Our Lady Star of the Sea

Brentwood Diocese News



Diocesan Prayer

Almighty and merciful Father,

bestow your grace upon the Diocese of Brentwood.

We give thanks for the witness of past generations and pray for

a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we may be ever more

faithful to proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

Bless our Bishop, the Clergy, Religious and Faithful of our Diocese

as we work together to evangelise our Diocese

and fulfil our Vision, and graciously grant plentiful vocations

to the Priesthood, the Consecrated Life, Single Life and the

Sacrament of Marriage.

Strengthen us in the communion of faith, hope and charity,

united in prayer with our Holy Father the Pope and the Universal Church.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saints Erconwald, Cedd and Edmund of Canterbury, pray for us.


Supporting Engaged and Married Couples During COVID-19

Engaged Couples 

At the moment couples preparing for marriage later this year or even early next year face a great deal of uncertainty and the prospect of difficult choices which might even be a test of their relationship. It is important that we maintain contact with couples whom we are preparing for marriage and accompany them as best we can at this time. Even if it seems as though a wedding will have to be postponed, the time ahead can fruitfully be used by a couple to deepen their understanding of the vocation to marriage, thus it would be beneficial to pursue some form of marriage preparation with them.

If you follow a formal programme of marriage preparation in your parish, it may be possible to hold sessions remotely using a videoconferencing service such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Alternatively, and this might be especially helpful for couples looking at a longer engagement, couples could work through the Smart Loving Engaged programme at their own pace. This can be done purely online or with the support of a sponsor couple. Using the online version does not preclude individual sessions with the priest or deacon who is overseeing their preparation or indeed with another couple, whether remotely or face-to-face once restrictions are lifted. Even if there is a short window between the lifting of restrictions and the wedding it should be possible to arrange a couple of face-to-face meetings, but by following an online course in the meantime most of the necessary ground will have been covered. There is a cost but it should not be prohibitive (the online only option is significantly less than the other options). Couples can register for Smart Loving Engaged at https://smartloving.org/engaged/ (NB: this is an Australian site, so billing is in Australian Dollars!)

Needless to say, it will still be necessary to satisfy the canonical and civil requirements, including the requirement to give notice to the local registrar. At the time of writing it is not possible to give notice but if a couple is hoping to go ahead with a summer wedding they will need to contact the registry office at the earliest opportunity if they haven’t done so yet and the urgency of this may need to be impressed upon them.

Married Couples

Undoubtedly, whilst some couples may relish the extra time together afforded by the present lockdown restrictions, for some couples financial and other worries combined with being stuck indoors may not be conducive to good marital relations. Indeed this time may bring underlying tensions to the surface – which if handled in the right way could even be beneficial in the long term. Whilst the media glibly suggests the coronavirus may lead to either a baby boom or extra business for divorce lawyers, we should be alert to the need for support so at least the latter can be avoided.

You might therefore like to publicise, or at least bear in mind for anyone who contacts you looking for guidance, that Marriage Care are offering counselling via video conferencing during the lockdown, and Relate also offer this service.

Couples experiencing stress in their marriage might also benefit from working through the online Smart Loving Breakthrough course at https://smartloving.org/breakthrough/ (this is currently offered at a 50% discount).

The particular emotional and mental health needs of children should not be overlooked, and Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society continues to provide vital support in these areas. Information on the current arrangements can be found at https://www.bccs.org.uk/who-we-are/coronavirus-update

Those parishes which are continuing to circulate a weekly newsletter in some form could include a regular notice pointing to some of these services. Here is a suggested wording: 

SUPPORTING MARRIED COUPLES: If you are experiencing difficulties in your marriage, whether due to the additional stresses cause by the coronavirus crisis or other reasons, help is available. Marriage Care is currently offering remote counselling, or you might find the Smart LovingBreakthrough course helpful. Visit marriagecare.org.uk or smartloving.org/breakthrough. Please don’t leave it too late to get help

You might also consider making use of the weekly Marriage Matters scripture reflections produced by www.twoinoneflesh.org.uk

Links to.......

News from our Steward of the Gospel,Michael Akinyemi

Brentwood Cathedral Website

Brentwood Catholic Children's Society

  • 96 Dock Rd
  • Tilbury
  • Essex
  • RM18 7BT

01375 842309
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