I am seeking objective input on the Symbolon Project from anyone who has used it.
Thank you in advance!
I am seeking objective input on the Symbolon Project from anyone who has used it.
Thank you in advance!
Fr. Robert J. Hater in his awesome book Common Sense Catechesis gives catechists an instructional form to understand the “Lessons from the Past” as well as a “Road Map for the Future.”
I love that. While it’s good to know where we came from and how we got to where we are today, that’s just an echo of thoughts if the student is not given a map pointing him in the right direction. That’s so important.
Let’s get started with this book study, shall we?
The forward of Fr. Hater’s book is written by Sister Angela Ann Zukowski of the University of Dayton. She makes sure the reader is aware of the “shifts” in our society and culture. There have been political, psychology, sociology, methodology, and anthropology shifts. I’ll wait will you google some of those definitions. 😉
Our whole world has changed. Is changing and “secularism, relativism, consumerism, and individualism” are making us (and especially our children) think and act differently. There’s no going back, folks. I’m sorry. Just as there is no going back to the caveman era or the stone ages, there is no going back for those of us living in the technological age. Aside from the second coming, we know too much. Man has always moved forward, never backward.
Mother the Church is wise beyond her years. While God does not change, the Church does. It is the human community on earth…ever nurturing, ever guiding.
The Popes have been guardians of the growth and changing nature of this human entity, constantly taking the rebellious, delinquent child by the neck and guiding us back, giving us a deliberate shake, and reminding us what the consequences of our actions are. And then, most importantly of all, forgiving us and embracing and welcoming us back home.
Like it or not, every home needs a disciplinarian. And every home needs a comforter. Such has always been the image of the family in the characters known as Father and Mother. This creates a balance. Life pleads for balance.
For years the family has been the unshakeable stronghold of the Church.
The domestic church linked to the ever greater Church. The “traditional Catholic family…offered balance, stability, and direction…” In many homes, it still does. I know these families. I see them in Church and CCD every week.
Yet cultural, political, environmental, global “shifts” have shifted our ways of thinking, our views, our opinions, our actions.
“The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is part…icularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.” — Pope Francis, from his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium
Mother Church sits there reminding us that we have been adopted by a King. We are children of God. We are loved. We have dignity. We are valuable. Procedure with caution. Listen to your Mother.
And the rebellious child spits at her and recklessly goes along with his free will, master of his senses. Many children today grow up without that fatherly influence. And without a father, there is no protection for the family.
The Church has always harbored the poor, the unwanted, the undesirables, the rejected, the homeless, the fatherless.
Numerous Popes have been the fatherly voice, fiercely reinforcing the mother’s counsel. Sometimes the Church is the only authoritative voice in a child’s life. Popes, like fathers, tend to be blunt and authoritative. With youth we don’t see the wisdom, not until we’re old and spent (miserably so)…and wisdom has found us. It’s all quit natural. And then we wish we had listened more to that old reckoning voice.
It might help to remember that the Church is over 2000 years old. That’s pretty old by anyone’s standards. And pretty wise.
The Church has outlived emperors and plagues and generals and presidents and kings and it will outlive each of us.
Perhaps we, people of the 21st century, would be wise in listening more closely to the trail of wisdom left by a Church founded by the Voice of God.
Perhaps that is what we need to tell the children who come through our religious education doors this school year. If they desire to be open-minded, begin by listening to the Voice of God that is older and wiser than their parents and grandparents.
The questions Sister Angela mentions are:
These are questions catechists in the schools needs to address and know.
Pope Francis challenges catechists: “The catechist, then, is a Christian who is mindful of God, who is guided by the memory of God in his or her entire life and who is able to awaken that memory in the hearts of others. That is not easy! It engages our entire existence! What is the Catechism itself, if not the memory of God, the memory his works in history and his drawing near to us in Christ present in his word, in the sacraments, in his Church, in his love?
“Dear catechists, I ask you: Are you in fact the memory of God?” (September 29, 2013)
In order to be the memory of God, wouldn’t it make sense to have a “historical catechetical perspective”? To “learn from the past in order to re-imagine the future”?
Fr. Hater, in this book, helps us to follow the Church’s vision and mission in evangelizing and disciplining the Church and why it will take new approaches and methodology for catechesis in today’s ever-changing world.
