A Catechesis on Marriage & Family

'Come & learn about the ‘inexhaustible mystery of marriage & the family.‘ (Pope Francis)

A Catechesis on Marriage & Family

CCMF Flyer

This course is for anyone who wishes to understand the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and family. The fundamental question is what is God’s plan for human love which is lived in a unique way in the vocation to marriage and the family? The study of marriage and family brings together the reality of who we are, the richness of life’s experience and our Catholic Faith. In the light of Faith, we can truly know who we are, the meaning of our lives and the full truth about the meaning of marriage and the family.

In light of this, the Course offers a wonderful opportunity for a renewed personal encounter with the Faith and is particularly helpful for those involved in youth and marriage and family ministry. It prepares each of us to participate more fruitfully in the ‘New Evangelization’, at the heart of which lies the renewal of marriage and family life.

Listen to Programme Director, Mary Killeen, STB, STL, discuss the Catechesis on Marriage and Family course and Maryvale during a recent interview with Radio Maria Ireland:

What are the entry requirements?

Completion of the Application Form and acceptance by the Institute.

How long is the programme?

This is a 6-month distance-learning course. There are two modules and two study days; one study day for the introduction of each module.

Non-UK students (excluding Singapore) are invited to join the course at Maryvale Institute. Participation in the study days will be arranged through webinar and study materials will be sent directly to students before each study day.

**In response to restrictions imposed and uncertainties raised by Covid-19, Maryvale Institute will conduct all study days online until 31 July 2021 in the first instance. The situation will be monitored and reviewed regularly for course delivery after this time.**

When is the next enrolment?

Enrolment is open now for courses beginning:

  • Maryvale Institute: January 2021
  • St Andrews & Edinburgh: 2021 (to be confirmed)

Programme information

There are two modules for this six-month course: Module 1 on Marriage and Module 2 on Family. Each module involves 10 weeks of study with a further 2 weeks to complete an assignment. Upon completion, students will be awarded a Maryvale Certificate (A Catechesis on Marriage and Family).


A written assignment is submitted at the end of each module, which will allow you to demonstrate the fruits of your study and your personal reflection.

Resources needed

  • A Bible
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Access to the Documents of the Church's Magisterium

Course Fees

The level of course fees payable depends on whether you are a UK/EU or a non-EU student. Please ensure that you refer to the appropriate section on the course fees page.

How do I apply?


If you have a disability or any long-term condition that impacts on your day-to-day life, please download the Accessibility Form, open and edit it in Acrobat Reader, and email or post the completed document to the Accessibility Coordinator (address included on the form), to ensure we can give you the best possible support during your course of study. Disclosing a disability will not be a factor in Institute’s decision as to whether or not to offer you a place on the course. However, it is important that the Institute knows if you have any specialist needs in order to provide you with appropriate support and facilities. This information will remain strictly confidential. For further information, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator by using the contact button below:

For further information

If you have any questions, please contact the Course Administrator, Linda Beirne, by using the enquiry button below and/or by telephoning Maryvale Institute directly, [0044] (0)121 3608118.

Student Feedback

"Excellent course and I would recommend it to others."

FE Student - 2019 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"This is a very good course indeed and really opened up my mind. I am astonished and amazed by the amount of wisdom and enlightenment that the popes have given us throughout and am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to learn so much more about God’s plan for us all. I know I will keep going back to the materials to revisit and reflect what I have learnt."

FE Student - 2019 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I found the Marriage and Family course beneficial in teaching the beauty of God’s plan of love in a world that is often very confused. Biblically based, it draws on the truth from the Good News of the Gospel. It helps to illustrate the communion and unity that is attainable for each marriage and family.

The rich and beautiful writings of popes past and present further demonstrate what the Catholic Church wants for each marriage and family. Drawing from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it gives and firm, pastoral foundation to learn from. The teachers, tutors and staff were extremely helpful and, as a student, I could see the passion and love they have for spreading the joy of marriage and family. I cannot recommend this course enough, whether you are considering it for personal or pastoral reasons, it is one that will give you a true understanding of God’s plan of love!."

FE Student - 2019 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"In marriage and family life we can often find that we are too busy coping with the challenges and distractions of daily living, whilst losing sight of the wonderful gifts both are. The MFC course has opened up for me the rich seams of Scripture, Church Teaching and other pastoral insights on the practicalities of marriage and family. It has provided me with a framework with which to assess the nature and onward journey of my own life/marriage/family as well as new insights in the delivery of the marriage and family life ministry.

In particular, the ease and simplicity of presentation of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is a great benefit. The course book made this complex area of teaching both accessible and actionable. In addition, the clarity of presentation on the role of society within the life of the Church and wider society was splendid. I feel better equipped to respond with a positive narrative to many of the discordant attitudes and ideas in the public sphere."

FE Student - 2019 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"The decision to do the [Catechesis on Marriage and Family] course with Maryvale has been the best decision both my husband and I have made in the last 20 years of our marriage! Truly, the best decision we ever made in our lives was to take that step to marry each other :)… So, thank you so very much for the beautiful work that you and your team do with families and couples all over."

