‘A wedding takes a day, a marriage lasts a lifetime’ is the underlying theme of marriage preparation programs in the Diocese.
The Life, Marriage & Family team worked with Priests and Deacons preparing over 300 couples for marriage in 2017. Weekend courses and individual couple sessions prepared engaged couples about various aspects of Catholic Marriage: communication skills, conflict management techniques, building strong relationships, using the Sound Marital House concepts, reflecting on Family of Origin influences and learning Natural Family Planning methods.
The program is a valuable investment, reflected by couple feedback: “An excellent course with great information, helped me feel ready for marriage”, “I really enjoyed the course, it exceeded my expectations”, “engaging and fun, it made you talk about things you would not have broached outside the course”. In 2017 bookings and payments became automated. Engaged couples can book a course at our website www.parracatholic.org/pmp.
Wedding anniversaries across the Diocese were celebrated late September at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. “Today we give thanks for the gift of marriage that has been lived and shared with generosity. It is a place where love overcomes all things and bears all things,” Bishop Vincent preached. Over 50 couples celebrated anniversaries from 1 year to 69 years.
In early September, Dr Edward Sri from the United States, presented the Faith in Marriage Seminar on ‘Men, Women & the Mystery of Love’ to a packed St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall audience, exploring the goodness, beauty and messiness of marriage.
In June, 150 people attended Dr Christian Brugger’s address, ‘Christian Witness in the Age of Militant Atheism’ at Rooty Hill. Dean of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, Dr Brugger examined the Second Vatican Council’s call for laity to be a leaven in the world.
He reminded that God calls every Catholic to holiness through each vocation and in daily life. Annabelle Bhandoo, from the Life, Marriage & Family Office spoke about current moral issues: abortion, ‘same-sex marriage’, gender fluid ideology and euthanasia. She emphasised the need to learn about these grave issues and societal consequences. The office also assisted in recent petitions against new pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia bills in NSW.
Natural Fertility Services promotes natural fertility awareness, teaching Natural Family Planning (NFP) to postpone pregnancy and to conceive.
Many couples use natural family planning instead of artificial contraception, due to the benefits to their marriage and overall health. Our Church cares for couples trying to conceive and wants to help them.
Breakthroughs in Restorative Reproductive Medicine enable spouses to achieve pregnancy naturally. NaPro (Natural Procreative) Technology provides medical intervention to assist couples with infertility. Less expensive and invasive than IVF, NaPro has higher success rates, and is respectful towards every aspect of human life.
Nearly 70% of Australian women of reproductive age use contraception, most commonly the combined oral contraceptive pill.
A ‘Break Free’ event in May shared testimonies from people who broke away from contraception and have embraced the benefits of Natural Family Planning, which uses the body’s natural signs of fertility. One husband noted the relationship and intimacy benefits of NFP, saying “it will help you become a better man.” A new mother described how oral contraception gave her a negative and fearful attitude towards having children and she now embraces “the joy of not having to take a pill every day,” feeling “completely empowered having overcome infertility which had been masked by the Pill many years ago.”
To learn more about Natural Family Planning or to book an appointment please contact Natural Fertility Services firstname.lastname@example.org 02 8838 3442
This article first appeared in the December 2017 print edition of Catholic Outlook.
At the request of Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Catholic Outlook was printed in December 2017 to connect the Diocese and showcase the good works across the Diocese’s many agencies and ministries.