Marriage in the world of the church is a sacrament for life not just a wedding. Christian Marriage is a real and effective sign of the covenant of
Christ with the Church. Marriage between baptised persons is a true Sacrament of the New Covenant. 'Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed Himself for her' " (Eph.5:25) Marriage Preparation conjures many thoughts and misconceptions common amongst them is, ‘what can a priest tell me about marriage’, ‘ we are already living together what have we got to learn’ and ‘I am getting married not joining the church and am not interested in attending prayer meetings’. None of these could be further from the truth. However we see marriage as a sacrament presided over by God and as such it warrants an appropriate degree of preparation recognising that couples need tangible help not religious theory. Marriage preparation is often led by married couples who lead the engaged couple through the program sharing their anecdotes along the way. Couples that lead these programs are not holding themselves out as paragons of virtue. Rather they go through the ups and downs of marriage the same as everyone else but have been asked by their parish priest or volunteered to help others – frequently because they have been through the program and found it helpful. In line with many other denominations the Catholic Church believes that this massive commitment and important sacrament warrants their active involvement and support during the build up and so asks all couples getting married in the Catholic Church to go through a program six months before the marriage.
The Parishes of our Deanery - the Mayfield Deanery - are small communities and do not have the resources to run preparation courses separately. Deacon Michael Thoms, attached to the Heathfield Parish (contact on 07887 506 592), and Deacon Ken Fowler, attached to the Uckfield Parish (contact on 07710 210 962), have taken on the responsibility of marriage preparation for the five Parishes of Crowborough, Uckfield with Herons Ghyll, Heathfield with Burwash, Mayfield and Wadhurst.
There is an information booklet - "A Guide for your Wedding" - available on request.