One of the seven sacraments celebrated as part of our Catholic faith, marriage is the foundation of the family. Therefore, strong and holy marriages are crucial to the life of the Church. This is why it is so important that the Church provides ministries and resources for our married couples.
Our Antigo Area Catholic Churches are blessed to have a Marriage Ministry that focuses on preparing young couples who are entering into the Sacrament of Marriage, as well as supporting existing marriages and helping them grow. Deacon Andy Bures and his wife have been involved in marriage preparation for 15 years. Over the years, the ministry has grown and evolved depending on involvement and specific needs. In recent years, they have been focusing on inviting couples together and presenting on various topics related to marriage.
“We ask couples to gather with us on a monthly basis, and typically we watch a video, or my wife, Stephanie, and I give a talk on various topics,” Deacon Andy says. “We then give couples time to discuss and answer questions amongst themselves. This is a deliberate way of addressing marriage on a direct basis, so it can be discussed purposefully.”
St. John parishioners James and Jessica Duncan are in their third year as participants in the Marriage Ministry. They both found their faith in college, were wed in 2021, and are now parents to a 16-month-old daughter. For James and Jessica, the Marriage Ministry has been a wonderful way to strengthen their marriage during these early years, as well as to gain perspective from some of the other couples.
“Our favorite part is sharing ideas and connecting with other couples in our community,” James says. “It is a good way to strengthen your relationship, even if you aren’t learning anything new. It is good practice for communicating about important topics in your marriage.”
Having a strong Marriage Ministry is important because it allows couples to enter more intentionally into their relationship.
“Most of us, when we get married, don’t have a clue what we are getting into,” Deacon Andy says. “Most people live their marriage but don’t deliberately grow it. For most couples, if you want more out of marriage, and you want it to be a sacramental sign to the world around us, you really need to deliberately work on growing your marriage and helping it become stronger and deeper.”
If you have questions about the Marriage Ministry, or for more information, contact Deacon Andy Bures at 715-623-2024 or email@example.com.