Marriage Preparation Process
Marriage Preparation Process and Classes
“Marriage preparation should be a kind of ‘initiation’ to the sacrament of matrimony, providing couples with the help they need to receive the sacrament worthily and to make asolid beginning of life as a family “
These words of Pope Francis, from his encyclical The Joy of Love, reflect the concern that the Catholic Church has for marriage, especially in light of contemporary cultural influences that sometimes undermine marriage. It is for this reason that we require all engaged couples to invest time and energy in an intentional program of marriage preparation.
Marriage preparation in the Diocese of Lexington involves the following five step process, preferably in this order (for a graphic of the process, see the brochure on the left (under “Documents”) for our marriage preparation process).
1. At least six months before the desired wedding date, couples should make initial contact with the parish, and then schedule a meeting with the priest or deacon who is witnessing the marriage. The priest or deacon will direct couples toward the other phases of the process, and will likely lead them through FOCCUS, a pre-marital survey designed to help couples indicate strength and growth areas in their relationship.
2. Attend a “God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage” seminar (see brochure on left or register here) in which couples will gain a better understanding of the nature of Christian marriage.
3. Complete the Married Life component (see brochure here) by taking the self-paced Married Life course (register at this link), or by meeting with a married Sponsor Couple from the parish (contact Mike Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer this option). This will help couples better understand the daily opportunities and challenges of married life, and the virtue and skills needed for living it.
Couples may also attend a full weekend retreat, the “Christian Marriage Weekend” (see brochure on left or register here) to fulfill steps #2 and #3 above at the same time. This retreat is held two times per year at Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center near Ravenna, KY. No weekend retreats are currently scheduled because of pandemic restrictions.
4. Complete a full course in Natural Family Planning (see brochure on left) in which couples can learn more information about living married sexuality without contraceptives, in away that honors and respects the deepest meaning of marital love.
5. Schedule a follow-up meeting with the priest/deacon witnessing the marriage in order to review the experience of marriage preparation and to make final determinations regarding the wedding service and liturgy.