PRIESTS IN CO WEXFORD and surrounding areas have received a letter from their bishop calling on them to take action and urge couples to sign up for pre-marriage courses.
The number of Catholic couples getting married in the Diocese of Ferns undertaking such courses fell over four years from 2006 — although there has been a slight increase in recent years. 33 per cent of couples took ‘Accord‘ courses eight years ago, while just 20 per cent did so in 2012.
Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan is sending out the letter this week. It tells priests the 20 per cent figure is “unacceptably low” especially in view of “the fundamental importance we all attach to marriage for our church community and for the welfare of our society”.
Because of this situation Accord feels it is necessary to ask you to do all you can to urge the couples who come to you to get married in the church(es) of your parish to do an Accord course before their wedding day.
We know, of course, that doing such a course is not legally obligatory in this diocese but at the same time you will agree that the priests in our parishes are very well placed to impress on these young couples the value and benefits of doing an Accord PMC.
There are just three Accord volunteers in the diocese at the moment — and priests are also being asked to help recruit extra facilitators to coach men and women planning to tie the knot.
To recruit such extra volunteers I ask you (and the priests in the other parishes of the diocese) to suggest to Accord a person or persons in your parish who might be suitable for the role of presenter of these PMCs.
There will, of course, be a selection process. Those who are then selected will be required to do a year’s course of training before they will begin the important pastoral work of presenting an Accord course.
Accord provides advice and information to couples getting married in Catholic churches. Its courses cover topics like communication and commitment, as well as sexuality and intimacy.
The Diocese of Ferns covers Co Wexford, as well as parts of Carlow and Wicklow.