“You are greatly misled” (Mark 12:27) .
Recently I had a conversation with a friend who doesn’t believe in Jesus or in Heaven or Hell. He believes that when we die, our bodies will decay beneath the earth and that’ll be the end of it.
While deluded, his view of his eternal destiny sounds far less terrifying, even comforting, compared to the indescribable suffering that in fact awaits “those who, to the end of their lives, refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.” (Catechism, Para. 1034).
St. Faustina was commanded by God to tell people they cannot avoid Hell by claiming on the Last Day they didn’t know it existed. She wrote in her Diary that when she was led by an Angel to the chasms of Hell, she discovered it to be awesomely large and extensive and a place of great suffering.
I shared with my friend a better picture, where on the Last Day the souls who died in God’s friendship will be reunited with their bodies and raised up like angels, “When they rise from the dead they are like the angels in Heaven.” (Mark 12:25) I conveyed what I know as truth from Scripture and the Catechism, which makes clear what God willed from creation. As my words reached his ears, I noticed a fragment of hope in his eye, as if he hadn’t known.
In the Gospels of Mark, Jesus revealed this truth to the Sadducees, but they didn’t believe either. Sadly today, many don’t. Some, like the Sadducees, reject it because they’ve been misled, while others, like my friend, simply don’t know. “You do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)
How then, will unbelievers find out before the Last Day? We, who ourselves have been led to the truth, must be joyful messengers of what Jesus revealed to us: that “God is the God of the living; not the dead” (Mark 12:27).
I read this book in less than a week. It’s that good. That easy. That sensible. That practical. That informative.
It’s simply full of good common sense.
It’s so good I’m getting my catechists started with it this school year.
I think an online book study is probably the easiest, most common sense way for us all to discuss this book, share ideas and thoughts regarding the past while supplying a roadmap to the future, and starting off a great catechetical year of learning.
This topic concerns all catechists and Catholic parents. The world has changed. The Church has changed.
God has not.
What have we lost? What have we gained? How has that changed our identity as Catholic people? What is our responsibility to our children? Why don’t people care anymore?
Order the book here: Common Sense Catechesis by Fr. Robert J. Hater
Each week we’ll read and discuss a chapter and I will have a chapter summary posted here to help you see the important points Fr. Robert J. Hater makes in his book. Questions (as a post-Vatican II youth being raised by pre-Vatican II parents) I’ve wondered about. Areas I’ve surfed aimlessly. Concerns I’ve struggled with. A faith that I continue to love.
Join book study discussion here: CRET: Catholic Religious Education Teachers (comments in the combox here are always welcome for discussion)
Additional Related Article:
On Catechesis: Love and Common Sense by Jennifer Fitz
Concise Book Review by Sean Ater
This arrived with perfect timing. … I work with families of children preparing and so many times I witness that they have put their focus on the dress, the party, the cake, the photographer, etc, even putting the focus on the children having a pageant like experience….I love this paragraph [of your post] “Because when you take away the pretty dress and the pretty hair, the veil, the crown, the gloves, and the festivities, what’s behind it all is Jesus. At First Communion, we’re not celebrating our children so much as we’re celebrating him — the God of Love who took flesh and blood in order to bring us eternal life. Our eyes and our hearts should be turned to him.” AMEN!!!
Scabbed heads, burned faces, and stomach viruses might not seem like a lucky start to my fourth child Marguerite’s First Communion day. Poor Marguerite tripped over the curb at school a few days before her First Communion and went flying up, up, up, and then down onto the pavement. Scabbed knees, scabbed hands, but the worst was a big scab on her forehead right by her hairline. Not the best for close-up shots.Then there was my husband’s burned face. He got scalded in the shower (horrible, I know — how did that happen?), and the entire left side of his face was covered by a reddish-purplish burn. To disguise it, we had to decide between a Phantom of the Opera style mask, a Middle Eastern veil, or Loreal True Match foundation. We went with the foundation. The whole unfortunate event reminded my husband of the time in high school that he let his brother Tony cut his hair.
Hair buzzer: “Skkkrrt.”
Left with a bald spot in the back of his head, my husband colored it in with a black magic marker so no one would notice. See the parallels? But I digress.
