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So far philipwall has created 27 blog entries.

Teresa & Rob

We took a lot from the course and it made us really sit down and talk about some things we haven’t ever discussed, ie how we handle conflict and also the influence of our parents’ relationships on how we conduct our own.

It was particularly interesting to learn what “every day things” are important to us, ie domestic chores and sharing the workload at home.

We have learned that we need to work on our communication skills and not to push things under the carpet as they usually rear their heads at some point and in our relationship, this often results in resentment and confrontation.

We also realise that marriage will not ultimately change us, but it will be a contract between us to value each other and hopefully allow us to prioritise each other.

We are actually doing another course in Brighton in a few weeks in order to satisfy our priest’s request, so it will be interesting to see if anything different crops up!

Many thanks!
Terasa & Rob, Hampshire, UK

Krista & Joe

Well, I think Joe and I have enjoyed being engaged and the fun of planning a wedding etc. But, what we really learned through this program was being “married” is so much more then a wedding and spending your life with a person you love …. its about a life you build and choosing a partner you can go through all of lives tides with.

We learned how to discuss “life matters”. For example, no one had every asked us certain things like if a family member was ill , would you take them in? or how far is one willing to go to help the other in any sort of hardship and the values we have as a foundation, It was a good example of our commitment not only to each other, but the new families we will merge and how far we are willing to go for the one we love and also their loved ones. We talked in a serious matter about children and the things we desired for raising a family and our beliefs in doing so. This is important because we know we are on the same page long before bringing a child into the world and that eases any tensions about finding out the unknown.
It helped us with conflict – resolution and communication. Which I think will carry us through our lives and is something we will always work on, but what i loved was how some of the questions were positioned and it helped us be able to answer questions and communicate in a neutral environment, while also learning what works and what doesn’t. For example we have silly arguments over one being neat and one being messy (haha) however it can be an argument frequently and the simple question of “why do you think this is still a problem” (knowing that it can cause arguments ) was a true eye opener. If you know something bothers your partner you make compromises to make the other happy and meet in the middle. This is just a silly example but it was extremely helpful in our relationship.

We have discussed family and our values in length and I have been able to guide Joe to a closer connection with his dad which i know was always a difficult subject for him, and he in turn has helped me with my spirituality and overall outlook which i always tended to worry to have more faith in god and being positive on a daily basis. In fact Joe and I have not been frequent church goers and we have found us leaning on prayer in hard times, or stressful times leading to the wedding. We went to church when it was closed to pray. Which is something we have never done, its been very comforting

I have to be honest about why this means everything to Joe and I. I grew up in a Catholic family, Although i didn’t always go to church I prayed internally very often. Sometimes i would find myself going to church at night or when theres no gatherings because for me its when its “quite” i feel i can connect with my prayer and God (or loved ones who have passed) I know there is no “right” or “wrong” but the truth is, we got married this past June on a beautiful vineyard but not by a priest. I think about this all the time and I want to start having a family but, in my heart i don’t feel right knowing we didn’t get married in the house of god. I want so badly to be able to say our love was blessed in the house of god and protected by his love. I want to do so before we try to have children and i feel firmly i will do what it takes to be able to marry in a catholic church before we can take this step. Joe, may not have understood this in earlier years but after the course, he not only supports it. He has helped me find this course and took all the initiatives for me to make this happen. We have talked to the priest in the church that I made all my sacraments in since I am a little girl and the recommendation was to complete precana and that’s where we are now. We thank you for the program and for even asking me what I’ve learned because it helped me reflect on it once again.

Thank you

Keith Morrissey & Liz Kelly

“Having completed the Avalon programme we wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the experience.  It was very beneficial to be able to watch a DVD in our own home.  We completed the booklets before watching the DVD and the interaction with each other was very amusing and loving especially when we discussed our answers. It was nice to sit down with no distractions and we really felt a close bond with each other when the course was completed.

We would highly recommend this Avalon online marriage course and thanks for sending our certificate so promptly.”

Best Wishes

Keith Morrissey & Liz Kelly

Barbara & Robert

We were late to attend Avalon course..but David recommended to order a dvd and do it at home.we found it very helpful and funny. While doing the workbooks we learnt a lot about each other and discuss our future life together more serious than we did before.

We really enjoyed it!!! The best thing is that we could do it in our own time and didn’t have to rush 🙂
We recommend Avalon dvd course for every couple out there, especially for those who are too busy to attend the course themselves.

Thank You Avalon !!

Barbara & Robert

Our home study course has been Assessed.

Review / Analysis of Avalon Home Study Pre Marriage Course

8 September 2013
Liam Roe, M.A. S.T.B. Reg. F.T.A.I,. I.C.P. E.A.P.
Family Therapist / Psychotherapist.

This analysis / review of the Avalon Home study course is undertaken from my perspective as a Family Therapist and Adult Educator.


Marriage Blog

Marriage can be very fulfilling bit many people make the mistake of taking each other for granted. When this happens the rot of complacency sets in and it can be very difficult to fix it. Do you have any ideas as to how couples can fix it?

