The Marriage Preparation Process
Meet with your Marriage Formation Minister
As soon as you are ready to begin preparing for the sacrament of marriage, and before setting a date, call your parish to schedule a meeting with your marriage formation minister (priest, deacon or lay minister), who may also serve as the celebrant for your wedding.
Take the FOCCUS Inventory
FOCCUS (Facilitate Open Caring Communication Understanding & Study) is meant to facilitate communication and conflict resolution skills before marriage. A REFOCCUS inventory is available to couples who have been civilly married for at least a few years. Your parish/formation minister will provide directions for completing the questionnaire.
Choose a Mentor Couple
Couples will choose a mentor couple who can support, encourage, and pray for them throughout—and beyond— the marriage preparation process. Marriage formation ministers can help engaged couples select a mentor couple. Witness to Love is the recommended diocesan process for guiding the couple-to-couple encounter.
WITNESS TO LOVE IS A VIRTUE- AND GROWTH BASED MODEL OF MARRIAGE RENEWAL AND PREPARATION
INTEGRATING MODERN PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY AND THE VIRTUES
HELPING COUPLES FACILITATE AN AUTHENTIC DIALOGUE ABOUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP.
WHAT MAKES WITNESS TO LOVE DIFFERENT?
WHAT MAKES WITNESS TO LOVE UNIQUE IS THAT THE ENGAGED COUPLES CHOOSE 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 JOURNEY OF LOVE, THE ENGAGED COUPLE INHERITS A “LIFELINE“ OF SUPPORT IN THEIR COMMITMENT TO JESUS AND HIS CHURCH.
Participate in one or more of the following marriage formation programs/retreats:
1) Celebrating Your Love (CYL) Diocesan Day
A one-day retreat held on Saturdays at locations throughout the Diocese. The program presents a summary of Catholic teaching on marriage and an overview of life skills essential for marriage.
2) Engaged Encounter Weekend
A weekend experience starting on Friday evening and concluding late Sunday afternoon with the celebration of Mass. A priest and two trained team couples will present a selected number of presentations and personal sharing related to their vocation and experiences. Civilly married couples married less than two years are welcome. Provides time for couples to engage honestly and intensively about their future lives together.
3) A New Beginning
For couples entering a second marriage after the divorce or death of a former spouse (only one party needs to have been previously married). Topics of discussion are geared towards blended families, children of a previous marriage and grieving loss.
For retreat dates and locations, visit: sdcatholic.org/joyl.
4) Marriage Encounter Weekend
Similar to Engaged Encounter, but for couples who have already been civilly married for at least a few years
5) Online "Pre-Cana" Program
Intended for couples for whom it is impossible to attend a marriage preparation program in person (ie. living in different states or countries).
6) Parish-Based Program
Parishes may offer local and applicable parish-based formation programming for couples. Check with your marriage formation minister.