The Cana Conference of Chicago offers both one-day and weekend
workshops for engaged couples, and attendance at one of these fulfills a couple's required marriage preparation in many parishes of
the Archdiocese of Chicago. The workshops are well-planned and provide a great deal of valuable information in such areas as financial
planning, family and parenting, couple communication, sexuality and
religious values, among others.
Still, the large attendance at these workshops prohibits any
significant personal interaction with individual couples. In light
of the above statistics, it would seem that engaged couples have a
right to something more. Additionally, the Revised Code of Canon
Law states that it is the obligation of the parish community to adequately prepare a couple for this important vocation within the
Another dimension of this pastoral concern involves the
Church's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the widening gap between this and the divorce rate in the United States.
Life in our society's value system ill prepares young people to undertake lifelong, intimate, self-sacrificing relationships. The concept
of marriage as a vocation in the Church, as a permanent covenant reflecting the love of Christ for the Church is exceedingly rare in young couples. Their reasons for marrying usually reflect typical
secular, consumer-oriented values. Many have not attended church
for years, and a significant number of couples have been living together for some time.