In the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, the Office of Marriage, Family Formation, and Respect Life Education have consistently sought to protect the health, safety, and overall well-being of our Pre-Cana engaged couples and host couples. With so much uncertainty about the impact and scope of COVID-19, the office made both short- and long-term decisions that are believed to be in the best interest of the Pre-Cana program and the broader community. Since March 2020, All in-person Pre-Cana classes have been canceled.
In order for engaged couples to have their Pre-Cana class and meet the diocesan requirement, the office has developed an online and on-demand Pre-Cana experience. It’s a major change, as the marriage preparation for Catholics has always been done in person. In this new experience, couples will have the same content and material as a live Pre-Cana class. The topics introduced in the online Pre-Cana include Communication and Problem-Solving Skills, Self-Awareness, Morality in Marriage, Living the Sacrament of Matrimony, Intimacy and Sexuality, Natural Family Planning, and Wedding Liturgy Planning. Once the couple finishes the course, they receive a Certificate of Completion that they can download, print, and email it to the clergyman who is preparing them for the sacrament.
This new online platform was a blessing to Patricia Gianatiempo & Salvatore Musso. They both intended on getting married in June and were worried about how they would finish their marriage preparation before their wedding. Patricia told the office that, “we were relieved to have that option to be able to do it online.” “We are better prepared because [pre-cana] shed more light on how important it is to commit to one another,” Salvatore told us that, “We learned that staying true to one another is going to be most helpful in our marriage.”
The office believes that this new online platform will be very beneficial now during these uncertain times. But it will be an option moving forward into the future.
Couples have also taken advantage of the Pre-Marriage Inventory provided by FOCCUS. The Inventory is designed to help engaged couples appreciate their unique relationship, learn more about themselves, and discuss topics important to their lifelong marriage. Taking the inventory results in a personalized Couple Report that helps target discussion topics important to marital success. While FOCCUS is not a test and is not used to label couples or predict marital outcomes, the report is used by clergy and lay leaders to help couples celebrate their relationship strengths and talk to each other about topics warranting further attention. “After taking the inventory, we believe that we are ready to walk down the aisle. We are more open with our feelings and have better communication skills”, said Lindsey Gossan. With videoconferencing platforms, couples and facilitators have been able to meet safely to discuss the results of their inventory.