Vatican’s Guidelines for Marriage Preparation

This is the Catholic Church’s official Guidelines for the preparation of couples for marriage within the Church. Please read carefully to see how our course follows the nature and tone of this document in order to meet the Bishop’s Guidelines from your country.


Preparation for marriage, for married and family life, is of great importance for the good of the Church. In fact, the sacrament of Marriage has great value for the whole Christian community and, in the first place, for the spouses whose decision is such that it cannot be improvised or made hastily. In the past, this preparation could count on the support of society which recognized the values and benefits of marriage. Without any difficulties or doubts, the Church protected the sanctity of marriage with the awareness that this sacrament represented an ecclesial guarantee as the living cell of the People of God. At least in the communities that were truly evangelized, the Church’s support was solid, unitary and compact. In general, separations and marriage failures were rare, and divorce was considered a social “plague” (cf. Gaudium et Spes = GS, 47).

Today, on the contrary, in many cases, we are witnessing an accentuated deterioration of the family and a certain corrosion of the values of marriage. In many nations, especially economically developed ones, the number of marriages has decreased. Marriage is usually contracted at a later age and the number of divorces and separations is increasing, even during the first years of married life. All this inevitably leads to a pastoral concern that comes up repeatedly: Are the persons contracting marriage really prepared for it? The problem of preparation for the sacrament of Marriage and the life that follows emerges as a great pastoral need, first for the sake of the spouses, for the whole Christian community and for society. Therefore, interest in, and initiatives for providing adequate and timely answers to preparation for the sacrament of Marriage are growing everywhere.

2. Through on-going contact with the Episcopal Conferences and the Bishops in various meetings, and especially their “ad limina” visits, the Pontifical Council for the Family has carefully followed the pastoral concern regarding the preparation and celebration of the sacrament of Marriage and the life that follows. The Council has been repeatedly asked to offer an instrument for the preparation of Christian engaged persons which the present document represents. The Council has also drawn on the contributions from many Apostolic Movements, Groups and Associations working for the pastoral care of the family who have offered their support, advice and experience for the preparation of these guidelines.

Marriage preparation constitutes a providential and favourable period for those oriented toward this Christian sacrament, and a Kayrós, i.e., a period in which God calls upon the engaged and helps them discern the vocation to marriage and family life. The engagement period is set within the context of a rich evangelization process. In fact, questions that affect the family converge in the life of the engaged, the future spouses. They are therefore invited to understand the meaning of the responsible and mature love of the community of life and love which their family will be, a real domestic church which will contribute toward enriching the whole Church.


The importance of this preparation involves a process of evangelization which is both maturation and deepening in the faith. If the faith is weak or almost nonexistent (cf. Familiaris Consortio =FC 68), it must be revived. Thorough, patient instruction that arouses and nourishes the ardor of a living faith cannot be excluded. Especially where the environment has become paganized, it will be particularly advisable to offer a “journey of faith, which is similar to the catechumenate” (FC 66), and a presentation of the fundamental Christian truths that may help acquire or strengthen the maturity of the faith of the persons contracting marriage. It would be desirable if the favourable moment of marriage preparation could be transformed, as a sign of hope, into a New Evangelization for the future families.

3. This particular attention is highlighted by the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (GS52), the guidelines of the Papal Magisterium (FC 66), the ecclesial norms themselves (Codex Iuris Canonici = CIC, can. 1063; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium = CCEO, can. 783), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1632), and other documents of the Magisterium, including the Charter of the Rights of the Family. The two most recent documents of the Papal Magisterium — the Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane and the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae(= EV) — constitute a notable aid for our task.

In response to repeated requests, as we have said, the Pontifical Council for the Family beganreflection on the subject by concentrating more on “preparation courses”, in line with the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. During its preparation, the present document went through the following editorial process.

In 1991, the Council dedicated its General Assembly (September 30 October 5) to the theme of preparation for the sacrament of Marriage. The Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the married couples who are part of the Council offered ample material for a first draft. Later, from July 8-13, 1992, a working group was convened made up of pastors, consultors and experts who prepared a second draft which was sent to the Episcopal Conferences for their contributions and additional suggestions. A great number of responses with useful suggestions came in, and these were studied and included in a subsequent draft prepared by a working group in 1995. This Council now presents the guideline document which is offered as a basis for the pastoral work related to preparation for the sacrament of Marriage. It will be especially useful for the Episcopal Conferences in the preparation of their Directories, and also for a greater pastoral commitment in dioceses, parishes ?and apostolic movements (cf. FC 66).

4. The “Magna Carta” for families, the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, which has already been cited, had already pointed out that: “…the changes that have taken place within almost all modern societies demand that not only the family but also society and the Church should be involved in the effort of properly preparing young people for their future responsibilities. (…) The Church must therefore promote better and more intensive programmes of marriage preparation, in order to eliminate as far as possible the difficulties that many married couples find themselves in, and even more in order to favour positively the establishing and maturing of successful marriages” (FC 66).



