by PETER GRACE
CHRISTCHURCH — After nearly two years of use in one diocese, a New Zealand-made pre-marriage programme is expanding its reach.
Commit was developed and introduced in Auckland diocese in 2010, replacing the United States programme Foccus (Facilitating Open Couple Communication and Understanding).

From left: Sandra Armstrong and Elizabeth Walsh present a Commit manual to Christchurch coordinators Therese and Simon Roughan.

On June 23, Auckland pre-marriage coordinators Sandra Armstrong and Elizabeth Walsh flew to Christchurch to introduce Commit to pre-marriage coordinators and facilitators there.
Mrs Armstrong told NZ Catholic that all but one of the Christchurch diocese facilitator couples were there, with coordinators Simon and Therese Roughan, and supported by Frs Simon Eccleton and Denis Nolan — “14 married couples in total”.
One of those couples is Gerard Duignan and his wife Julia Havell.
Mr Duignan said the afternoon provided valuable insights into the extensive design of the Commit programme and the care with which it has been developed.
“We are impressed by the quality and practicality of the resources. Commit will be a very useful aid for educators preparing couples for marriage,” he said.
Mrs Armstrong said she and Mrs Walsh started by getting members of the group to talk about their involvement with marriage enrichment. This is useful because some couples are involved at Step Two of a programme and others at Step Three.
Then Mrs Armstrong and Mrs Walsh gave an overview of Commit, how it has come about, and how to use the manual and the workbooks.
The group also considered security, especially because the programme is online and online security is a new consideration. And The Code of Ethics generated a lot of interest.
Commit was received well “and they were very keen to begin this New Zealand-based programme”, Mrs Armstrong said.
A 170-word description of Commit is now on the Christchurch diocese website, including who to contact for more information.

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