The Academy for Marriage and Family was started in 2001 by committed members of the Schoenstatt Movement in the Diocese of Maguncia (Germany). It remains a commitment by married couples for married couples. Courses are currently offered in Schoenstatt (for the Diocese of Trier and neighbouring dioceses), at the Schoenstatt Centre in Rodgau-Weiskirchen (for the Diocese of Maguncia and neighbouring dioceses) and Oberkirch (especially for the dioceses of Freiburg and Rottenburg-Stuttgart).
Aims of the Academy
The Academy aims to train many couples to work responsibly in social and church institutions. As “trainers for couples and families,” the couples have the opportunity to enhance their own marriages and family lives, enabling them to accompany other couples and families.
The Academy recognizes its ability to actively promote marriage and family life and counteract social trends. It recognizes that marriage and family life – as the foundation and living cell of society and the Church and the first place in which values are transmitted – need to be given more support in the future.
The need for a study plan essentially comes from the spirituality of the Schoenstatt Family Movement. The practical experiences of decades supporting families can be seen in the courses.
How the Academy Works – Content and Formation
The Academy not only focuses on communication but also the spiritual capacity of couples. In particular it is:
• Focused on life: social scientific knowledge, as well as the real experiences and processes of marriage and family life form the foundations of the content for formation.
• Focused on a process: in addition to the content provided, attention is given to the process of learning and work. The creativity and initiative of the participants largely determines the way in which the course proceeds.
• Focused on the practical: the capacity to communicate, moderate and question is learnt.
• Organic and holistic in its focus: The course explores a wide range of human experiences. Basics such as the search for security and complementarity, sexuality, the balance between closeness and distance, the ability to engage in dialogue and resolve conflicts, education and the religious dimension of life are dealt with in a holistic way.
• Christian focused: The course is based on Christian values, Church teachings and life concepts. It operates under the auspices of the Catholic Church but is open to people of all denominations.
• Interdisciplinary: An interdisciplinary team consisting of educators, psychologists, theologians and scientists guarantee the diversity and quality of the course. The success of the formation is scientifically evaluated after the conclusion of the course.
Marriage and Family Trainers
The course for “marriage and family trainers” is a two-year course, made up of ten weekends covering study units, as well as two weeks of study. In order to graduate, students must present a written assignment, a practical examination and participate in a final debate. A ceremony marks the end of the course where the particpants are sent out by the bishop and receive a certificate from the church.
Of the almost 100 couples who have graduated from the School, many of them work in their diocesan Schoenstatt Family Movement and lead groups. Others work in communities, diaconates or at diocesan level in various pastorates and accompany couples or groups.
The bishop of the Diocese of Maguncia, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, is the patron of the Academy. The Academy is legally registered as “Academy for Marriage and Family” (registered association) in Maguncia.
Academy for Marriage and Family
Prof. Dr. Hubertus Brantzen