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TAWAU – Twenty-four Indonesian couples attended a convalidation programme on 16 Sept 2016 in St Paul Balung, an outstation under the care of Holy Trinity Church here. Balung is located about 50km from the main parish center.
The programme, run by the Parish Family Life Services Committee (FLSC), is one of the several activities to assist couples who want to enter into valid Catholic marriages (convalidation ceremony in the Catholic Church), and to offer them pastoral and spiritual support.
The sessions aimed to help the participants understand the convalidation requirements. Catholics are bound to observe a certain form of marriage ritual in order that their marriage be valid, and that they enter into marriage by free mutual consent witnessed in a church by a priest or deacon and at least two other witnesses.
These couples have entered into marriage outside the Church. When they are ready and free to do so, they celebrate what is called a convalidation, from the Latin word meaning “to firm up” or “to strengthen.” This is sometimes referred to as the blessing of a marriage.
The committee, comprising of three married couples, and Spiritual Adviser Sr Liza Augustine fsic, was led by Mario Domingo.
Aside from assisting couples, FLSC also spent time with potential leaders, training them how to present topics in Sunday School classes in the outstation.
A participant expressed his gratitude and thanked the committee for their efforts because he and the others did not know the importance and need of blessing for their marriages.
In the concluding session, Julita Kantod encouraged the participants to understand and to follow the teaching and traditions of the Church, to live them out in their daily lives, especially in the area of family planning, husband-wife relationship, and parenting so that they become the first faith formators of their children in the passing on of the Catholic faith. – DOSPO/CS