Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 13, 2006
Marriage preparation to include teaching the Catholic faith
New director will strive for couples to improve relationship with God
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"We have to inculcate a belief in the indissolubility of marriage."
- Paul Quist
Their journey to Catholicism had begun long before. "My wife and I were feeling very drawn to the Catholic Church and we were reading Catholic books and the Catechism, talking to priests."
In November 2003 the couple went to a Catholic Family Ministries' conference in Edmonton and heard Christopher West speak on John Paul II's theology of the body. That was the clincher. "He really resonated with us and we thought after this we have to be Catholic."
In March 2004, Quist resigned from his parish. The couple sold their house and moved to Australia to study at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.
"After we heard Christopher we just knew we wanted to study more and I also knew I would be out of a job. I couldn't be a Lutheran pastor anymore."
Quist is currently working on a pontifical master's degree in sacred theology, which will allow him to teach in a seminary. Carol is nearly finished her master's of theology in marriage and family and is expected to assist at the Marriage and Life Office in the near future.
"My view of marriage has been formed very much by the Church's teaching and particularly by the formation I received at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family," Quist said. The institute places particular emphasis on evangelization and re-evangelization of couples.
Many couples coming to the Marriage and Family Life Office for marriage preparation have mixed faith backgrounds.
"Obviously one of them has been baptized because they are coming for a Catholic marriage but some haven't been catechized, haven't been back to Mass for many years," Quist noted.
This reality calls for more preparation on the basics of the Catholic faith. "So in our marriage preparation program, while it's not RCIA, people still need to hear the very basics of the faith so that they can bring all the resources of faith and the Church into their marriage," Quist said.
"We also need good teaching on the sacramentality of marriage, the meaning of the human person, the meaning of gender and sexuality. We need good practical advice on conflict resolution, communication, finances.
"And we need to address in a deliberate but also careful and compassionate way the whole question around chastity and natural family planning . . . and call people who are entering into marriage to live the fullness of what the Church teaches on those matters."
Couples today marry knowing they can divorce if things don't work out. That's worrisome to Quist.
"We have to inculcate a belief in the indissolubility of marriage; that just as Christ gave himself completely to the Church and for ever - he said, 'I am with you always,' so too husband and wife give themselves to each other completely, freely and for the whole of life."
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