Friday, March 13, 2015

Mentoring the Young Engaged and Married Couples

Catholicism considers the family the basic unit of society, and society will only be as healthy as the families. We hear this often in our teaching on the family. When family life is strong a society can overcome all kinds of difficulties. However, divorces continue to increase, and presently Korea has one of  highest rates among the developed countries of the world.
The reasons for divorce are many: difference in personality, financial problems, infidelity, domestic problems.... There is also an increase of those who divorce even in old age. A fact that we tend to forget is that the more children in a family the less likely,  divorce.

We have many problems with marriage, and many in our society have no idea what Catholicism teaches about marriage and family life. The Synod on the Family which began with the Extraordinary Synod in Oct. 2014, will continue with the General Synod of 2015. The desire is to  help families live their Christian family life in our present world reality. 

In the Peace Weekly is  an article on the  mentoring  program for those that will be marrying and for our young people. The Diocese of Jejudo is the first to begin such a program and have recruited 85 couples that have been recommended by the parishes. The program will last for 9 months with a meeting once a month. The participants have completed a course in Catholic teaching,  completed a course for parents,  and have been volunteers in the Marriage Encounter Movement. 

Topics discussed and talks given will include: when the wife speaks I will open my ears; family finances, and labor; children's education; wisdom in family squabbles; independence from the family members of the husband and wife; and the common goals of  husband and wife in their preparation for old age.
The bishop in the inaugural talk to the group mentioned that when all is well in the family, society and the church will be healthy. He hopes they will be a  help in helping the newly married and young  people in the diocese  to have a new appreciation of  married life. 
We do have programs for the young and engaged but this program will be mentoring the young and those who will be preparing for marriage. The problems that the young have to face in our society makes living the married life difficult. Many of the young do not see marriage as a good and delay it, and many of the women seem to be  more interested in their development which militates against marriage.
Koreans because of their  Confucian values, and manners in  society have a respect for their traditions and would not be as quick to jettison what they understand married life to be, like areas of the West. However, the late marriages are one of the reasons for the  low birth rate and we have more opting to     stay single which is a big change from the past.