Sacrament of Marriage: A Holy CallingCourse Level: Basic

Course Summary

Marriage is a sacrament and vocation embracing God's grace to build up the Body of Christ. John Paul II wrote that "The communion of love between God and people, a fundamental part of the Revelation and faith experience of Israel, finds a meaningful expression in the marriage covenant which is established between a man and a woman."¯(Familiaris Consortio #12)

In this course we will present the historical, theological and scriptural understanding of marriage in the Catholic tradition as we trace the roots of this sacrament. In this online course we will also explore the components of the marriage preparation process as outlined by the Pontifical Council for the Family as it derives meaning from this sacramental understanding. The ultimate goal of this course is to see the sacrament of marriage as an intimate and life giving relationship between a couple established by God which reflects the love of Christ and His Church.

This course is specifically designed for all individuals who are interested in deepening their understanding of the sacrament of marriage. It is also well suited for those involved in marriage preparation ministry who want to broaden their background.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • To assist the participant to explore the sacramental nature of marriage
  • To foster an understanding marriage as a sacramental covenant
  • To read and review the Church’s teaching on marriage and family
  • To gain an appreciation of the Christian celebration of marriage
  • To identify the necessary components of marriage preparation programs
  • To understand the integration between Church teaching and marriage preparation ministry

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Thomas, David M. Christian Marriage: The New Challenge Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2007. ISBN: 0814652247; ISBN-13: 978-0814652244
  • Required DVD: Diocese of Rockville Centre When Two Become One (DVD) Diocese of Rockville Centre: May be purchased through:

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: History and Theology of Marriage
    • To map out the history of marriage from ancient cultures through modern church times
    • To trace the Scriptural foundations of marriage
    • To move from an understanding of marriage as a contract to marriage as covenant
    • To understand more deeply marriage as a vocation
  • Week 2: Church Teachings on Marriage and Family
    • Through Church teachings, which are ultimately grounded in Scripture, we will learn about God’s plan for marriage and the family.
    • To highlight two post Vatican II documents that focus on the vocation and mission of married couples
    • To gain an appreciation of how the Catechism aids in our understanding of marriage as sacrament
    • To explain how Jesus Christ as bridegroom of the Church reveals the nature of marriage
    • To understand the sacrament of marriage as a symbol of the event of salvation for the world
  • Week 3: Spirituality of Marriage
    • To reflect on The Rite of Christian Marriage
    • Through continued readings gaining a deeper understanding of the Paschal Mystery in Marriage
    • What is the Church’s teaching on Married Sexuality/Marital Intimacy
    • How forgiveness/Sacrament of Reconciliation are crucial in a sacramental marriage
    • The importance of prayer and worship as a couple
  • Week 4: Spirituality of Family/Parenting
    • To embrace the Christian Vision of Family Life
    • To understand what it means for a parent to becoming Co-Creators With God
    • To identify how parents are witnesses of the Paschal Mystery
    • To identify the responsibility of sharing our faith with children
  • Week 5: Marriage Preparation: A Catechetical and Evangelizing Moment
    • To examine “A Study of the Value of Marriage Preparation” (Creighton University)
    • To understand the connection between remote, proximate and immediate marriage preparation
    • To be able to design an integrative marriage preparation program-components and topics
    • To identify the goals of marriage preparation ministry and the role of the marriage preparation facilitator