News - The marriage catechumenate, a model to be exported
Renew the marriage preparation of the next generation, considering marriage not a point of arrival, but a stage along a path. These are the objectives of the "Itineraries Catechumenal for Marriage Life. Pastoral Orientations for Particular Churches," a valuable document, which the Holy Father entrusts to pastors and lay people working in pastoral care family, presented by Gabriella Gambino, undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, with her husband Giovanni Nuzzi, in the afternoon conference on Friday, June 24, the second day of the Pastoral Theological Congress of the 10th World Meeting of Families.
"It is not a packaged course that we are presenting," Gambino explained, "but a tool of pastoral reflection that, starting from some general principles, intends to be an aid to the particular Churches, so that they prepare their paths, in the wake of what the Holy Father suggests, according to the possibilities and pastoral characteristics of each place." The goal to be achieved is clearly outlined: "It is necessary to aim at gradually changing the approach of the vocational pastoral ministry, so that it explicitly contemplates marriage as well, alongside the consecrated life." Therefore, a catechumenate is needed, "a path of acceptance," the speakers underlined-from the community that knows how to accompany you, protect you and encourage you. Marriage is really a vocation and therefore "requires discernment," they explained. From this perspective, the celebration of the wedding rite is in no way a point of arrival, but the beginning of a spousal life, in which husband and wife will acquire a renewed Christian identity, as is the case for priests and religious."
Such a path is already being taken in the diocese of Rome, as explained by Fr. Fabio Rosini, director of the diocesan vocations ministry, with Angelo Carfì and Elisa Tinti. "We have constituted the vocation discernment team of the diocese of Rome since 2012," they explained - and in this capacity over the past ten years we have proposed a twofold course of preparation for the sacrament of marriage: one for remote preparation and one for the near preparation for the sacrament. Many hundreds of engaged couples have benefited from these courses." The marriage catechumenate should not be set up "as an 'instructive' course composed of nice things to be understood," they reiterated, "otherwise we will fail in our mission to give substance to the formation to marriage. Instead, it is necessary to return to the first Christian sensibility, that of the first centuries, the one that generated the baptismal catechumenate, which implied a practical path, experiential, liturgical."
In the evening, the delegates of the bishops' conferences then moved to several Roman parishes, to continue the work of the Congress there, meet with Roman families and experience convivial moments.