Transformed in Love: A Few Words about a Great New Marriage Program

transformed-in-love-workbooks-featured-480x300I am so excited to see the Transformed in Love program, developed by the Archdiocese of Boston, being released and supported by Pauline Books & Media.

From the press release:

Transformed in Love is the end product of over six years of collaboration among a bishop, judicial vicar, canon lawyers, theologians, psychologists, priests, deacons, religious sisters, and married couples and three years of field-testing. The program consists of a Leader and Team Manual, complete with a DVD of presentation material, and an Engaged Couple Workbook. Its ‘teach-out-of-the-box’ nature, flexible session options, and diversified methods to engage couples make running the program easy.

Utilizing a house building metaphor that combines faith formation and human formation, Transformed in Love helps couples lay the foundations and create a blueprint for living out their marriage with faith and practicality. Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Ft. Wayne-South Bend and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth describes Transformed in Love as “a contemporary, comprehensive, and thoroughly Catholic approach to marriage preparation” and praises the program for the “way in which it considers important issues like communication, finances, and sexuality in the broader and deeper context of virtue, liturgy, and spirituality.”

Well, that’s all good and well, but I wanted to know more. (I didn’t have time to read the whole program. What I saw of it, though, looked great.) I wrote to one of the collaborators, Kari Colella, who’s the Coordinator of Marriage Ministries at the Archdiocese of Boston, and she kindly wrote back. Colella was an integral part of this program, so this is the inside scoop.

Kari, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Tell us about the Transformed in Love program and how it came to be.

Transformed in Love is a new, ready-to-use Catholic marriage preparation program designed to respond to the pastoral challenges of cultural attitudes facing marriage and family life today. Holistic, contemporary, and pastoral in approach, Transformed in Love integrates the teaching of John Paul II on human love and Catholic teaching on marriage, bringing forth a program that is designed to help couples build a loving and life-giving marriage beyond the wedding day. Further, Transformed in Love is a great tool for the New Evangelization of the next generation of marriages and families.

Transformed in Love: Building Your Catholic Marriage was created at the initiative of our Cardinal Archbishop, Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap. It is the end product of over six years of collaboration within the Archdiocese of Boston. In January 2006, Cardinal Seán established a Committee on Marriage to submit recommendations to strengthen the vocation of marriage in Boston. Then, from 2007- 2009, over 40 highly qualified individuals worked together to develop the program. Committee members and contributors to the development of the program included a bishop, judicial vicar, canon lawyers, theologians, psychologists, priests, deacons, religious sisters, and married couples.

Out of a sincere desire to share the program with other parishes and dioceses we decided to publish the program. We pray and hope it will be an instrument of God’s grace in many couples lives and that it will serve to strengthen the vocation of marriage, our Church and society.

What was the inspiration and motivation for for this program?

We wanted to prepare today’s couples well for marriage. We looked at what we were currently doing, at studies and demographics of those who attend the programs and at Church teaching to create Transformed in Love with the following four goals in mind:

  1. Faith: to offer a journey of faith and a presentation of the fundamental Christian truths to help strengthen the maturity of faith;
  2. Knowledge: to educate clearly, concisely, and accurately regarding the nature of marriage and, for Christians, its sacramental character;
  3. Skills: to provide practical skills that will help engaged couples live out their marriage vows;
  4. Witness: to provide the witness of faith-filled married couples.

In addition, Transformed in Love seeks to address the whole human person; body and soul (including intellect and will) and integrates both human and spiritual formation throughout the program. A specific topic may focus more on either human or spiritual formation; however, underpinning each topic is an integrated understanding of the whole human person.

Kari, tell us about your involvement with this program.

I have been involved through my position as Coordinator of Marriage Ministries. I was the Chair of both Committees mentioned previously. I have also overseen the piloting and revision phase of the program and worked to bring everything together for publication. And, for past couple of years, I’ve been overseeing its implementation in our diocese.

What do you hope comes from this program?

Cardinal Seán said it very well in the foreword to the Leader and Team Manual, “It is my hope that Transformed in Love will be an instrument of God’s grace in the New Evangelization and that it will serve to strengthen the vocation of marriage not only in our archdiocese but also in the wider Church.”

That is my hope too. In all sincerity, I hope it helps people. That is, I hope all those associated with it (clergy, laity, engaged, married, families, etc.) will be further “transformed in love” and that it will also help our Church, our country, our world to be more and more transformed in love.

Will this be a required program in the Archdiocese of Boston? 

We are working on creating a timetable for all marriage programs offered in our parishes to transition to Transformed in Love.

Is it open for other parishes and dioceses to purchase and use?

Yes! We created the materials as “teach out of the box” meaning anyone can purchase the Leader and Team Manual and run the program just through that resource. It includes all of the electronic presentations for the topics (if someone wants to use them though it is not necessary) and it includes step by step instructions for everything from building a team to the actual talking points for every component. Even though training is not required, we did offer a training at a national conference (and will probably do so again next year) and are discussing training options with a number of dioceses.

Anything you’d like to add, Kari?

I’d like to ask your readers to pray for this program, that it will be a grace in many people’s lives and that it will serve to strengthen the vocation of marriage in our nation. I’d also like to ask them to prayerfully consider if God is calling them to be involved with it somehow. Marriage is facing many challenges. Transformed in Love tries to address many of these challenges and I hope and pray it will, through good people helping and God’s grace!

Also, Pauline Books & Media has created a great website, Facebook page (I invite you to “like” it and invite your friends to “like” it too), Twitter account, etc. Please share these resources and program with your friends, family, parish, etc.


Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom and author whose nose is probably in a book if she’s not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Check out all of her books at http://sarahreinhard.com/writing/my-books/.

Visit Sarah’s website: http://sarahreinhard.com/


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