FE Student - 2019 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"A fantastic and well worthwhile course!
If you are considering undertaking pastoral work in your parish in any area of Family Ministry this course is ideal by way of an introduction to Marriage and Family Life. The course provides a concrete foundation for you to work from and allows you to delve deeper into the Church’s teachings and provides opportunities to explore further in your own time.
For those already involved in parish ministry, this course, I feel, is vital. It is a great way to revisit the Church’s documents and teachings and should be part of an ongoing formation, most especially if you are involved with marriage preparation, marriage support and natural family planning. The course modules are set out in a way that allows you to pinpoint areas of interest easily and is a good reference tool for the parish ministry you may be involved with."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I thoroughly enjoyed the course which gifted me with a much deeper understanding of the Church’s wonderful teaching on marriage and the family. Through the completion of the assignments, I was exposed to the breadth and depth of the riches to be discovered through reading the course materials and extra reading and the research that continually beckoned … and I get the distinct impression that I have only ‘dipped my toes in the water’! All this was unlocked by the very encouraging, enthusiastic and committed presenters of the two modules and the online assistance, whenever needed. It was truly a great joy and privilege to have done the course."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I found the course very useful in helping me to learn about the Church’s documents that support my own beliefs and understanding of what the Church actually teaches about Marriage and Family. This was beneficial in helping me substantiate my sharing by giving people the teaching of the Church so that more people will understand the reasons for the Church’s stand on certain issues. Besides that, it has helped me to better appreciate my spouse and our children and made me more committed to spending more time with them. I am also more committed to transmitting this faith to my children because I realised that it was my parents who transmitted it to me."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"The course was insightful and helped us understand how the Church sees the role of the family from the beginning of the Bible to the end (wedding feast of the Lamb). Understanding how our families are the domestic Church, we have tried to see how it applies to our lives. In our Church, we started a group of Catholic Watchmen and we are now going to spend time understanding further our role in the family by incorporating women in the Joseph Atkinson series on ‘building the family’."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"[I am] grateful for all the support and the materials provided. It was a lovely journey for me (and my spouse). The course materials provided a deeper understanding of the faith I personally stand for. Holistically, it helped me to put together the simple yet ultimate truth along with my own personal life experiences and spiritual encounters. When one is connected with the Almighty and feel His guiding hand even in day-to-day mundane grinds, [I] remember to rejoice and be glad!."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"Before, I thought of marriage – even at my age – as a case of a man and woman coming together to form a union and presenting themselves before God to bless and support them. But this course has made me understand that marriage is not all about the two people – man and woman – but [also about] the third person involved, God Himself as head of the union. This course should be a basic course for couples planning to get married so that they can understand what it is all about. It should also be taught on a regular basis to married couples."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I learned about the course at a time when I needed to understand the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life more. The course helped me to reach a deeper understanding of the biblical concepts and teaching in papal encyclicals. I really appreciate the insights the course has given me and feel it has helped me to develop as a mother, grandmother and catechist. Thank you!"

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I wish I knew 20 years ago half of what I now know from the Catechesis on Marriage and Family … I would have been a different husband and father and I would have brought up my children differently..."

FE Student - 2018 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"The course led me to a more organic understanding of the theological and biblical concepts underpinning Catholic moral teaching on marriage and family life. Certainly, the Mystery of the Trinity is not quite such a mystery anymore! A bonus is that the tutors are attentive and helpful."

FE Student - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I entered the course as an academic exercise, with an objective to learn about the church’s teaching on Marriage and Family. What I left with was much, much more! The teaching given in the course opened my eyes and soul to truths that I had not previously understood; truths about my faith, my identity, my role as Husband and Father that has given me such encouragement and (thank God!) a new direction in my life with the Lord. This indeed has been an unexpected, powerful and revelational journey. Thank you Maryvale!"

FE Student - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I loved this course and would strongly recommend it to anyone involved in catechesis, education, and marriage preparation - or simply attempting to bring up children in our secular society! The tutors' encouragement and support is outstanding, and the format of both course and assessment is very flexible and adaptable to different needs and abilities. The short length and correspondence format made it doable even with a busy lifestyle."

FE Student - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"For years, I felt that I ought to read up on these important moral topics, but somehow I never had the confidence or perseverance to tackle scripture, catechism and church documents. The coursebook offers context and gives guidance on which parts are most relevant, therefore making it a very achievable and satisfying task. Once you have been shown a way into these texts, it is much easier to continue reading and learning. The days at Maryvale were interesting and inspiring - not least on account of the people I met!"

FE Student - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"We loved doing the course and got an awful lot out of it. It has given us so much confidence in responding to questions about the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. Overall, a most inspiring course and we loved doing it especially all the reading and thinking! "

FE Students - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"The modules were exceptionally well written, clear and brilliantly edited: a model of what a course book should be."

FE Student - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)

"I very much enjoyed the Course. It is so relevant to the issues I am dealing with as a Deacon in terms of Marriage and Family Life. I found it particularly helpful in the Marriage Preparation work I have been involved in within my Parish and Diocese.

The Course was well structured. I particularly liked the Module Books which were well set out, logical in their approach, and well-planned for guiding the student through the Module. A wide range of relevant and up to date sources and text sources was offered, with just the right blend to encourage one to think and read more. I felt that the Module books led the student towards the essays set, giving one confidence to meet the challenge of essay writing. The essays themselves were practical and could form the basis for Formation within the parish; in other words they had extended value, rather than being an end in themselves.

The Tutors were excellent. I felt inspired by their enthusiasm, confident in their learning and what they shared with students, and the way their own tutorial style matched the strengths of the Module guides. They used a variety of Teaching styles which maintained student focus, and were able to engage the students actively in the process.

The two days of study were well organised in such a way that a great deal was achieved in a very short time, without ever making it feel pressurised. There was a lovely atmosphere in which students enjoyed being challenged rather than being overcome by the depth of the topics. It gave us more confidence in understanding the key Gifts of, as well as the issues facing, Marriage and Family Life.
The Course was ambitious and challenged students to reflect and develop their thinking. It made the hard work feel very worthwhile. The marking and feedback were very helpful, all very professional, all very valuable. Overall comment: excellent in every respect. What's the next Course?"

FE Student - November 2017 (A Catechesis on Marriage & Family)
© Maryvale Institute 2018 - Maryvale Institute is part of the Birmingham Diocesan Trust, Reg'd Charity No. 234216