• Contact your parish to set up an appointment with your pastor at least six months prior to your tentative wedding date. At this time, the initial paperwork and assessment will begin. This would be the time to discuss special circumstances with the priest, regarding pregnancy, being underage, previously married or having a different religious background from your partner.
• Each partner will take a premarital inventory administered by the priest or deacon titled Facilitating Open Couple Communication Understanding and Study (FOCCUS). It is not a pass-or-fail test but an opportunity to reflect on your answers together with the priest or deacon and how those responses will carry over into your marriage.
• Attend a marriage education program — Pre-Cana Day, Sponsor Couple or another diocesan-approved program. Pre-Cana is a daylong retreat, offered in several locations around the state, where couples spend the day with other engaged couples reflecting on their relationship and impending marriage. Topics include sacrament of marriage, communication, finances, love and sexuality and parenting. Couples must register at least one week prior to the day. Sponsor Couple covers the same topics with the engaged couple, meeting several times with the couple. Not every parish offers this program.
• Every engaged couple must take an approved natural family planning course, which will teach couples how to use various NFP methods to avoid pregnancy by abstaining during fertile times of a woman’s cycle. There are in-person and online courses that last a few weeks.
• Additional meetings with a priest or deacon will allow time to set a wedding date, do final paperwork and plan the wedding liturgy. Meet with the parish music director to go over liturgical music selections. Plan who will do the readings and will serve in the wedding party. Check with the priest or sacristan regarding decorations in the church.
• Spend time praying together as this will be enriching during the time of engagement and in marriage. If you are Catholic, going to the sacrament of reconciliation prior to your wedding day would be beneficial in preparing for the sacrament of marriage.
For more information, visit dolr.org/marriage-family-resources
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