Sponsor Couples is a major component in the preparation for marriage for couples that want to marry in the Catholic Church. The Diocese of Dallas has two forms of approved marriage preparation; 1) the Sponsor Couple Program and 2) the Engaged Encounter Weekend.
Engaged couples determine which form of marriage preparation they would like to complete. If they choose the Sponsor Couple Program a Sponsor Couple is assigned to them through Cecilia Jones in the Family Life Office, which is responsible for Marriage Preparation for the parish.
In the Sponsor Couple Program, the engaged couple will take an assessment called a FOCCUS. FOCCUS is an acronym for
Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study. This assessment is the tool we use to determine where a couple is in there relationship, identify areas of concern or topics they haven't even thought about yet. It provides individualized couple feedback on where each partner stands in regard to topic areas important to marriage.
As a Sponsor Couple you would be trained on how to read the assessment and in skills necessary to facilitate open discussion between, and with, the couple. Here at Seton we prepare approximately 70 couples for marriage each year; some marry here others are preparing for marriage in another City, State or sometimes another Country! You determine how many couples you want to work with, some Sponsor Couples are always available others will do 2 a year, or seasonally; it is up to you. When you do meet with an engaged couple it is done in your home, 4 - 5 meetings which run typically for 2-2 1/2 hours each session. Engaged Couples have homework between session that you discuss at the following visit.
Before an Engaged Couple gets to you, the Sponsor Couple, they will have met with Fr. Bradley or Cecilia Jones. If the couple is marry outside of Seton then engaged couples will meet with Cecilia only. During Cecilia's meeting with the couple she will have begun the FOCCUS review on areas that may be concerning or involved potential areas of impediments to marriage, those areas that are apparent will be discussed and cleared before the engaged couple is assigned.
The Sponsor Couple Program is a definitive way to make a difference in another couple's lives as the set out together in marriage. It reflects the values and ideals of marriage as sacred and helps the engaged couple come to that awareness by facilitating discussions between them and to be a mentor to them as they take this life step.
Sponsor Couples should be married at least 5 years, be in a valid Catholic Marriage and in a happy marriage! You do NOT both have to be Catholic, many of the couples we prepare for marriage are of mixed religion.
If you are interested in becoming a Sponsor Couple or would like more information please contact the Family Life Office.