With the family in the spotlight ahead of the Church’s upcoming Synod in October, one video initiative is confronting today's marriage crisis head-on by teaching couples to discover its beauty. “We wanted to develop a program that is going to meet (couples) where they are at, inspire them to God’s beautiful plan for love, for marriage, where we are called to find our happiness,” said Dr. Edward Sri, theology professor at the Augustine Institute, and the content director for “Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage.” Released on Feb. 12, the 12-part video series produced by the Denver-based Augustine Institute is designed to aid in marriage preparation for engaged couples, as well as offer marriage enrichment for those already living out the sacrament. One of the goals of “Beloved” is to show that the Church's teaching on marriage is “not just some imposition from the Vatican,” but “the road map to happiness,” which “corresponds to the heart`s deepest desires,” Sri told CNA Feb. 12 in Rome, where the initiative was being presented. The “Beloved” series — launched between the two Vatican Synods on the Family and just months ahead of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia — comes at a time of “great crisis of marriage and family life,” Sri said. There are “many people that are in marriages and wanting to find happiness in this wonderful vocation, but not quite sure how to live it out,” he explained. The pastoral care of married couples is among the many topics to be explored during the upcoming World Meeting of Families in September, as well as the Synod on the Family in October, which will have as its theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.” The “Beloved” series is divided into two main parts consisting of six episodes each: “The Mystery and Meaning of Marriage,” designed for engage couples, and “Living Marriage” for those already married. By exploring Scripture, tradition and Church teaching, the various episodes touch on themes such as “Does marriage matter?”, “Real challenges, real love,” and “Building a thriving marriage.” The series is the latest installment of the Augustine Institute’s faith formation program, “Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained.” Dr. Pia de Solenni, associate dean for the Augustine Institute’s Orange County campus and one of the experts involved in the series' production, likened the importance of providing marriage programs for engaged and married couples to running a marathon. “When you set out to run a marathon, you don't just run a marathon. You train for it,” she told EWTN News Nightly. “We want to offer people the training, or — in a healthcare context — preventative care. Wellness care, so that they can begin to enter into good marriages, develop good marriages, instead of reaching a crisis point.” One of the crises facing marriage today is its loss of value in the eyes of young people, said Augustine Institute president Dr. Tim Grey. With statistics showing a 60 percent in the number of marriages taking place since 1970, he explained, many young couples after the sexual revolution have come to see marriage as “burdensome,” and are unable to recognize its value and meaning. “This is the task of the new evangelization,” Grey said. “One of the foremost tasks we as Catholics face is showing people the dignity and meaning and importance of marriage for finding happiness and human love.” Citing the words of Pope Francis, he said that “the world needs a witness of joy and love,” adding that “marriage is the heart of that.” “If marriage is not healthy, then Christians are not going to be able to give a witness of joy and love to the world. But, if marriage is lived as God designs it, as God planned for it, we will be witnesses of joy and love to the world, and there's nothing the world needs more.”
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