Witness to Love (Parishes)

The Diocese of Orange is a CMI Fund grant recipient!

We are thrilled to be approved for a grant from the Catholic Marriage Initiatives Fund in support of our implementation of key aspects of the USCCB pastoral framework on marriage and family ministry Called to the Joy of Love.

The projects proposed in our grant application primarily focus on strengthening marriage formation in our Diocese with particular attention to the guidelines delineated in Catechumenal Pathways for Married Life by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in 2022.

From 2023-2027, we will work on the following ministry areas from the USCCB pastoral framework:

  • Preparing Young Adults for Marriage: Proximate Marriage Preparation
  • Preparing Engaged Couples for Marriage: Immediate Marriage Preparation
  • Accompanying Married Couples in the First Few Years
  • Ongoing Marriage Enrichment
  • Accompanying Couples who are Separated or Divorced

Parishes interested in partnering with us to implement the catechumenate model of marriage preparation should complete and submit our online inquiry form: https://forms.office.com/r/Q6rue5bcMg

For more information, contact Linda Ji, director of the Office for Family Life, at [email protected]

Preparing Engaged Couples for Marriage: Immediate Marriage Preparation

Accompanying Engaged Couples to and through their Wedding

The Diocese of Orange highly recommends that parishes use the marriage formation program Witness to Love. Witness to Love is a virtues-based, Catechumenate model of marriage renewal and preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate an authentic dialogue about their relationship. What makes Witness to Love unique is that the engaged couple chooses their own mentor couple. This is a couple they both admire and see as a source of faith formation. This mentor couple gives them a concrete connection and integration into the parish. Through the sharing of the mentor couples’ own marriage journey, the engaged couple inherits a “lifeline” of support in their commitment to Jesus and His Church.

Join us for a live in-person training with Witness to Love founders, Mary-Rose & Ryan Verret

Saturday, August 5, 2023 – 9 am to 3 pm

St. Edward the Confessor Church – Pastoral Center
33926 Calle La Primavera, Dana Point, CA 92629


Please keep in mind that parishes do not need to send mentor couples to be trained since engaged couples are being invited to choose their own mentors.  Instead, pastors should send the people from their marriage formation teams who are going to assist the priests in implementing this program in the parish. For guidelines regarding parish team roles and marriage prep coordinators/coaches, please see the following documents: Witness to Love Parish Roles and Marriage Prep Coordinator Description.

In Witness to Love, engaged couples are encouraged to select a mentor or sponsor couple to walk with them on their preparation journey. The goal of this one-on-one contact is much like it is in RCIA: to form a parish-based friendship with the engaged couple that bears witness to the Sacrament of Matrimony in its lived reality. Through loving, encouraging and listening to the engaged couple, the sponsor couple also welcomes them anew into a living relationship with Jesus. The sponsor couple should meet with the engaged couple several times in a more relaxed and social setting, e.g., in their homes, and should also, as appropriate, follow up with them after the wedding.

Currently in the Diocese of Orange, San Antonio de Padua Church in Anaheim Hills has been fruitfully running Witness to Love since February 2018. Deacon Russ and Jody Millspaugh have been leading the effort at that parish and are excited to share our local “success story” to encourage more parishes in our diocese to adopt Witness to Love as part of their marriage formation.

Pastors and parish teams interested in learning more are invited to complete our survey of considerations in developing a marriage catechumenate formation pathway for their parish. We will be sure to follow up with you for planning and next steps.

For further questions, please contact Linda Ji, Director for Family Life at [email protected] or 714.282.4203

Marriage Formation Renewal 05-08-2021 by Linda Ji