Finally, there was the matter of my younger daughter Cecilia’s stomach virus. I’ll spare you the gory details, but they were — gory. None of the guests invited to the First Communion party was willing to set foot in the house plagued by such an unpleasant virus.
My mother-in-law mourned the absence of a full-scale shindig like we had for our other children’s First Communions. It doesn’t matter, I told my mother-in-law, Marguerite will have a party with Jesus. Because when you take away the pretty dress and the pretty hair, the veil, the crown, the gloves, and the festivities, what’s behind it all is Jesus. At First Communion, we’re not celebrating our children so much as we’re celebrating him — the God of Love who took flesh and blood in order to bring us eternal life. Our eyes and our hearts should be turned to him.
So we might not have been able to bring Marguerite to his altar without blemish or spot (Eph. 5:27). We might not have been able to bring ourselves that way either. But all the minor calamity took our minds off of what we were bringing Jesus and made us focus on what he was giving us — freely, undeservedly, despite our inner and outer flaws, and despite the masks we wore to cover them. We cannot possibly merit the gift of God sacrificing himself for us on the altar or on Calvary so many centuries ago. We can only receive it with humility and devotion. Realizing the enormity of God’s gift in the Eucharist is what made Marguerite’s First Communion the luckiest — the most blessed — of all.
The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, May 11, 2014
Fourth Sunday in Easter
Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 2:14A, 36-41
A reflection on today’s First Reading:
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation!” (Acts 2:40)
This verse in the Book of Acts brings an image to my mind of a street activist holding a sign with those words scrawled across it — a scenario many would turn away from. But those who heard St. Peter’s speech at Pentecost were “cut to the heart” by it, and that day, three thousand were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
How many of us were “cut to the heart” these past days of Lent and now seek forgiveness for our part in Christ’s death? Every one of us who has heard St. Peter’s message must also turn away from sin and allow the Holy Spirit to change us.
Here’s what the Catechism tells us about St. Peter’s message:
“Since Easter, the Holy Spirit has proved ‘the world wrong about sin,’ (Cf John 19:21) i.e., proved that the world has not believed in Him whom the Father has sent. But this same Spirit who brings sin to light is also the Consoler who gives the human heart grace for repentance and conversion.” (Catechism, Para. 1433)
Indeed, we must save ourselves from this corrupt generation! Repentance points us toward the goodness in our lives — it points us to God. Since Jesus Himself said that baptism is necessary for our salvation, we too must become sharers in His mission and stand up for St. Peter’s message — it doesn’t matter where or how we do it, but it matters that we do.
If you teach the Ten Commandments to fifth grade boys, they are going to ask you about guns.
Is it okay to be a soldier? Can you defend yourself if someone attacks you? What if you see a bad guy attacking someone else? What if you know the bad guy is going to attack? What if the bad guy attacks, but now he’s running away . . . the questions can go on for half an hour, easy. If you’re the catechist, it’s your job to answer those questions.
What do you tell them? You tell them what the Catechism says. You keep it G-rated, of course. And you leave your agenda at home.
Within the Catholic teaching on just warfare and legitimate self-defense, there is wide latitude for prudential judgement and personal charisms. Some of your students will be the children of soldiers and police officers. Depending on where you live, some of your students may have their own guns at home, that they use every autumn when they go hunting with their parents. Some of your students may be the children of anti-war protesters or professed pacifists.
As a catechist, it is not your job to deliver your personal spin on what the “right” kind of Catholic is. It’s not your job to provide your personal editorial on, say, the recent announcement by Archbishop Gregory concerning concealed carry in Georgia parishes. (Of course you’ll inform students that they need to obey both the law and the bishop.)
You probably do have an opinion. You might write about it on Facebook, or send a letter to the bishop thanking him or asking him to reconsider, you might rant and rave at the dinner table about all the poor souls in your parish who think exactly the wrong thing on this topic.
But that opinion does not belong in your class. Your job is to teach the Catholic faith. That’s what you teach, and it’s all you teach.
And it’s fun!
(Editor’s note: While this is a homily from Holy Thursday mass, it is packed with catechesis on the Eucharist, the priesthood, and the necessity of accepting suffering in order to evangelize and truly live the Christian life. Highly recommended! LM)
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Corpus Christi RC Church
April 17, 2014
The basic facts of his life are the following: born in Pennsylvania in 1904; ordained a priest in 1937; slipped into the Soviet Union in 1940; arrested and charged with espionage in 1941; imprisoned for 23 years in the Gulag; given his freedom in 1963 and, finally, died in 1984. This man is Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.
