ZE10091501 - 2010-09-15
Marriage Preparation Programs Find Renewal
Ministers Engage in New Evangelization
By Genevieve Pollock
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, SEPT. 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Across the country, ministers working in marriage preparation programs are finding themselves at the forefront of the new evangelization, renewing their methods with novel yet traditional means.
ZENIT spoke with Sister Mary Elizabeth Wusinich of the Sisters of Life, who worked for a decade as director of the New York Archdiocese Family Life/Respect Life Office, and with Jake Samour, the current director of Marriage and Family Life for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas.
They described a common experience: Marriage preparation, as a requirement of the Church, many times brings in couples who know little about their faith. Both ministers, who gave presentations at the first National Theology of the Body Congress in Philadelphia, said that the teachings of Pope John Paul II have been key in reaching these couples.
"In the marriage preparation, you have a captive audience that does not want to be there -- for the most part," Sister Wusinich explained. "And they typically don't have very high expectations of what they're going to receive."
"A turning point for us," she said, was years ago when the ministry team decided to attend a seminar sponsored by the Theology of the Body Institute.
We had been discussing "how to engage in the new evangelization" and apply the Pope's teaching to pastoral work in the archdiocese, the nun said.
Through the theology of the body, she noted, the staff learned "a whole new language and a new method" for their work.