First national conference for those delivering marriage preparation

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The first ever national conference for people delivering marriage preparation to couples getting married in the Catholic Church will take place on 4-5 November 2011 at the Barceló Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire.

The conference is hosted by the Bishops’ Committee for Marriage & Family Life which conducted a survey of Catholic marriage preparation during 2010. The survey aimed to find out how many couples were prepared for marriage in 2010, how they were prepared in terms of programme content and who they were prepared by. During the conference Bishop John Hine, Chair of the Committee, will present the findings of the Catholic Marriage Preparation Survey 2010 to the delegates and invite them to recommend further action to the Committee.

In advance of the conference, Bishop Hine commented: “We recognise today that preparation for the Sacraments is all-important. Marriage Preparation is a high priority in our dioceses, but until now we have never drawn together an over-all picture of the provision of this preparation. The findings of this survey will, I hope, help all those involved in this ministry to learn from each other as we strive to give young couples approaching marriage the best formation possible.”

Nearly 200 marriage preparation providers are registered for the conference, from diocesan networks, Marriage Care centres and organisations such as Engaged Encounter and the Association of Interchurch Families. Delegates will also enjoy a keynote presentation by Fr Enda McDonagh, former professor of moral theology at the Pontifical University of Maynooth, and experience different programmes in use around England and Wales as well as share good practices in marriage preparation.

The conference will conclude with a Mass of Thanksgiving for the dedication and commitment to marriage demonstrated by those preparing couples, concelebrated by Bishop Hine, Bishop Richard Moth and Bishop John Rawsthorne.

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Elizabeth Davies
Marriage & Family Life Project Officer
BIshops’ Conference Department for Christian Responsibility & Citizenship