A similar set of facts situates another life for us: born in 1928; ordained a priest in 1953; elevated to the episcopacy in 1967; arrested in 1975 and imprisoned for 13 years in North Vietnamese re-education camps; released from detention in 1988, and, finally, died in 2002. This man is Francis Cardinal Thuan.
As you have just heard, imprisonment figured decisively in the personal history of each man. The confinement meant of course deprivation of every kind – except what matters most in the spiritual life of every priest and his ministry. I am referring to the Holy Eucharist.
In the book With God in Russia (1964), Ciszek writes: “I had a little chalice and paten that one of the prisoners made out of nickel. . . . I would try to have the men get up early in the morning and go to various points around the camp. I’d meet them there, ostensibly by chance, in groups of two or three and, under the guise of a morning greeting, distribute Communion.” In the book Five Loaves and Two Fish (1997), Thuan writes: “At 9:30 PM, the lights were turned off and everyone had to sleep. I curled up on the bed to celebrate Mass, from memory. . . . [T]he prisoners received communion around me. . . . We made small containers from cigarette packages to reserve the Blessed Sacrament. . . . [T]he prisoners took turns for adoration. . . . Many Christians regained the fervor of their faith during those days, and Buddhists and other non-Christians converted.”
In tonight’s second reading, we have Saint Paul’s account of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. (cf. 1 Cor. 11:23-26) Recalling the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, the apostle notes also that the Lord commanded the apostles to repeat what He had done for the very first time in history. (cf. 1 Cor. 11:24) Moreover, in this command to repeat, we are instructed about frequency. As often as the apostles want to be in communion with the Lord, often then should they celebrate the Eucharist. (cf. 1 Cor. 11:25)
In listening carefully to the text, we realize that often is the only condition Jesus established for the Eucharist. He did not prescribe, for instance, in what place or at what time the Eucharist should be offered. Throughout history, these secondary matters of place and time have varied enormously depending on conditions favorable and unfavorable to the Church.
What great risk there was in Ciszek and Thuan offering Mass clandestinely! The fact that each one assumed that risk of harsher treatment and greater suffering is a powerful lesson about the irreplaceability of the Eucharist in our lives.
We celebrate the Eucharist often because, as Saint Paul says, we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26) Every Eucharist is thus a foreshadowing of the Lord’s parousia or second coming. But in between the first and second comings of Christ, we continue to have the Lord’s Presence – what we traditionally call His Real Presence.
Now this surely explains why Ciszek and Thuan took the risk they did. Even though they could not be physically free, they knew that it was salutary to be in the presence of the One Who makes everyone free of his sins. In His earthly ministry, Jesus healed the blind, the deaf and the lame, and He continues to do this for us now by His sacramental presence. For without the Eucharist, Ciszek and Thuan might very well have given in to the darkness of unbelief, the silence of despair and the crippling state of apathy.
Unbelief, despair, and apathy are present in all the ages of history, and these afflictions are seldom missing in one form or another from individual lives. Faith, hope, and love – the remedies for the aforementioned burdens – come to us through Christ and the Spirit He sends to regenerate us. They come of course when we ourselves are there at the Eucharist to receive these divine favors.
The challenge we all know is that many of our co-religionists are often not with us. The new evangelization bids each one of us then to live the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity as best we can, and thereby invite a curiosity about their origin in the one bread and the one cup we share tonight.
Saint Paul expresses the evangelizing spirit this way: “For the love of Christ impels us,” (2 Cor. 5:14) that is, it thrusts us forward into contact with others. We are led to do this, Saint Paul contends, by a conviction. (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14) Our conviction about the Eucharist is that the Lord is with us Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, although our eyes see just bread and wine. Conviction is not group think; on the contrary, it is inexorably personal. At the same time, conviction is sustained by good outward example, and when that example accords fully with unseen conviction, it causes others to inquire, How can I believe like that too? As the belief of Fr. Ciszek and Cardinal Thuan might move us to a deeper devotion to the Eucharist, might we in turn be catalysts for others to have a deeper, more profound faith in the Lord Who dwells with us on the altar and in the tabernacle.
