For Priests and Parishes

Resources for Priests
Resources for Parishes

Resources for Priests

Living in Love
Common Sense About Cohabitation
The Celibacy Myth

Living in Love

The Living in Love Retreat Workshop is a powerful experience for priests as well as married couples. It offers unique insight into the lived experience of Matrimony and can help priests to minister to the married more effectively through that insight. It also allows priests to reflect on their own spousal relationship with the People of God, the Church, and embrace the relationship of Christ to the Church captured in the image of Jesus as “bridegroom.” The individual reflection for priests at the end of each exercise on Living in Love are tailored to the lived experience of priesthood and provide an opportunity to affirm, reconcile, heal, and experience a renewal of priestly zeal.

Register for Living in Love

Common Sense about Cohabitation

“Common Sense About Cohabitation” is a small pamphlet designed to equip parent’s and priests with common sense language for the conversations they may have with young adults who are contemplating or have decided to move in together. If marriage is the goal, cohabitation is decidedly un-helpful; yet the conventional wisdom of the day is that it is the wise and expected thing to do. The only way to combat the prevailing social attitudes is to point out why the statistics make sense using language that makes sense. “Common Sense About Cohabitation” talks about the patterns of behavior that typically come with cohabitation that interfere with forming a healthy, respectful, other-centered relationship so necessary to marriage. Knowing what to say is key to having the all important conversation with an engaged couple, son or daughter, niece or nephew.
“Common Sense About Cohabitation” can be read online or ordered in hardcopy for personal use or to give to couples thinking about cohabitation. Order in bulk to make available in parish book racks or as a resource for high school, college or young adult ministries.

Common Sense About Cohabitation (Pdf)

Order Common Sense Pamphlets

The Celibacy Myth

Written by Fr Chuck Gallagher, S.J. and Fr Tom Vandenberg, The Celibacy Myth stands alone in it’s witness to a unique spirituality for the parish priest. This immensely positive presentaton of the charism of celibacy in, of, and for the Church focuses on the priestly way of “loving for life.” A must read for priests and laity alike, The Celibacy Myth is about all of us. Because married couples play a significant role in the understanding of celibacy, the authors explore the developing theology of sacramental marriage and the important relationship between matrimonied couples and celibate priests. Priests will welcome this affirmative book. Seminarians will benefit greatly from it’s insights, and all lay people who are concerned about the happiness and health of their priests will value its relational approach.

While no longer in print, you may read The Celibacy Myth online or download it for your private use.

The Celibacy Myth (Word Document)

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Resources for Parishes

Living in Love – Marriage Enrichment and Sacramental Empowerment
Preparing to Live in Love – Parish Based Marriage Preparation
A Love Worth Praying For – Parish and Personal Prayer for Marriage and Family

Living in Love – Marriage Enrichment and Sacramental Empowerment

Living in Love is a parish based program of marriage enrichment and sacramental empowerment. It is a day and a half modern Ignatian retreat designed to be run in parish facilities with couples sleeping at home to minimize cost. The extraordinary power of this retreat/workshop is that it gets couples back in touch with the basics of being a man and a woman in love and provides insights and practical strategies for staying in love amid the chaos of ordinary life. Decidedly “male friendly,” Living in Love provides a balanced understanding of the gifts of masculinity and femininity and how men and women fill their need for intimacy differently. The retreat offers reconciliation and healing within the couple relationship and then empowers them to live the sacramental vision of marriage held up by the Church.

Couples who experience the Living in Love retreat are invited to participate in a follow up program called Living in Love Every Day that builds on the retreat experience and teaches the practical skills needed to live out the vision of marriage presented on the retreat.

All couples who attend Living in Love are encouraged to spend their sacramental presence for the benefit of the parish community and ministries, but those who complete both the Living in Love Retreat and the Living in Love Every Day follow up skills training are particularly equipped to serve as Mentors for the engaged using Preparing to Live in Love.

Hosting Living in Love in your parish
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Preparing to Live in Love

Pastor Resources
Parish Mentor Matching Coordinator Resources
Ordering Materials
Cost and Billing


Preparing to Live in Love is intended to be a parish ministry in which the laity shares responsibility for forming couples approaching the church to receive the sacrament of marriage. Married couples who have been trained to facilitate Preparing to Live in Love are an asset to the Pastor and in no way supplant his role and responsibility to prepare couples for marriage. Together, Priests and Laity can work in a complementary fashion to provide the best possible marriage preparation for the engaged.

The training of Mentor Couples consists of the successful completion of the Living in Love retreat workshop and the 8 session followup/mentor training, Living in Love Every Day. Couples who complete this training and who are both Catholic, married in the church, and who embrace the teachings of the church meet the criteria of the PMRC to mentor. The Pastor may impose any other eligibility or selection criteria he chooses and has the final say in who mentors the engaged as a minister of sacramental preparation for the parish.

Typically, a priest will be the first person to meet with an engaged couple after they express their intent to marry. This is a magnificent opportunity to welcome and encourage them in the vocation to which they believe they are called. During that first meeting it is likely that the priest will advise the engaged couple of the options available to them for their marriage preparation. It is good that there are options, since the engaged couple will then have the opportunity to select their method of preparation and own that decision. We hope to communicate that the church is on their side, wants the best for them, and enthused about walking the journey of sacramental preparation with them.

