The Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life has come up with an interesting idea.
Marriage preparation is an essential tool these days for couples embarking on a new life together. However, divorce rates are still very high, and often it’s those first 10 years that make or break many families. So Gabriella Gambino, the under-secretary of The Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, created by Pope Francis in 2016, is championing a new idea — and it makes a lot of sense.
In the first 10 years of marriage, when many events happen that are often very demanding on a couple — such as the arrival of children, the building of an intense career, or relocation — couples can flounder. Gambino’s idea is to give spouses guidance and support as they navigate the first decade of life together and build some very solid foundations, as reported in i.media.
In an address to the Colombian Bishops’ Conference on the occasion of its 110th Plenary Assembly, Gambino, an Italian wife and mom, stated through a video link that this was now a modern-day “emergency.” She goes on to state: “Deciding to marry and have children is not like choosing a job or a house,” indeed, it is a call from God to commit to such a vocation.
Gambino is asking bishops to take a look at how the present-day marriage preparation is working and how pastoral care can be more effective in helping families as they grow. She goes on to state the importance of families themselves in contributing to the Church and how they need help to see Christ’s presence in the everyday challenges they face.
With further pastoral care Gambino also believes moms and dads would be better equipped to educate their children in the teachings of the Church, while also stressing the important role older family members have to play in helping younger family members discover the beauty that is marriage.
Gambino’s proposal comes at a time when families may be feeling the strain of quarantine and all the stressors that have come with COVID-19. Many couples have been more isolated and may have received less support from extended family members.
It is crucial that while there may not be an official extension of marriage preparation in place right now, local clergy, or pastoral ministers are always at hand to give support and assistance, even if it’s just over the phone.