In tonight’s gospel, Saint John records Jesus announcing that not all of the apostles are clean. (cf. Jn 13:10) This declaration is prompted by the betrayal of Judas which Jesus discloses explicitly and is recorded a few verses later. (cf. Jn 13:21-30) Concerning being made clean, the Fathers of the Church interpreted this reference as an illusion to Baptism. And tonight I would like to use this baptismal motif as a springboard for commenting briefly on the ministerial priesthood.
There is one priesthood of Christ. Yet there are two participations in it – the priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood. Moreover, the Second Vatican Council teaches that the ministerial priesthood differs from the priesthood of the baptized not just in degree but in essence. (cf. Lumen Gentium, 10)
The ministerial priesthood is also at the service of the priesthood of the baptized. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1547) When we consider the lives of Ciszek and Thuan, it is clear that these two priests served by their suffering. They lived for years at a time what Jesus did for all men when He hung upon the Cross on Good Friday.
It is not in its length but in its ordering to love that suffering is redemptive. Suffering endured out of love affords the priest the opportunity to be more Christ-like, which after all is the preeminent goal of his vocation. And following Christ’s example, the priest chooses to accept suffering because it is, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “the firmest basis of the definitive good, namely, the good of eternal salvation.” (Salvifici Doloris, 26)
The one who attains eternal salvation is the one who lives a holy life. The priest’s holiness is found partly in his ministerial activities: offering Mass; hearing confessions; anointing the sick and dying; preaching and pastoral administration. But surely it does not end there. Holiness for the priest requires that he be willing to suffer for the truth. And for that, you need not be detained against your will although that was the penalty for speaking truthfully in the case of Saint John the Baptist.
When John told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife (Mk 6:18),” he found himself arrested and imprisoned. (cf. Mk 6:17) This outcome is unlikely today for the priest who dares to address moral subjects in the pulpit, but with speech codes and the like, we are moving closer and closer in that direction. It is much more likely that he be accused of upsetting people when he has departed from the social consensus on topics like birth control, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. Suffering for the truth comes in different forms – sometimes for the priest it takes the form of being cast as out-of-touch with modern ideas and being branded as pastorally inflexible.
The prophetic ministry of the priest is vindicated because it is not his own word he preaches but the word of God. That word will never pass away, but it is going to be resisted. Yet even in the resistance there is a real opportunity for likeness to Christ on the part of the priest. “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first,” Jesus tells the apostles at the Last Supper. (Jn 15:18) Like Christ in being rejected, the priest finds encouragement and solace in these words spoken by the Lord of the world at the Last Supper: “[T]ake courage, I have conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33)
All the while the priest is trying to imitate Christ, he must still have his eyes trained on Saint John the Baptist. A sign of vocational maturity for the priest then is the extent to which he makes his own the words of the Baptist: “He must increase; I must decrease.” (Jn 3:30) And nowhere is this attitude of self-forgetfulness more evident than in tonight’s gospel. For the One Who is increasing there is increasing paradoxically along the path of humility.
In tonight’s gospel, Jesus washes the feet of the apostles. (cf. Jn 13:12) With this gesture, Jesus bids the apostles to wash one another’s feet. (cf. Jn 13:14) It is clear, too, that in this humble action, the apostles have a model which they can use even when the Lord is not with them. (cf. Jn 13:15) With this part of the gospel, I take an opportunity to comment on the service rendered by Catholic lay men and women who strive after holiness also.
In the latter part of the text, we ought to pay attention not only to what Jesus does, but also to what He says. He acknowledges the titles given Him, Master and Teacher, and approves of them. (cf. Jn 13:13) A teacher instructs, and thus his words are as meaningful as his actions. Indeed, there is no gap between word and deed – where one ends, the other begins. There is a veritable seamlessness between speech and conduct.
The unity of word and deed is expressed still another way at the Last Supper. Besides the mandatum or foot washing and besides the titles of Master and Teacher, there are petition and consecration. The petition concerns Jesus’ prayer that God’s love be in the apostles. (cf. Jn 17:26) The consecration is that the apostles be made holy in the truth. (cf. Jn 17:19)
When we bear love and truth through our direct service, these same gifts are received together by the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized. And through our works of mercy, we address the suffering and pain of the people whom we want to help. At the very same time, our works of mercy contribute to the holiness of servant (ourselves) and served (the people we are trying to help) because they reflect the correct integration of love and truth. But not all forms of assistance preserve this correct integration of love and truth.
