The sacrament of matrimony is also a vocation.

Through the vows taken a man and woman are joined together for life.

Marriage begins with a wedding service in the presence of God and the faith community and the couple continue to confer the sacrament on one another whenever they offer themselves in the service of the other and the larger community.

Thus, marriage is an ongoing sacrament. The grace of the sacrament is there to strengthen the couple and should be open to creating and raising a family.

For more information visit the Catholic Family Website

For more information on Weddings (Office for Marriage) within the Archdiocese of Birmingham please click here

From UK course provider Smart Loving

COVID-19: How might Parishes provide marriage preparation during social distancing?

The need to socially isolate and not attend group meetings has had an impact on couples preparing for marriage and upon course delivery in parishes. 

Many calls for advice are coming in from distraught engaged couples whose weddings have been put on hold.

Encouragingly, some couples are still wanting to do their preparation so they can be ready for when weddings are fully allowed again. 

UK course provider Smart Loving is supporting this by providing sound Catholic marriage preparation online. 

One lesson per week over nine weeks gives couples time to practice the tools and form new habits. 

At course end, couples are emailed a certificate and report to give to their celebrant.  Couples can register for the course here 

Or obtain a step-by-step course guide (adapted for social distancing) by emailing Smart Loving

Celebrants can review the course here  It's grounded in Catholic theology with Imprimatur and is accepted internationally in Catholic churches.

Alternatively, if you are a diocese or parish with more than 10 engaged couples per year, Smart Loving has packages whereby your parish takes the bookings and keeps whatever fee you charge.  Your couples get a link to a custom enrolment page on the Smart Loving website, a page unique to you with your logo on where couples gain instant access to your SL parish course. Smart Loving then sends you weekly updates on their progress. Leaders packages

Finally there may be strains on relationships caused by the current situation.  Another online course offered by SL may help to identify the triggers for couples' problems at BreakThrough where constructive ways to re-establish connection can be found.