Young adults face thoughtful questions at marriage prep retreat
By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent
Nestled into chairs formed in a small, intimate circle, young adults from around the Diocese listened as Deacon Frank Golazeski emphasized the Letters of St. Paul to the Ephesians in relation to marriage and love.
“Ephesians 5 teaches us that Jesus came to serve and not be served, and that’s how marriage should be,” he said. “Are you ready to love? Are you ready to love totally, freely, faithfully and fruitfully?”
Deacon Golazeski, who serves in Incarnation-St. James Parish, Ewing, and has contributed to the diocesan Pre-Cana Ministry, delivered a talk on the vocation of marriage to the dozen college students who gathered Oct. 9 in Emmaus House, Rider University, Lawrenceville. The Catholic Campus Ministries of Rider University and Monmouth University, West Long Branch, presented the daylong event, which was titled, “Marriage Readiness and Preparation for College Students.”
Referring to citations found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Deacon Golazeski asked the group to consider questions such as, “What is a vocation?” and “What is marriage?”
He also discussed how marriage is a “non-contractual covenant for life, gives grace and reveals Christ.”
Acknowledging that there are Scriptural references to marriage found throughout the Bible, the deacon illustrated Christ as the head of the Church who was willing to die for all as an indicator for readiness for marriage. He suggested the young people look at Christ’s love for His Church as the model of love between spouses.
“Christ loves as totally, freely, faithfully and fruitfully,” he said.
The daylong retreat, which included Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass celebrated by Father Daniel Gowen, chaplain in Rider University, also featured talks by Christina D’Averso Collins, campus minister in Rider and Monmouth universities, her husband, Brian, and Peg Hensler, associate director of the diocesan Department of Youth, Marriage and Family Life.
Katrina Arce, a senior in Rider University and parishioner at St. Joseph Parish, Trenton, said she decided to take part in the event because she was looking for answers.
“Is this current relationship meant to be, and what’s coming up next?” she said.
Blayn Parks, a senior in Central Regional High School, Bayville, said he saw the marriage readiness retreat advertised in his parish bulletin in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Whiting, and knew the discussion was one he wanted to be a part of for certain.
“I love this,” he said, pointing to the group of young adults assembled in Emmaus House. “I desire to be a good husband and want to learn about how to be a good husband.”
The desire to be a good spouse also resonated with Emile Beyer, Monmouth University Catholic Campus Ministry president and a parishioner in St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant.
“I feel like I need to start thinking about my future,” she said.
“A lot of people think marriage is a quick flip of the switch and then they are ready to become a good husband or wife. But it’s more than that,” she shared. “We need to make good choices now that will allow us to be good spouses in the future.”
The need for marriage preparation prior to Pre-Cana is an idea certainly supported by Collins, who along with her husband, studied marriage and family studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America, Washington.
“We know the need for marriage preparation needs to start early, much earlier than Pre-Cana,” Collins said.
At the conclusion of his talk, Deacon Golazeski, who will celebrate his 34th wedding anniversary in November, stressed the importance of marriage throughout salvation history.
“It is humanity’s call and our response to become a part of everlasting life with God,” he said.