If you plan a church wedding in Poland, which is what Ania and I are planning, you must first take Catholic marriage classes. Period. No way around it, a certificate of completion is one of three documents required to say our “I do’s” come this October.
And that is exactly how we spent our last weekend, along with 26 other couples. The course was led by the Capuchin Friars, which is why the weekend course is possible at all. Usually you’re required to meet a few times before the wedding date but these Friars seem to operate under a different set of rules yet still within the Catholic realm. There is one catch to taking this condensed weekend version: you must donate all the “flower money” from your wedding to the Capuchin Friars mission in Africa. This means that during our wedding we will ask our guests not to bring flowers, but instead donate the money you were going to spend on flowers into an “African Mission” box we will have at the door. Simple. The money goes towards school building and well digging in African villages, mostly in Chad, and both the Friars and people involved with the program passionately explained their mission there.
The course was fairly informative. It mostly focused on dealing with hard times during marriage. It actually talked about hard times so much that at one point someone asked “But there are good times in marriage, right?” Friar Tomasz spoke a good game keeping things on a funny note. At one point two married couples came in to talk to us about how wonderful their years together had been. In both instances the guy sort of just sat there agreeing to whatever his wife said…yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly how he felt.
There was a meeting with a “family planner”, too. We sat down to a table with a lady who lectured us on keeping a cycle calendar for Ania as to know exactly when our…love…will culminate with a kid, or not. Only problem I saw was that she was pregnant herself, and I couldn’t get the courage to ask if she had followed her own teachings or if she counted the days wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, in the higher power, but I also believe in technology and certain medical advancements in the 21st century where we don’t need to be checking Ania’s body temperature and keep a journal to find out certain facts.
The two day course was full of unnecessary breaks and both Ania and I feel it could have been jammed into one long day and not spread into a whole weekend. But there was coffee served during those breaks, coffee brewed by the Friar himself from coffee beans roasted for Friars specifically. Massaia coffee is 60% Arabica and is served by Friars during their Cappuccino for Africa events. Get it? Capuchin Friars serving Cappuccino for Africa? Capuchin…Cappuccino? Awesome. 🙂
To check out the Capuchin cause in more detail please see the links below. I highly recommend the course if you’re in a bind of a fast marriage course check-off-box bind. But otherwise I think I’d prefer to go the more traditional route. It felt just a little too loose of a get together and didn’t have the necessary amount of direction and guilt I have grown accustomed to from my Catholic Church.