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placeholder February 23, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Weddings & Anniversaries
Julie and Scott Genung have been preparing couples for marriage for six years.
Courtesy photo

Marriage prep way of life for this Livermore pair

When Scott and Julie Genung began offering marriage preparation for couples planning to wed at their parish, St. Michael in Livermore, they used to invite the soon-to-be-married couples to their home.

But the home-based ministry — which works when there are just a few couples — outgrew their home. Today, in their sixth year of marriage preparation, the Genungs offer their class at the convent of St. Michael Parish.

"We do the entire weekend ourselves," said Julie Genung.

They work with couples from not only their parish or a neighboring parish, but those who are planning military weddings or weddings abroad. Their largest group has been 16.

Some years, the Genungs prepare up to 50 couples for marriage.

"One year we went to 12 weddings," Julie Genung said.

The Genungs are among five couples in the parish who offer marriage preparation. Theirs is the only weekend version; other sessions are offered as a series of weeknights.

When couples come to marriage preparation, Julie Genung said, "the girls are very excited. It's an exciting time."

The men might be described as a tad more reticent, "not quite sure what the program is all about."

The best advice they can give a couple getting ready to attend marriage preparation, Julie Genung said, is: "Come with an open heart and be receptive."

Marriage, after all, is a calling. "You are taking on a vocation," she said. "Your heart is being called to this."

How has preparing couples for marriage informed their own marriage?

As they cover the course material, there might be "a reminder" here and there. When they talk about forgiveness, for example, they might recall a time when, perhaps, they were as kind to one other as they could have been. They share those moments with the couples.

"It helps them to see were human," she said. "And we fall but we were able to get up."

The couples are likely to have many moments like that in their married life.

"We have to live our faith," Julie said. "Be the sacrament."

Scott, who refers to a married couple being a "living example of the sacrament to the community," said they were married 15 years secularly before he became a Catholic. Their marriage was convalidated in the church, a moment they describe as "transformative" for their marriage.

 
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