Marriage Preparation Process
Congratulations on your prospective marriage!
You are engaged to be married and, desiring the blessing of God on your union, have approached the Church to witness and seal your vows to each other. The Church stands ready to assist you as you embark upon what is perhaps the most important decision and commitment of your life.
Step One: Contact the Parish
The marriage preparation process begins with your first call to the parish inquiring about being married in the Church. Call as soon as you get engaged!
A member of the parish staff will facilitate arrangements for you to meet with the pastoral minister (usually a priest or deacon of the parish) as soon as possible.
A date for your wedding may not be entered into the parish calendar until such a meeting takes place.
Step Two: Initial Meeting with Priest or Deacon
At the time of your first meeting, the pastoral minister will explain the marriage preparation process and provide information about the available marriage preparation programs you are required to attend. You have the option of selecting the program best suited to your needs.
The pastoral minister will begin to fill out the necessary canonical forms and advise you as to what Church and civil documents are needed.
Step Three: Complete a Pre-Marital Inventory
(Archdiocesan Marriage Survey or F.O.C.C.U.S.) (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study)
A premarital inventory provides a personalized profile of your relationship. The individualized couple feedback covers topic areas important to marriage: life-style expectations, friends, and interests, personality match, personal issues, problem solving, communication, dual careers, religion and values, etc.
It is advised that the inventory be taken prior to attending the marriage preparation sessions, and can be arranged through your Priest or Deacon.
Step Four: Register and Attend Pre-Marital Instruction Courses
A) Sacramental Preparation: God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage - REQUIRED
"God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage" is designed to help engaged couples understand and embrace a Catholic vision of married love. The God's Plan session provides a full catechesis of the Church's teaching, in an uplifting manner that resonates within the human heart. Based on Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body", this session is intended to enhance a key component of marriage preparation: catechesis in the theology of marriage and the gift of human sexuality.
The registration fee of $125 per couple includes book, workbooks, Continental Breakfast & Lunch. Certificate of Completion is issued.
Click here for dates and to register. Registration in advance is required.
B) Life Skills Preparation: Marriage Preparation Sessions - Pre Cana - REQUIRED
The Marriage Preparation Sessions (i.e. Pre-Cana) offer practical insights and assistance in building a successful marriage. Topics covered include: Communication, Conflict Resolution, Family of Origin, Finances and more. The registration fee is $100 per couple. Certificate of Completion is issued.
Click here for dates and to register.
C) Natural Family Planning Seminar (optional)
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for the natural, healthy, morally acceptable methods of family planning recommended by the Catholic Church to help couples space, achieve, or avoid pregnancy. These methods, also called Fertility Awareness methods, are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs of the fertile and infertile phase of a woman's menstrual cycle.
The women's body provides certain signs and symptoms which tell her when she can conceive or not conceive a child. The main signs are: changes in the cervix, cervical mucus and resting body temperature. Couples can learn to observe, record, and interpret these signs with a high degree of accuracy.
The program is presented by certified instructors. Register for a class here or call the NFP Office (973) 497-4325 (leave a message with name and phone number). Please do not attend a class without registering in advance. The fee is $150 per couple, but a $25 discount is available when combined with your God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage registration. Course fee includes all seminar books, materials, and lifetime personal consultation. Certificate of Completion is issued.
Click here for dates and to register.
You can also email Jill Cherrey at JillC@JoyFilledMarriageNJ.org for more information.
Step Five: Continue Meeting with Priest or Deacon
Continue formation meetings with Pastoral Minister to present necessary forms (Certificates of Completion, Sacramental forms, etc.), review Marriage Inventory results, and choose liturgical options.