- (39) The complex social reality and the changes affecting the family today require a greater effort on the part of the whole Christian community in preparing those who are about to be married. The importance of the virtues needs to be included. Among these, chastity proves invaluable in the genuine growth of love between persons. In this regard, the synod fathers jointly insisted on the need to involve the entire community more extensively by favouring the witness of families themselves and including preparation for marriage in the course of Christian Initiation as well as emphasizing the connection between marriage, Baptism and the other sacraments. Likewise, they felt that specific programmes were needed in preparing couples for marriage, programmes that create a true experience of participation in ecclesial life and thoroughly treat the various aspects of family life.
- Some hope that more topics be included in programmes of marriage preparation so they can better provide instruction for people in matters of faith and love. These programmes ought to be planned so individuals and married couples can discern their vocation. This calls for better collaboration among various pastoral initiatives — youth, family catechesis, movements and associations — so as to give more of an ecclesial sense to the formation process.
Others emphasize the need for a renewal of the pastoral care of the family in the context of a broader pastoral programme which can provide comprehensive formation at every stage in life, including the act and value of witnessing. Marriage preparation programmes might also include married couples who are in a position to give guidance to engaged couples before their wedding and in the initial years of married life, thereby giving special value to the service of married people.