There are few criterion, a roman catholic couple should complete before they stand in front of the altar for exchange of their marriage vows. One of them is obtaining the certificate by completing the pre-cana seminar. According to wikipedia pre-cana is described as “Pre-Cana is a course or consultation couples must undergo before they can be married in a Catholic church. The name is derived from John 2:1–12, the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine.”
As mentioned the intention was to consult couples before they get married and educate them regarding the aspects of the marriage life.
Recently my fiance and myself got the chance to attend such seminar to earn the eligibility. It was held in one of the centers in Colombo Diocese on Sunday. The seminar was a one day program, 0830 to 1730 hrs.
The process of attending to such seminar is quite easy. A letter from the priest of the grooms’ church would be required and then the priest of the brides’ church would issue the form (or vice-verse) that is mandatory to attend the seminar. That form should be filled with care since only one form is being issued and try to make it accurate as much as possible since the certificate would carry those information. All instructions are on the form itself and it is required to register before hand. We were asked to present at the place before 30 minutes. A valid identification document (NIC, Passport or Driving License) was required to register at the venue.
0830 hrs the registration was started and then followed by a introductory address by one of the volunteer.
The first section was about the views of the marriage based on the perspectives of the Holy Bible. It was discussed along with five points extracting some phrases from the Holy Bible. The five points are
- Integrity and sustainability of the marriage
- Equal respect
- Marriage bond based on love
- Sexual side of the marriage life
The first session lasted around 2 hours where the voluntary couple (Upali and Nelishiya, a married couple for 35 years) shared their experience along with the perspectives of the Holy Bible covering above mentioned five points.
After the tea break the second section has begun by another voluntary couple (married for 16 years and having 5 sons and daughters, remarkably quite surprising). The main topic of the discussion was the physiological aspects of the marriage. It was a good sessions where again 5 stages of the marriage was explained with examples and sharing of their experiences. It was an interesting discussion where the participants were interacted with the presenters. Fice stages discussed are;
- Romantic stage
- Disappointment and Disillusionment stage
- Differentiation and Acceptance stage
- Modulation and integration stage
- Mature love stage
Once the second session was concluded the seminar was paused for the lunch.
After the lunch break the third section was started which was about the physical relationship between the couple after marriage. Another voluntary couple directed the session. How sex relates with the beliefs of the Catholic church was discussed first and then followed by the topics on issues faced by new couples in their sex lives, natural birth control techniques and abortions. It was good info specially they discussed a lot more technical aspects on natural birth control techniques (The Catholic church refuses artificial birth control techniques including condoms to LRT and etc..).
The last section was started right after the evening tea break. This session was organized in small groups (consisting 8 members in each group) where the voluntary couples separately addressed the small groups (male partner of the couple addressed the males and female partner addressed the girls in separate locations). Groups were formed separating males and females, it was regarding the social aspects of the marriage life. It covers how to cope with the new parents and siblings after the marriage and how to manage the financial requirements.
There were two questions per session (different questions) to be answered from what has been learnt and it was collected at the end of the seminar. Before concluding the event, two attendees addressed the participants and shared their views on the program. Certificates were distributed at the end of the seminar to all the participants.
Frankly I believe the program filled a gap and strengthened the knowledge that is really necessary for couples who are starting their lives as husband and wife. A humble thank with respect should be extend to all the volunteer couples (specially their dedication and commitment to make the program success and important), the priest in-charge of this program at the center and all the stakeholders.
May the blessing of the Jesus always with them and strengthen them to delivery much more to direct the lives of new couples into the right direction.