The Code of Canon Law states that there should be “personal preparation for entering marriage, so that the spouses are disposed to the holiness and the obligations of their new state” (CICcan. 1063, 2, CCEO can. 783, §1). These instructions are also found in the Ordo celebrandi matrimonium 12.

In his Address to the Ninth General Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family (October 4, 1991), the Holy Father added: “The greater the difficulties caused by one’s surroundings for knowing the truth of the Christian sacrament and of the institution of marriage, all the greater must be our efforts to prepare spouses adequately for their responsibilities”. Then, with some more concrete observations regarding the courses as such, he went on to say: “You have been able to observe that, given the necessity of having such courses in parishes, in consideration of the positive results of the various methods used, it seems appropriate to start drawing up criteria to be adopted, in the form of a guide or directory, to offer the particular Churches a valuable aid”. This is all the more so because in the particular Churches, for much of  “the people of life and the people for life’, the family has a decisive responsibility. This responsibility flows from its very nature as a community of life and love, founded upon marriage, and from its mission to ‘guard, reveal and communicate love'” (EV 92 and cf. FC 17).

5. For this purpose, the Pontifical Council for the Family offers this document which has as its object the preparation for the sacrament of Marriage and its celebration.

The guidelines that emerge constitute an itinerary for the remote, proximate and immediate preparation for the sacrament of Marriage (cf. FC 66). The material provided herein is addressed first of all to the Episcopal Conferences, the individual Bishops and their co-workers in the pastoral care of marriage preparation, and it is also addressed to the engaged themselves who are the object of the Church’s pastoral concern.

6. Particular pastoral attention will be given to the engaged in special situations foreseen by theCIC can. 1071, 1072 and 1125, and by the CCEO can. 789 and 814. When the guidelines presented in the document cannot be applied completely in their regard, they can still be useful in guiding and accompanying them in a fitting way.

Faithful to the will and teaching of Christ, through her own legislation the Church expresses her pastoral charity in her care for all the situations of the faithful. The criteria offered are means for providing help in a positive way and should not be understood as further, constrictive requirements.

7. The underlying doctrinal motivation that inspires this document comes from the conviction that marriage is a value that takes its origin from the Creation and that it is rooted in human nature. “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ?For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one?'” (Matthew 19: 4-5). Therefore, what the Church does for the family and marriage certainly contributes to the good of society as such and to the good of all. Furthermore, as an expression of the new life made possible by the Risen Christ, Christian marriage always expresses the truth about married love and is like a prophecy that clearly proclaims a human being’s real needs: that man and woman are called upon from the beginning to live in a communion of life and love and that this complementarity will lead to strengthening the human dignity of the spouses, the good of the children and of society itself, through “…the defence and promotion of life…everyone’s task and responsibility” (EV 91).

8. Therefore, the present document takes into consideration both the natural human realities proper to this divine institution, and the specific ones of the sacrament instituted by Christ. It isdivided into three parts:

1) The Importance of Preparation for Christian Marriage;

2) The Stages or Periods of Preparation;

3) The Celebration of Marriage.


9. The starting point for an itinerary of marriage preparation is the awareness that the marriage covenant was taken up and raised to a sacrament of the New Covenant by the Lord Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The sacrament joins the spouses to the self-giving love of Christ the Bridegroom for the Church, his Bride (cf. Ephesians 5: 25-32) by making them the image of, and sharers in this love. It makes them give praise to the Lord, it sanctifies the conjugal union and the life of the Christian faithful who celebrate it, and gives rise to the Christian family, the domestic church, the “first and living cell of society” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 11), and the “sanctuary of life” (EV 92 and also 6, 88, 94). Therefore, the sacrament is celebrated and lived in the heart of the New Covenant, i.e. the paschal mystery. It is Christ, the Bridegroom in our midst (cf. Gratissimam Sane, 18; Matthew 9: 15), who is the source of its energies. Therefore, Christian couples and families are neither isolated nor alone.

For Christians, marriage, which has its origin in God the Creator, also implies a real vocation to a particular state and a life of grace. In order to be brought to its maturation, this vocation requires adequate, particular preparation and a specific path of faith and love, all the more so because this vocation is given to a couple for the good of the Church and society. This has all the meaning and strength of a public commitment made before God and society that goes beyond individual limits.

10. As a community of life and love, both as a natural divine institution and a sacrament, marriage always possesses a source of formidable energies (cf. FC 43), no matter what difficulties there may be. Through the witness of the spouses, marriage can become Good News, contributing greatly to the new evangelization, and ensuring the future of society. However, these energies must be discovered, appreciated and enhanced by the spouses themselves and by the ecclesial community in the period preceding the celebration of marriage that constitutes its preparation.

Many dioceses around the world are making efforts to find forms for an increasingly effective marriage preparation. Many positive experiences have been passed on to the Pontifical Council for the Family. No doubt these experiences will be consolidated more and more and provide valid assistance if they are