A sharing by Dennis and Grace from the Church of St Anthony and an Invitation
When we got married 15 years ago, we were hardly prepared for what marriage had in store for us. In retrospect, our journey looked like a game of chance survival - like newly hatched turtles trying to make their way to the open seas - rich and easy pickings for many predators. We experienced the usual difficulties of new marrieds, and the arrival of our child made it even more challenging. There were certainly some difficult experiences which threatened the very survival of our marriage. Looking back, proper formation in marriage along with guidance from the lived examples of experienced couples could have spared us many of the dark threats.
We have often heard it said that the family is the building block of society. Indeed all successful cultures have recognized that the family is the most efficient channel for proliferating not only human life but also skills and moral virtues to live life fully. Nothing else comes even close, not even the formalized school system. It is so important for husbands and wives to realize that we form the twin pillars supporting the beam of the family and like sturdy pillars, we want to plant ourselves on firm bedrock of truth and virtue.
It was with this view that we decided to sign up for CEP, a sound post-wedding catechesis on marriage and family when it came round to our parish in 2011. Among others, we were introduced to the true meaning of freedom, the importance of intimacy in marriage and the reasons for the Church’s teachings on divorce, sex and Natural Family Planning. Our eyes were also opened to the grace and beauty of our covenantal marriage.
Looking back, CEP was a crucial first step in learning which subsequently empowered us to further explore the deeper beauty and joys of marriage as a couple. Through CEP, we experienced marital love as God designed it to be, free, faithful, total and fruitful, not least, in the beautiful gift of a second child in 2013.
We were more fortunate than many others to have reached thus far. Many couples today still struggle to surmount the many difficulties which assail their marriages during the fledglings years. It is a known fact that long before couples in crisis are in need of professional help, they start experiencing relationship issues and often turn to friends and family first. However, many among these confidants feel illequipped to help. As such, CEP has started an initiative to equip their core couples with skills that would enable them to listen, give guidance, instill hope and refer couples to professional help where needed at the upcoming CEP sessions. The course entitled ‘Marital First Responders’ was conducted by Fr Charles Sim, S.J., PhD and hopes to empower “first responders” to reach out to couples and help to prevent marital issues from festering.
This initiative is unique in that it trains couples to aid others within their existing social network. CEP is an Archdiocesan approved post-wedding catechesis and formation based on Catholic Church teaching that has been conducted in parishes since 2006. CEP also teaches interesting life skills and is a must for all new marrieds and helpful for married couples who desire greater unity.
CEP is a series of live presentations by Father David Garcia and a team of CEP couples led by Dr Bernard Thio and Mrs Thio Ying Ying. In 2016, CEP will go to two parishes - Church of the Holy Spirit and Church of St. Anne.