MPC was started in 1983. The Spiritual Director at that time was the late Fr Edmund Dunne, C.SS.R. He was also the President of FLS Singapore. Reproduced below is his welcoming message to Presenting Couples in the first MPC Presenting Couples Manual.
Message from Rev Fr Edmund Dunne, C.SS.R
Marriage Preparation is one of the most important areas of the apostolate. It has been said that marriage is the most “unprepared for” career. All other careers, professions and vocations have periods of training and probation. Often, indeed, courtship precedes marriage, but not always, and even the most romantic and ideal courtship does not guarantee success. For marriage has to be lived, day-to-day, in intimate union and association with another person. One can never be prepared adequately for this until it actually happens. Trial marriages have been suggested, and attempted, but the fallacy is obvious. A trial marriage is no marriage at all. The all-important element of permanent commitment, the essential antidote to divorce, is missing.
Two authorities, if they can be so designated, can supply a remedy, though never an adequate one, to the unpreparedness of young people for marriage. These are parents and the Church. Too often, parents, who themselves were totally unprepared, see repeated in their children, the mistakes they themselves made. Too often parents are completely negligent, if not morally responsible for the unsuccessful and unhappy marriages made by their offspring. The gospel of Marriage Preparation needs to be preached to parents as part of their moral responsibility. Fortunately, though sadly perhaps, because of the wide spread attacks made on marriage and the Family in nearly every country of the world, the Church too, is stirring herself to reduce the natural unpreparedness of youth for marriage. The new Code of Cannon Law, reflecting Vatican II’s emphasis on the importance of marriage, devotes a chapter to marriage preparation.
In the Archdiocese of Singapore, Courses of Marriage Preparation have been conducted for over twenty years. For most of that time, they consisted of lectures given on Sunday mornings over a period of three to five weeks. They were noteworthy in that nearly all the lectures were given by married people. They presented topics ranging from Finance, Harmony, Communications, Natural Family Planning and the Sacrament of Matrimony. Medically trained people gave lectures on Physiology and Childbirth. All these are essential subjects which young people need to know and of which so many of them were surprisingly ignorant. After Marriage Encounter came to Singapore in 1979, an increasing number of Catholic couples became aware of the importance of marriage and family in the fabric of the Church and the Nation. Gradually, a great number of them found an outlet for their zeal by helping in and conducting the Choice weekend, Engaged Encounter Weekend and now since the beginning of 1983, the Marriage Preparation Course.
As a result of this newfound spirit, the Marriage Preparation Courses are now conducted four times in the year, extending over three Sundays and two weekends sessions in the homes of Leader Couples. These sessions allow the young couples to become intimately acquainted with a married couple who are convinced and committed to the Sacrament of Matrimony, who realise the value of communication in their marriage and the desire that young couples share their blessings. The courses thus become an example of the ministry of the married for those preparing for marriage, and the results are seen in an ever-widening circle of support, love and friendship.
We wish to thank and encourage all those who have been associated with the Marriage Preparation Courses, whether as background helpers and supporters or active Leader couples. The courses are now a highly organised and efficient organization, receiving the commendations of the parish clergy and the grateful recognition of the engaged couples, which incidentally, include a fair portion of Non-Catholic partners.
We recommend this new format for the Leader Couples, with the certainty that it will aid them to share with the engaged couples, the blessings intended by God for the union of Man and Woman in the Sacrament and institution of Marriage and the Family.
EDMUND DUNNE, C.SS.R (February 2, 1984)
Fr Anthony Hutjes SS.CC.
Coordinators: Gerry & Martha Ong
Vice Coordinators: John & Geraldine Hui
Treasurer: Vincent & Karen Kong
Secretary: Michael & Catherine Koh
Asst Secretary: Anselm & Karen de Souza
Weekend Couple: Bijay & Asha Joseph
Liturgy: Ernest & Evelyn Leong
Supplies: Michael & Phyllis Goh
F&B Coordinators: Steven & Louisa Ho
Publicity & PR: Peter & Rita Toh
Registration: Terence & Lynette Chua