Parish Gears up for Pre-Cana Program By Mike Gomez

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Engaged couples scheduled to join hands and hearts in Holy Matrimony at Santuario de San Antonio shall soon be able to undergo their Marriage Preparation (Pre-Cana) seminar with the Family and Life Ministry of the Parish.

The Ministry, co-chaired by Doy and Jeannie Bitanga and Jaime and Karen Blanco, is preparing seminar modules based on guidelines set by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Archdiocese of Manila’s Ministry of Family and Life.

In line with these preparations, select family and life workers from SSAP observed the conduct of a Pre-Cana seminar given to 22 couples undergoing marriage preparation at the San Alphonsus Liguori Parish in Magallanes Village, Makati. This seminar was conducted by Magallanes Family Ministry heads Jojo and Gina Gloria, and their associates in EDUCHILD, Jeff and Joy Barreiro; Noel and Inez Gamboa. The module on the Sacrament of Matrimony was facilitated by Jack and Meg Trinidad.

The Pre-Cana seminar is a strict requirement for engaged couples aiming to marry under the aegis of the Catholic Church. It acquaints couples with the various issues to be dealt with in a marriage, focusing on their relationship as husband and wife, as well as their duties and responsibilities as responsible parents in a Catholic family.

The marriage preparation or Pre-Cana seminar is not to be mistaken for the family planning seminar that municipal and city governments require engaged couples to undergo prior to the issuance of their marriage licenses. This is also not to be mistaken for the engaged couples retreats or encounter weekends that are designed to help couples discern if they are truly meant for each other.

Prior to undergoing the Pre-Cana seminar, the engaged couple needs to accomplish all the necessary documentation required by the Church and undergo a canonical interview by the parish priest of the church at which they plan to be wed. Through this interview, the parish priest ascertains that the requisite conditions for valid marriage shall all be met before allowing the couple to attend the seminar and be married in the parish.

Doy and Jeannie Bitanga are assisted by Mike and Monette Gomez, who are longtime family and life workers with the Archdiocese, and have been conducting Pre-Cana seminars at the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life parish at the Mall of Asia compound for the past eight years.

Abbreviated marriage preparation seminars have been given to couples participating in mass weddings or “Kasalan Bayan” sponsored by the Parish, especially during Fiesta celebrations. Soon, however, all engaged couples wishing to be married at Santuario de San Antonio, whether they are parishioners or not, will be made to undergo in-house Pre-Cana sessions conducted by the Ministry of Family and Life.