The Church’s refusal to cooperate in same-sex adoptions, for instance, is not a violation of anyone’s civil rights. The Church is only saying that she has a right to maintain her Catholicity all the while she helps people. The same holds for the HHS mandates which threaten to force the Church out of the health care and education fields. The Church’s service must be consonant with her nature. Doxology or giving glory to God does not exist where right belief and right practice are unhinged.
Let us resolve tonight to be more committed to the Holy Eucharist, to pray for priests and to practice love in the truth. We have begun to celebrate the Lord’s paschal victory in word and sacrament tonight. Let us prepare to go now with the Lord into the Garden and pray not to be put to the test. (cf. Lk 22:46)
Praised be Jesus Christ!
In Melanie Bettinelli’s new posting series Seeking Curriculum for First Communion Preparation and Religious Education? she addresses (what I believe) to be the ultimate problem in our Catholic religious education programs:
“I don’t think books are the mainstay of my religious education program. And actually, to drive this point home, I want to eschew the phrase ‘religious education’ because I think what I do is much more formation than education. What we are doing is living a Catholic life. Our faith is not merely an academic subject to be studied like math or history or literature, it’s a relationship to be lived in our daily life.”
I write more as a Catholic wife/mother than I do as a Catholic D.R.E.
Books are necessary tools. Books are wonderful. Books give us information, wisdom, truth, thoughts, ideas, and a peek inside the minds of great men, women, and saints. They are necessary.
But religious training in a faith we hold near and dear is more about formation than education.
Children will not desire to learn more about something they do not love.
Children will not care about something they do not live.
And, while religion might indeed be something we can teach the youth, a life of faith ultimately begins with a relationship between a child and his Creator.
Yet so many children enter our hallways and classrooms without that primal introduction and relationship already established.
Instead, they are led into our hallways and classrooms for one hour a week (a day if in Catholic schools) and handed a book.
Most of the time there is a teacher and a book standing in the way of the Teacher and the Book.
Perhaps if we could only make ourselves step out of the way and allow the child to meet and get to know this Creator on a personal level; we’d have more success with our religious education training.
I’m anxious to hear what more Melanie tells us in her series: Seeking Curriculum for First Communion and Religious Education.
First Part: Bible Stories
For those of you who haven’t heard, my daughter is getting married!!! We are crazy about the man she is engaged to (how can you not love a man who started out their relationship by pledging to my husband that he would protect our daughter and her chastity at all costs… yup, that happened). Their first decision, after deciding to get married, was to schedule their Pre-Cana classes (coincidently, my husband and I are on the Pre-Cana teaching team). They are eager to start their marriage out on the best spiritual ground they can. My daughter has already begun Natural Family Planning classes, so that she will be fully prepared for all aspects of their married life.
I can’t help but contrast their experience to so many of the couples my husband and I teach at Pre-Cana. One couple planned every aspect of their wedding day, but forgot to sign up for Pre-Cana (we accommodated them by having a special session the week before they got married).
The other thing we witness, are the couples who have the beautiful and blessed wedding Mass, only to skip Mass on the first Sunday they are married, which is a mortal sin according to the teachings of the Church.
If they contracept on their wedding night, they have already broken the wedding vow of being open to life (often part of the spoken vows the priest reiterates in the ceremony). In order for a marriage to be a true Sacrament, the Church teaches it must be Faithful, Fruitful (open to life), Permanent, and Freely undertaken! How sad to diminish that Sacrament on the first night of married life.
Do they even realize that they have begun their married life with two serious sins on their souls, blemishing their marriage?
If we are to truly support our young couples, we must instruct them well in the teachings of the Church. Their marriages will be strengthened by understanding what a Sacramental marriage should be and how to accomplish it, thereby attaining the grace needed for a happy and fulfilling life together. Married life is a gift and a vocation, and should be entered into with all the information and faith formation that we accept for other Sacraments.
I look forward to celebrating this Sacrament with my daughter, her future husband, and his family. I pray they will be blessed abundantly.