India: marriage preparation courses for young couples from the ethnic minorities

The diocese of Daltonganj is is still comparatively young, having been founded only 50 years ago. It is situated in the state of Jharkhand in eastern India, one of the poorest federal states in the country. The Catholic population of the diocese is just over 67,000, distributed among 23 different parishes. Thus they represent only a tiny minority of the total population of 3.2 million souls.

Some 45% of the population live below the poverty threshold and only around a quarter of them can even read and write. Most people live a frugal hand-to-mouth existence, while most of the Catholic faithful belong to the ethnic minorities and live in the villages of the dense jungle, with little or no access to any kind of modern infrastructure. The Church is the only institution that cares for them.

Each year some 750 couples take part in the marriage preparation course
Each year some 750 couples take part in the marriage preparation course

Marriage preparation course for young couples 

An important part of the Church‘s work along the faithful is her marriage preparation guidance, since a sound and healthy marriage is the foundation of solid, healthy Christian families, where there is mutual respect between the married couple and among all the family members, and where both parents are able to listen to one another, live their Catholic faith together and so enable the children to grow up in an atmosphere of loving care and support. Stable, happy families are vital for the future – for a better human future and for the future life of the Church. And at the same time they provide the best possible soil for religious vocations to grow and flourish in.

Couples can deepen their life of faith

In order to help young couples receive the best possible preparation for marriage and family life, the diocese of Daltonganj has organised a series of 10-day courses, which run three times a year. These are held in the diocesan centre, since almost all the participants live some distance away in the remote and relatively inaccessible jungle villages. Each year some 750 couples take part in these sessions, which are held separately, in the various different local languages spoken in the region. The last three days of each course are devoted to a form of spiritual retreat, so that the couples can deepen their life of faith, according to the old adage, „Couples who pray together, stay together.“ In fact strong emphasis is placed on this aspect throughout the entire course. And the young couples are also given help and guidance in regard to child rearing and the many other aspects of married and family life.

ACN’s support

ACN has committed to supporting these important courses over a period of three years, for a total sum of 45,000 Euros

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