a couple is currently the most common format for marriage preparation, but couples judged this format significantly less valuable than a team format. Their commentary was interesting, if predictable: "Priests who don't marry . . . just don't know what marriage is really like." A team approach which does not include a clergy representative, however, was also judged less valuable than a team with a clergy member.

4. The topics addressed in marriage preparation that were perceived as being of most value were the five Cs: communication, commitment, conflict resolution, children and church (values and sacramentality). A sixth C, career and especially dual career, was among topics perceived as least helpfully covered. This suggests enhancing all six Cs to the maximum, and especially the dual career marriage which is currently so prevalent.
5. Interchurch couples, who randomly comprised 39% of the respondents in the study, are at greater risk than same-church couples for drift from church belonging and practice. They come to marriage preparation with lower levels of belonging and practice, as well as lower levels of expectation of the value of the program. They leave it with a significant positive shift in attitude, indicating that marriage preparation has served them well.

A final comment concludes this report. For a large majority of the respondents in this study, marriage preparation was a valuable process. The challenges issued here, therefore, are challenges designed not to make helpful what is not helpful, but to make more helpful to a larger population what is already perceived as helpful. We challenge only so that resources and energies may be expended in ever more helpful ways, echoing the challenge issued by St. (Pope) John Paul II: "The church must promote better and more intensive programs of marriage preparation in order to eliminate as far as possible the difficulties many married couples find themselves in, and even more in order to favor positively the establishing and maturing of successful marriages."
The Role of Virtues in Strengthening Marital Friendship

     Growth in virtues strengthens the character or personality and facilitates self-giving in the romantic, friendship and intimate aspects of marriage. St. (Pope) John Paul II wrote in his first encyclical, The Redeemer of Man, "To be sincere gift of themselves, human persons must possess a full freedom which comes only from mastery of oneself." The virtues enable us to gain greater mastery over ourselves.
     The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1803, states, "A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in a concrete way. The goal of the virtuous life is to become like God."

Nine-Day Novena for the Synod on the Family

     Pope Francis has told us that with the culture in which we live; marriage and family life is under attack. He tells us the most painful human, emotional and spiritual wounds come from the lack of being loved, from broken hearts, and broken families.

     Because of this he has called for an “Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family”, in which bishops will meet in Rome from October 7-9, 2014; and they will seek ways to help restore marriages and families in their mission to love in truth.

     In preparation for the Synod, Pope Francis has written a “Prayer to the Holy Family”; and +Bishop Bradley invites families to pray the Prayer each day in their home. Also, in response to this invitation; the Family Life Apostolate is planning a Nine-Day Novena for the Synod.
     The Novena will begin October 1st and end as the Synod closes on October 9th, 2014. It is hoped that during this time families will gather in the “domestic church” (their home), to reflect on the need for the Synod, and pray that it will fulfill what God intends.
To obtain copies of the Prayer to the Holy Family, please contact: Family Life Apostolate, St. Monica Parish, 534 W. Kilgore Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

 Prayer to the Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
 the splendor of true love;
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
 may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel and
 small domestic churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
 may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful

of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

Joy Filled Marriage Program Training
 If you missed out on the September 2014 training for priests, deacons & wives, marriage & family & youth ministers, marriage preparation mentor couples...You are still "in-time" to receive training or more information on how to become part of this Marriage Ministry.

For more information, please contact Socorro at: or via phone at: 269-903-0199
     The Diocese of Kalamazoo in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus, invite students grades 4th—12th to submit original art, prose, poetry, musical compositions and videos; all reflecting the theme “The Family Fully Alive”. "La Familia Llena de Vida" (Spanish).
     The work should display their God-given gifts and convey how we are called to live out our mission to love and to honor our little Domestic church (our family).

NOTE: we will accept entries from students attending Catholic schools or in Public schools who attend faith formation/catechism classes or are homeschooled and are affiliated with a Catholic Church/Parish.

For complete contest rules visit:
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