“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 a solid beginning of life as a family.”
Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, 207
Congratulations on your engagement! The process of preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony within the Church takes at least six months so we encourage you to begin the following steps as soon as you become engaged. We look forward to accompanying you on this joyful journey!
Are you getting remarried? Click here for helpful information. Are you remarrying with children? Click here for helpful information.
Overview of Process
Step 1. As soon as you’re engaged call the parish to begin the preparation process.
You will arrange a time to meet with the pastor, assistant pastor or a deacon of the parish. You will not be able to establish a wedding date on the parish calendar until this initial meeting takes place.
Step 2. The priest or deacon whom you meet with will provide the following in-depth information and will direct you to register for the marriage preparation classes that work best with both of your schedules. The priest or deacon will also inform you of the Church sacramental documents and civil documents you are required to obtain.
The One in Christ Marriage Preparation Program
Step 3. The engaged couples attend the One in Christ program to learn from experienced facilitators on how to achieve a fruitful and abundant marriage. The couples also have the opportunity for spiritual reflection and an encounter with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament during a Holy Hour. The program runs monthly, rotating among Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Schuylkill and Carbon Counties.
To register, the couple will visit our course registration website (Click on here to go to the course registration website.) and determine together which marriage preparation session on our schedule works best for them. The cost of the program is $150 per couple.
Couples preparing for a second marriage participate in the One in Christ© Marriage Preparation Program as well. If you have already taken Marriage Prep or have special circumstances, please contact the Office.
Step 4. A FOCCUS Inventory Online Session is created by the Office when registration is received*. The couple has 90 days in which to complete the FOCCUS questionnaire before it expires and should be take at least six months prior to the wedding date (preferably within two weeks of receiving email with login and password) to allow time for proper catechesis and formation.
*Note: FOCCUS registration is only available through registration for Marriage Prep. For special circumstances, please contact the office.
A $10 fee will be charged by FOCCUS to reactivate an expired questionnaire.
Step 5. After completion and submission, the FOCCUS results are emailed to the priest or deacon. At this point, they may deem it necessary to meet with the couple again before they attend the marriage preparation program and should do so if it would be of value.
Step 6. The couple will attend the One in Christ Program session which they registered for using the above link and receive a certificate of completion via e-mail after session 5.
Step 7. The priest or deacon will meet with the couple to discuss FOCCUS, to further catechize them and to administer the Pre-nuptial Inventory.
Step 8. Finally, to plan the wedding liturgy, you will meet with the priest or deacon who has been assisting you throughout the preparation process. Because the couple are the real ministers of the sacrament with the vow of their “I do”, there are certain liberties granted to them when planning the particulars of the wedding ceremony. This will include: determining with the priest or deacon if their marriage is celebrated within the celebration of Mass or not and also being invited to select the readings and hymns used for the liturgy as well as some prayers.
Step 9. Lastly, we pray that you enjoy and celebrate your wedding day!
“Both short term and long-term marriage preparation should ensure that the couple do not view the wedding ceremony as the end of the road, but instead embark upon marriage as a lifelong calling based on a firm and realistic decision to face all trials and difficult moments together.”
Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, 211