Instructors FAQ

  • Why are the sessions spread out over a month? Open or Close

    This allows couples to have time to process and accept the Church’s teachings that they are learning—possibly for the first time in their lives.
    Not only do the instructors need to plant the right seeds, but they also need to be able to prepare the soil first! Nothing ever grows on concrete.

    We know that a one-day or one weekend course is not good enough for the couples.
    It might be "convenient" for them, sure, but what is important is what they need, not what suits them.
    Single day or weekend courses cheat the couples. It is like getting these couples prepared for divorce.

    Would a priest agree to prepare for the priesthood in a day/weekend class?
    Would we feel safe letting a doctor operate on us after one class?

    Marriage is as serious a vocation as the priesthood, and as important a calling as a doctor’s. 
    Plus it is so attacked and confused today in our society that it certainly deserves more than one or two days of preparation.

    The Synod of Bishops has been discussing this exact point in October 2015.
    They said that it was nonsense to do marriage prep over just a weekend (the one day wasn’t even mentioned).
    Maybe it was enough 40 or 50 years ago when couples had had a good remote preparation within their Catholic practicing families as kids.
    It is not the case anymore.

  • Can the course be taught over a weekend? Open or Close

    No.
    Because of the nature of the questions asked and the decisions that each couple is required to make, these matters take time to consider.
    In most seminar style courses, information is absorbed only in the first few hours; think back over your own experiences…
    Weekend style classes do not provide instructors with the opportunity to build trust with these couples like they can over several encounters.

  • Is there an expectation that the engaged couples will have some kind of active faith life ? Is there an assumption that they have a relationship with God? Open or Close

    No.
    We have prepared over 15,000 couples from all kinds of backgrounds in the past eleven years, online and live, with this course, and it has always worked well.
    They don’t need to have a strong religious background.
    The course will encourage them to think and to look for answers.
    Their instructors will complete their answers with the teachings of the Church, catechizing the couples according to their needs and as the course goes.
    Couples will then come to evaluate their faith on their own, as a logical consequence.  

  • Why does the program focus so much on the spiritual aspects of marriage rather than on life-skills? Open or Close

    Christian marriage has both human and religious dimensions, and the Church needs to form and prepare engaged couples in both.
    However, as between the two dimensions, not only is the religious the more important (in fact, it is the informing principle, or the “soul” so to speak, of the human dimension) it is also the one in which the Church alone has a pre-eminent competence. 
    In other words, an engaged couple can learn well just about everything they need to know regarding the human dimension of marriage – e.g., good communication skills, good budgeting practices, good parenting principles, etc. – from reliable secular sources, and we should feel free to refer couples to them. 
    However, with respect to the religious dimension of marriage (i.e., its core sacramental identity and the moral obligations that flow from its identity) it is the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church alone that can teach them what they need to know.
    And so, though we should give due regard and attention to the human concerns of marriage, we should spend a greater proportion of time and attention on the religious. 
    As the Pontifical Council for the Family wrote in their 1996 document, Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage“It is essential that the time and care necessary should be devoted to doctrinal preparation.  The security of the content must be the center and essential goal of the course…”

    Still, throughout, our program focuses on many different life-skills, linking them to the spiritual because we consider the Person as whole (body/spirit/soul):

    First session: the reading of Genesis eliminates any confusion about our life’s missions as male and female.

    Second session: St. Paul teaches us how to communicate and live as husband and wife.

    We also focus on forgiveness, one of the most important skills in marriage!

    Third session: we approach chastity, family planning.

    We also discuss what discipline is about and give resources on child rearing.

    Fourth session: we go into the more “traditional” type of life-skills such as potential problems, communication, conflict resolution, budgeting, and expectations.

  • Can I teach the course without my spouse? Open or Close

    No, because this is MARRIAGE preparation.
    For the benefit of the engaged couples, both husband and wife of the instructor couple need to present the material.
    The richness of the material is revealed in the completeness of BOTH the male and female perspectives.
    Not only is it important for the engaged couples to have a great example of a married couple working together, but the instructor couple will reap great benefits for their own marriage.

