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Congratulations on Your Engagement!

We’re so glad that you’ve chosen to marry in the Catholic Church. We are privileged to accompany you on the Journey of Your Love, and honored that you have entrusted us with equipping you to traverse both the joys and the inevitable challenges that married life brings. Our great joy, above all, is to assist you in encountering Christ’s love and its power to nourish and transform relationships.

May the Holy Spirit guide and direct you on this journey of love for each other, for your families, and for your extended Family of Faith, the Church. May this process of marriage preparation be one of enrichment, formation, and growth in faith, hope, and love. 

- Most Reverend, Robert McElroy 

Robert McElroy Signature 

Bishop of San Diego 


Amoris Laetitia


The Marriage Preparation Process

1 (1) Meet with your Marriage Preparation Minister
As soon as your engagement is official, but before you set a date, you should call your parish and schedule your first meeting with your pastoral minister (priest, deacon or lay minister), who may also serve as the celebrant for your wedding.
1 (2)636643431854405785 Take the FOCCUS Inventory
FOCCUS (Facilitate Open Caring Communication Understanding & Study) encourages couples to discuss a broad range of topics that can help them learn communication and conflict resolution skills. 
Provided to couples at their parishes, online, or at the Diocesan Retreat Day (Celebrating Your Love).
1 (5) 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 preparation ministers can help engaged couples select a mentor couple. Parishes are encouraged to adopt Witness to Love as a way of guiding the couple-to-couple relationship.
1 (4) Faith Formation/Catechesis
1) Attend Celebrating Your Love: A Diocesan Retreat 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.
Go to for dates and registration.
2) Begin Mentoring Process (Witness to Love) -- AND / OR -- Attend an Engaged Encounter Weekend:
Engaged Encounter Weekend is a wonderful retreat experience of presentations and personal sharing related to marriage; an option for couples who, for practical or pastoral reasons, are not involved in the mentoring process.
Go to for dates and registration.

Journey of your Love


Celebrating Your Love: A Diocesan Retreat Day

Celebrating Your Love (Pre-Cana) is a Saturday retreat for engaged couples from around the Diocese to learn more about what makes Catholic marriage unique and how to renew their vows daily after the wedding ceremony.


Check-In & Refreshments
Welcome & Introductions
Created for Love: Before 'I Do'
Sacrament in Service to Communion: Saying 'I Do'
Marriage as a Process of Growth: Continuing the 'I Do'
Q & A Panel Discussion
Afternoon Workshops:
(i.e. Ecumenical/Interfaith Marriage, Military Families, Practical Marriage Skills, Multicultural Families, Raising Children of Faith)

Married life is a process of growth in which each spouse is God’s means of helping the other to mature. Change, improvement, the flowering of the good qualities present in each person—all these are possible. Each marriage is a kind of ‘salvation history,’ which from fragile beginnings—thanks to God’s gift and creative and generous response on our part—grows over time into something precious and enduring.” Pope Francis, The Joy of Love

Witness to Love

Witness to Love is a virtue- and growthbased model of marriage renewal and preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate an authentic dialogue about their relationship.



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.