About the Workshop
The purpose of this workshop is to invite married Catholic couples to explore the mystery of their life in Christ, who gave himself for us so that we might live. Christian marriage has as its premise the belief that spouses enter into this union in order to realize and live fully their baptismal call, the life they share in Christ by virtue of their baptism. Central to this life in Christ for Catholics is the great mystery of the Eucharist, in which we are fed by Christ himself. But the Eucharist is more than nourishment; it is a true pattern for our lives.
In this workshop we examine the Eucharistic liturgy as a model for married life. Each part of the liturgy informs our sacramental life together, from gathering to penitence, from breaking open the Word to partaking of the very Body and Blood of Christ. Each moment provides cause for reflection, both individually and as a couple, and holds promise for our growth as husband and wife, members of the Body of Christ.
Each section ends with suggested activities for reflection, prayer, and action. By taking time to examine the liturgy and the factors that obscure its power for us, we open ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our marriages. The Rite of Marriage begins with this prayer: “Christ abundantly blesses this love. He has already consecrated you in baptism, and now he enriches and strengthens you by a special sacrament so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity.”
Fidelity depends upon intimacy, and intimacy is rooted in Christ.
Features of the Workshop
The workshop centers on four pivotal elements of the Eucharistic liturgy, drawing parallels between each of these elements and married life.
· Gathering Rite: Predictability vs. Possibility
· Penitential Rite: Forgiveness Fundamentals
· Liturgy of the Word: Spirit in Story
· Liturgy of the Eucharist: Foundational Intimacies
Couples have ample private time to process with each other during extended periods of reflection, guided by focus questions which are provided. Limited large group processing provides time for sharing insights and clarifications. In order to go into depth and more aspects of the liturgy, this workshop can be expanded to an overnight retreat for couples.
Handouts summarizing portions of the workshop enable couples to do further reflection at home. Various segments of the workshop incorporate music, visual aids, and humor to keep the atmosphere energized and engaging.
A list of resources referred to during the workshop is made available to all participants.