  • Can our parish train other instructors? Open or Close

    No, only Catholic Marriage Prep, LLC, will form instructors and only online.

    This provides consistency among the instructors, convenience for couples, and a safe-guard for the parish.
    Because the instructors’ answers are written out, if there are any issues that arise during formation, the priest can decide whether or not they become instructors.

  • Can more than one instructor couple teach the same course? Open or Close

    No, we don’t recommend it. The main reason is because the instructors build a trusting relationship with each of the couples, session after session.
    This allows for couples to feel comfortable asking all their questions, and discussing their difficulties with their instructor couple.
    By building a solid relationship, and teaching the positions of the Church with love, we have an acceptance rate of abstinence and NFP greater than 70% in both cases!

  • Does the parish have to buy additional resources outside of the instructor training to implement the course? Open or Close

    Yes and no…
    No, the instructor training is all-inclusive and the instructors have everything they need, along with one Workbook.
    Yes, the parish will have to buy more Workbooks (which are then resold to the couples).
    We also recommend that light refreshments be available to the couples like water, soda, fruit, cheese, crackers, etc.

  • Are the workbooks per couple or per person? Open or Close

    They are per couple.
    There are two types of books:
    - The complete workbook in color, very nice, a keepsake for the couple
    or
    - the Notebook, a cheaper black and white version of the workbook.
    The notebook doesn't include the documents at the end of each session, documents that the couples are supposed to read in between sessions.
    Instructors will just email these documents to the couples between each session (the documents are on the Instructors CD).

  • How often should we teach a live course in a year? Open or Close

    We teach several live classes per year, between 6 and 8 at the request of the Archdiocese of Denver.
    We require having at least 7 student couples per class to make it worth, or we cancel the class and switch the couples to the online (even more personal since one-on-one).
    We have a final "ceremonial" at the end of session 4.
    Everything will be explained in details in the Instructors Manual.

  • What happens if a couple misses a session? Open or Close

    Couples can catch up online. Instructors can direct them to http://www.catholicmarriageprep.com/make-up-sessions-registration 
    where they can register for the session they missed, staying on track with the rest of the couples.
    The couple will be charged a fee of $19.95 per class for this service, as Catholic Marriage Prep, LLC online instructors will handle the teaching.

    The fee is an incentive to the couple to do everything possible to avoid missing a session at the parish for all but the most urgent matters, and to provide a hassle-free service for the parish.
    The couple’s reviewed work will be sent to their live instructors, of course.

  • How long are the sessions? Open or Close

    Each session is about two and a half hours long.

  • Where can we find an outline for each session’s logistics? Open or Close

    Everything will be detailed in the Instructors' manual that you will receive at the end of your training.
    In the meantime, you can have an idea of the content of each session by visiting this page: http://www.catholicmarriageprep.com/classroom-pre-cana-info/classroom-course-content

  • How do the sessions with engaged couples proceed? Open or Close

    In the instruction manual that you will receive at the end of your training, you will find all the details and the course plans you need.
    We also give you explanations in your training’s answer keys.
    We always start with prayer, and then we follow with the Power Point show.
    The questions for the couples are written in yellow on the presentation.
    They need to look for answers before you go on with the show. Of course, you do not just read the slides, but you develop on what's in the slide, after the couples have tried to find their own answers.
    You complete with the teaching of the Church.

  • Are we simply facilitators that turn on a computer and advance the slides? Open or Close

    Not at all! The PowerPoint is your support. 

    The questions for the couples are written in yellow on the presentation.
    They need to look for answers before you go on with the show.
    Of course, you do not just read the slides, but you develop on what's in the slide, after the couples have tried to find their own answers.
    You complete with the teaching of the Church.

  • Who reads the slides, each person quietly or one person aloud? Open or Close

    We ask volunteers to read the passages of Scripture, in order to get couples to participate more.
    Again, the slides are not meant to be just read. They are meant to ask the questions to the couples, and as a support to your talk. This way you do not need to be constantly looking for what is coming next in your manual...



 

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