Brochures explaining Preparing to Live in Love are available to the parish at no cost. A copy of the Brocure is avialable for your viewing in Pdf format. To order, simply click on the order button below

As soon as the priest has determined that the engaged couple is eligible to marry in the Catholic Church, he should pass the couples names of couples selecting Preparing to Live in Love to the parish Mentor Matching Coordinator so that they can be assigned to a mentor couple. Ideally, the engaged couple will begin Preparing to Live in Love at least 6 months prior to the wedding date but in unusual circumstances, a later start date can be accommodated.

Normally, the program is delivered in seven two-hour sessions with nominally one week inbetween sessions. This is ideal for content assimilation and life-skill practice. Again, in unusual circumatances, the program can be condensed and delivered in 4 three-hour sessions.

If the number of engaged couples far exceeds the capacity of available mentors, it is also possible to deliver a modified small group version of Preparing to Live in Love which will communicate the content and basic skills but cannot achieve the personal level of openness and attention available one-on-one with a personal mentor. Please contact the Home Office of the PMRC for additional information.

PLL Brochure (pdf)
Order PLL Brochures (Form)

Parish Mentor Matching Coordinator:

Each parish that offers Preparing to Live in Love to its engaged couples should identify someone on staff or preferably from among the parish mentors themselves to act as a Mentor Matching Coordinator. In the event that there are no active mentors in the parish, mentors from nearby parishes may be utilized on an as-available basis. Parishes can request support through the Diocesan Mentor Coordinator or the PMRC Home Office.

The parish Mentor Matching Couple provides an interface between the Pastor and the Mentors of the parish. Their primary role is to match engaged couples with mentor couples. This entails understanding the availability of the mentor couples and talking with the engaged couples to gather information that would be useful in determining the best available match. Considerations include age and marital history (an older or second marriage engaged couple would probably not be a good match with a young mentor), pet allegies, and timing (mismatched availability of mentors and engaged).

The parish Mentor Matching Couple will also generally keep the Pastor informed about the progress and status of engaged couples being mentored through Preparing to Live in Love. Something like the sample Pastor’s Report below could be useful.

Sample Pastor’s Report (Excel)

Ordering Materials

Mentor Couples receive all the materials that they will need to mentor as part of their mentor training; however, the engaged couples will need additional materials which must be obtained from the PMRC. Materials (Couple Packs and supplemental materials) for the engaged may be ordered in advance and prepositioned in the parish using a Parish Request for PLL Materials Form or ordered directly by the Mentor Couple each time they are assigned an engaged couple.

Parish Request for PLL Materials (Form)

Cost and Billing

Program costs and Billing arrangements are established on a parish by parish basis. A nominal fee of $125 per engaged couple covers the cost of their materials and the 7 sessions with their mentor couple. This fee may be discounted for parishes that identify Preparing to Live in Love as their preferred option for marriage preparation and/or out of consideration for local economic conditions.

The program fee may be paid directly to the PMRC by the engaged couple or aggregated and billed to the parish on an annual or semi annual basis. Some parishes roll the marriage preparation fee into a all inclusive Wedding Fee, others (tithing or stewardship parishes typically) will pay the program fee out of parish funds.

The specific parish preference should be documented and maintained on file with the PMRC.

Parish SLA (Service Level Agreement) (Form)

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A Love Worth Praying For – Prayer for Marriage and Family


One of the best ways to respond to the USCCB call to become a “Marriage Building Church” is to mobilize the Body of Christ to pray continuously, fervently, and personally for the sacraments in our midst. Everyone in the parish can do this and it will benefit the entire community. The concept is simple. We invite every catholic to dedicate one hour of prayer each month for the families of the parish and the marriages that are at their heart. No one has to go anywhere; they can pray in their home, any where and any way they want. Just call to mind the couples that you know and lift them up in prayer. It would be ideal to roster people so that they have a specific hour to pray on a specific day each month. Starting with only a few hours, the parish can grow the number of people praying until every hour of every day is covered in prayer. Widows can pray for newlyweds, children can pray for their parents, the whole parish can pray for the engaged or married couples in all circumstances of life. Through prayer, the parish can raise its collective awareness of the importance of the sacrament of matrimony to the entire community of faith and their prayer can strengthen and support the families of the parish.
Several aids are available to help a parish to implement a campaign of prayer. “The Vision and the Dream” provides a blueprint for the parish and helpful ideas about prayer and inviting people to pray. “Ask, Search, Knock” is a guide for the hour of prayer to help people call to mind couples in various situations of preparing for and living out marriage. It helps us to remember specific couples who we want to and intend to pray for but perhaps forget unless we have set aside that time for them. These resources can be read online or ordered in hardcopy for distribution or personal use.

The Vision and the Dream (Pdf)
Ask, Search, Knock (Pdf)
Prayer Brochure (Pdf)

Order Prayer Booklets or Brochures


Dedicating one hour each month to pray for your own marriage or the marriages of those closest to you is a simple way to impact in a positive way the quality of life around you. It calls to mind the importance of relationship and asks the Lord to bless those we pray for with the grace they need to live more consistently in love. It is an unselfish act of generosity that can support those who are struggling with difficult circumstances or encourage those who are doing well amid the everyday stress and pressure of modern life. Your prayer can make a difference and love is worth praying for. Simply pick the hour that will be best for you and put it on the calendar. You may wish to order a copy of “Ask, Search, Knock” which will help you to pray your hour although it is not necessary. Anyone willing to pray one hour a month can register online and receive a reminder each month prior to their day to pray.

Sign up to pray

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