Updated: Mar 20
I came across www.catholicmarriageprep.com a few weeks ago and was glad to have found an online resource for Catholic Couples preparing for marriage.
I recently asked them a few questions about their ministry and Ashley of Catholic Marriage Prep was so kind to answer them.
Celeste: How did Catholic Marriage Prep get started?
Catholic Marriage Prep: Catholic Marriage Prep started in 1999 at the request of Archbishop Chaput for the Archdiocese of Denver. It started as an in-person class. Then in 2003, the office of marriage and family life of the archdiocese of Denver asked us to help engaged couples who couldn’t make it to in-person classes. We had a kind of correspondence class with the first couples. Then it spread out by word of mouth first in the Archdiocese of Denver and rapidly beyond. This is how we started the online program that was launched in 2004. Since then we served over 50,000 couples online all over the world in English, Spanish and French. We have always done one-on-one mentor-led with a formed instructor couple.
Celeste: What is the mission of Catholic Marriage Prep?
Catholic Marriage Prep: To equip families to live God’s Plan for Humanity through online Catholic mentoring. Celeste: Who do you serve? Do you serve couples in-person as well as online? I saw on your website that “Since 2004, the only online interactive mentor-led pre-cana program.” So couples getting married and mentor couples meet on a video-chat platform like Zoom or Skype?
Catholic Marriage Prep: Yes, as mentioned it started as an in-person program and we are still offering in-person classes at the pastoral center in the archdiocese of Denver and in different dioceses. The formation of mentor couples who are offering the program in parishes and dioceses is done online. In order to maintain flexibility for the engaged couple, all communication is done through their assignments! The instructor’s feedback on the couple’s assignments is always customized. Instructors will share their stories within the feedback and it’s amazing to see how much our couples open to their instructors during this preparation!
Celeste: That is wonderful about receiving customized assignments for couples since each couple is unique. I see that Catholic Marriage Prep is a division of Agapè Catholic Ministries. Can you tell me a little bit about Agapè Catholic Ministries…it’s mission and who it seeks to serve?
Catholic Marriage Prep: Agape Catholic Ministries is the mother house of Catholic Marriage Prep. We offer other programs like Baptismal, Quince, and Marriage enrichment programs live and online.
Celeste: Tell me what is involved with the Catholic Marriage Prep program? What can a couple expect from the program? Is there an application process? How long is the program? How does a couple getting married get paired with a mentor couple? What are the main objective or objectives of the program? Will a couple meet other couples getting married?
Catholic Marriage Prep: It’s the duty of the dispatcher to align the engaged and mentor couples according to their background. The goal is to help build trust between the engaged and mentor couples. For example, we pair military engaged couples with a mentor couple still in military active duty or with a military background. As for ethnicity, we pair Hispanic engaged couples with Hispanic mentor couples even if done in English, the same for Vietnamese or Filipino couples. It’s the same for convalidation or for older couples, they are paired with mentor couples who had similar experiences/backgrounds. Once they register, the couple’s membership will be active for three months. It’s about 20 hours of marriage preparation work. It’s up to the couple on how fast or slow they want to go through the course. The average couple takes about 1 month to complete the course. Couples will not meet other couples during the prep!
Celeste: How would you say most couples come to find out about your Catholic Marriage Prep ministry?
Catholic Marriage Prep: We are offered in most dioceses and parishes. Please CLICK HERE to see which dioceses are promoting and using our ministry!
Celeste: When priests find out about your ministry for the first time, what are their reactions?
Catholic Marriage Prep: Before Covid, they thought it was mainly suited for couples separated by distance. However, once they see the engaged couple’s feedback, they love it and send most if not all of their engaged couples to our marriage prep.
Our online marriage prep option, since it’s not a video-based program, is a great way to evangelize and anchor the engaged couples and newly married couples in the parish. Now with the Covid crisis, the priests love the online option as it solves many of their problems and the results are great! When they have completed the program, 98% of the engaged couples want to be active in the parish life
Celeste: That is wonderful that your ministry is helping couples during the pandemic. What are some of the key takeaways couples receive from going through the program?
Catholic Marriage Prep: The importance of having deep conversations, the importance of praying together, worshiping together, being active in parish life to keep feeding their spiritual life. Mainly to have a Christ-centered family. Celeste: How can someone get in touch with Catholic Marriage Prep? Tell us some of the things someone can find on your website. I like the webpage about the patron saints of Catholic Marriage Prep.
Catholic Marriage Prep: We have many ways for couples, dioceses, priests, deacons, parishes, family life directors, and other ministries to contact us! They can call us at 1800-208-1364, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our Live-Chat. This is all listed on our website. Alternatively, they can visit our Facebook or Instagram page just as you did! Our website also offers resources such as articles, blogs, wedding readings, useful websites, finances courses, and Ebooks! You can find this information under the ‘Resources’ tab.
Celeste: Thank you, Catholic Marriage Prep, for letting us know more about your ministry. You offer a valuable service, especially at this time. Preparing couples for marriage is a very worthy endeavor.