Congratulations on your engagement! Your time of engagement is an exciting time for you with many details to consider. Of utmost importance is the opportunity to prepare yourself to receive this most beautiful sacrament in the Catholic Church.
A nice introduction to a wedding and marriage in the Catholic Church is to watch the video “Saying I Do: What Happens at a Catholic Wedding.” This 23-minute video, produced by For Your Marriage, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will give you an overall perspective in preparing for your wedding in the Catholic Church.
Listed below is information pertaining to engaged couples desiring to be married in the Catholic Church and who live within the Diocese of Santa Rosa. Included here is the section of the Marriage Preparation Policy listing the the seven components for you to review regarding to the mariage preparation process. There is also a Checklist for Engaged Couples to help you in the process.
Click here to read the pages of the Marriage Preparation Policy explaining the seven components.
Click here to review the Checklist for Engaged Couples.
►#1 Initial meeting with Priest The very first step in the Marriage Preparation Process is to contact your local parish and meet with the Pastor. He will be anxious to talk with you about the beauty of marriage in the Catholic Church and will also go over the marriage preparation components. He should be able to answer any questions you may have. To give you plenty of time to accomplish the various marriage preparation components, please begin this process at least 9-12 months in advance of your planned wedding date.
► #2 FOCCUS After meeting with the Pastor of your local parish, the next component in the Marriage Preparation Process is to complete FOCCUS, the “pre-nuptial inventory.” Your pastor may be able to administer the inventory for you or may have you contact a qualified FOCCUS facilitator. The FOCCUS inventory is done on-line and is available in English and Spanish. Normally the follow-up with a FOCCUS facilitatior is done in person, but due to the Coronavirus situation it may be possible to complete this inventory discussion using ZOOM. For details about FOCCUS, go to: www.foccusinc.com
►#3 Witness to Love After completing the FOCCUS inventory, the next component of the Marriage Preparation Process is to participate in the Witness to Love mentoring program.
What is Witness to Love? Witness to Love is a virtues-based, instructional model of marriage preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate an authentic dialogue about their relationship.
Witness to Love is unique in that the engaged couple chooses their own mentor couple to help guide them through the reality of Christian married life. In the sharing of the mentor couples’ own marriage journey, the engaged couple inherits a “lifeline” of support in their commitment to live their own marriage vows.
Your local pastor should be able to assist you in getting started in this marriage preparation component. Witness to Love is available in English or Spanish. For specific details, go to: www.witnesstolove.org
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the Coronavirus situation, it is unfortunately not possible to complete this component of the marriage preparation process. Until in-person meetings are again allowed, this component is waived for engaged couples trying to complete all of the needed components.
►#4 Marriage Formation An important component in the Marriage Preparation Process is to participate in a Marriage Formation Program. Listed below are links to two of the four options available. Click here to review the “Marriage Formation Program Options.“
- For information on the pre-cana course and to register, please go to: Register for Diocese of Santa Rosa
►#6 Natural Family Planning The Natural Family Planning (NFP) component of the Marriage Preparation Process consists of a 2-hour introductory class. NFP is the general title for the scientific, natural and moral methods of family planning that can help married couples either . Since the methods of NFP respect the(unitive) and (procreative) nature of the conjugal act, they support God’s design for married love!
Listed here are the currently scheduled 2-hr NFP introductory classes:
PLEASE NOTE: The scheduled “in-person” NFP intro classes have been CANCELLED due to Coronavirus. To inquire about other opportunities to complete this component of the Marriage Preparation Process, please contact the Marriage & Family Life Office at: [email protected]
► #7 Final Meeting with Priest
When all the components of the marriage preparation process are completed it is now time to meet again with your priest to have another conversation and to review your experience in preparing for your marriage. If all is in order, this conversation will lead to focusing on the Sacramental and Liturgical aspects of your wedding ceremony.
Click here to read the entire updated Marriage Preparation Policy.
An additional resource in Marriage Preparation:
For Your Marriage is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with resources for couples who are at all stages of relationship: dating, engaged, and married. It is designed to assist Catholic couples prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony and provide information for married couples on Catholic parenting, co-parenting, entering second marriages, and many other relational situations.