To contact our Marriage Preparation Coordinator, please message our Marriage Prep Department.
1. Meet with Your Pastor — before you set a wedding date
After you become engaged, contact your pastor to set up an initial meeting (you must be a registered, active parishioner). During this meeting, the pastor or his delegate coordinator will get to know you. He will also provide you with the information you need to complete Steps 2-6 of your marriage preparation process. Setting a schedule to complete the individual components during or shortly after this meeting will help tremendously.
2. Marriage Preparation Inventory — as soon as possible after meeting with your pastor
After the initial meeting, you will complete a marriage preparation inventory, which is a series of questions designed to help you dialogue about habits, expectations, and values. It will provide you with a personalized profile of your relationship’s strengths and areas for growth. The inventory is an important starting for couple discussion and a map of the areas that may need affirmation, attention, or problem solving.
3. Married Life Skills Training — seven to eight months before the wedding
In addition to a marriage prep inventory, you will complete an educational component designed to grow practical skills such as conflict resolution, decision-making, financial management, prayer and communication. This will build on the knowledge you gained form you marriage inventory, aided by expert presenters and other couples living marriage at different stages. There are various educational programs available in the diocese, with formats varying from a weekend retreat to multiple evening meetings. Our Marriage Prep Coordinator can help you select the program that best fits your needs.
4. God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage — four to six months before the wedding
God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage is based on St. John Paul II’s inspiring Theology of the Body, and it will show you not only what the church teaches about marriage and sexuality, but why she teaches it. God’s Plan offers a refreshing, liberating vision of marriage and sexuality – one that will show you ways to fully embrace God’s glorious plan for you as a couple.
5. Natural Family Planning Instruction — four to six months before the wedding
To ensure you have the tools to plan your family effectively and in cooperation with God’s plan for marriage, you will have the opportunity to learn about Natural Family Planning and how it benefits a couple’s relationship. One indicator of these benefits is the nearly non-existent divorce rate among NFP-practicing couples. Natural Family Planning is 100% natural and up to 99% effective. The diocese has instructors available in a variety of methods. This course is generally divided into 3 or 4 two-hour sessions over the course of three months, to allow for a practicum. Offered in many places around the diocese, as well as online.
6. Sacrament of Reconciliation — before the wedding, as necessary
The Church invites all Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually prior to their marriage through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
7. Final Meeting with Your Pastor — four to six weeks before your wedding
Those working with you in your parish will help you reflect on and prepare the liturgy of the wedding day, which will start you on the road to a lifetime of conventional marriage.
For more information on courses, times, and registration, please visit phxmarriageprep.org.
What if one of us isn’t Catholic?
Only one of you is required to be a baptized Catholic as long as you both agree to raise your children in the Catholic faith. The marriage preparation coordinator will assist you in the necessary paperwork. As part of your preparation you will be encouraged to discuss the challenges that differing faith practices and traditions can bring to your couple’s spirituality and family life.
What is one of us has been previously married?
If either of you have been previously married, whether in the Catholic Church, in a civil ceremony, or in a non-religious ceremony, and you former spouse is still living, you will need an annulment before you are free to marry in the Catholic Church – even if you are not Catholic. Please consult our Nullity Ministry page for more information on the annulment process.