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This is a very exciting time in your lives. We share in your joy and wish to support you as you prepare to join your lives together in Christ’s Church. We look forward to accompanying you on this joyful journey! Click here for a guide to the process. May your engagement be a grace-filled time for you as a couple.
Step One: Contact the Parish
The marriage formation 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 formation 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 also begin to fill out the necessary canonical forms and advise you as to what Church and civil documents are needed.
Step Three: Complete a F.O.C.C.U.S Pre-Marital Inventory
F.O.C.C.U.S., Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study, is a premarital inventory that provides a personalized profile of your relationship. The individualized couple feedback covers topic areas important to marriage: lifestyle expectations, friends, and interests, personality match, personal issues, problem solving, communication, dual careers, religion and values, etc. Couples are encouraged to complete F.O.C.C.U.S. with their pastoral minister before attending the marriage preparation workshop of their choice. Please contact the priest/deacon witnessing your wedding to schedule an appointment.
Step Four: Register and Attend
*NOTE: Both courses – "God's Plan for a Joy-filled Marriage" and "Pre-Cana" – OR – the Engaged Encounter Weekend are required.
A. Engaged Encounter Weekend
Engaged Encounter Weekend is a weekend retreat for engaged couples with plenty of time for each couple to dialogue honestly and intensively about their prospective lives together - their strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, their attitudes about money, sex, children, family, and their role in the church and society -- in a face to face way. Learn more by visiting the Engaged Encounter Weekend page or call 732-562-1543 or 732-243-4573.
B. God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage
"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. Learn more by visiting the God's Plan for Marriage sessions page or call 732-562-1543 or 732-243-4573.
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Marriage Preparation Sessions (Pre-Cana)
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. Learn more by visiting the Pre-Cana page.
Step Five: Natural Family Planning Courses
This is an optional course: 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. Learn more by visiting the Natural Family Planning page.