Feb 19, 2014 / 04:01 am
The head of a major U.S. missionary apostolate says that evangelization – not simple catechesis – is needed to prepare Catholics for good marriages by putting Jesus Christ at the center of their lives.
“We have got to recognize the difference between evangelization and catechesis,” Curtis Martin, co-founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, told CNA Feb. 14.
“There is an attempt, by some of the best marriage preparation people in the country, to give all the catechesis about marriage that they possibly can, and they haven’t evangelized on the importance of Christian marriage.”
“You’re actually filling them with information but they don’t know why they need it.”
Catholics preparing for marriage should have “actually encountered Christ and have chosen to make him the center of their lives, so that this is the driving force in their life and the most important relationship.”
“That is fundamental,” he said.
Martin and his wife Michaelann began the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS, in 1998. The student missionary organization now has more than 350 missionaries on 83 U.S. campuses.
Martin, a father of nine, has served as a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the New Evangelization since 2011. He said that changes are needed for marriage preparation in the Catholic Church.
“Nobody wants to marry badly. But our marriage preparation is not engaging, it is not compelling, it is not effective, despite the fact that we’ve got some of the most sincere, wonderful people trying to do it.”
Marriage preparation is often perceived as “mostly onerous” and something that must be done in order to marry in the church one’s parents want.
Martin suggested that marriage preparation could be a winning moment to introduce people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and explain “why the Catholic faith can make all the difference in the marriage they’re hoping to enter into, and succeed in.” …
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