Contacting the Parish
Couples are encouraged to contact the parish as soon as they become engaged. The normal preparation time here in Camden Diocese is one year in. This time allows you to reap the benefits of the marriage preparation process and to register for the Marriage Preparation Program that best fits your schedule.
Setting the Wedding Date and Freedom to Marry
Before a wedding date can be set, the couple should meet with the priest or deacon to determine that nothing is preventing the couple from marriage in the Catholic Church. There are certain forms that must be completed.
The Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study pre-marriage inventory is administered through your parish or witnessing clergy to further prepare you for married life. The FOCCUS inventory can assist you in identifying strengths and areas for growth in your relationship, areas of agreement or disagreement you may have with each other or with Church teachings, that is, areas that need more of your reflections and discussion. More information on FOCCUS is here.
Couples are encouraged to complete FOCCUS with their clergy before attending the Marriage Preparation Program of their choice.
Marriage Preparation Program
You are required to attend one of the various Marriage Preparation Programs described here. The varied formats provide schedule options which will meet the needs of today’s busy couples. Formats allow ample opportunity for you to reflect on & discuss the important aspects of marriage. Trained Catholic married couples share with you the wisdom gained from their experiences as they live out their own vocation to married life. Certificates are given at the completion of all the programs. They serve as verification of attendance and participation in a required pre-marriage instruction program.
Meetings with Witnessing Clergy
Following participation in a Marriage Preparation Program, you will once again arrange to meet with your witnessing priest or deacon. The number of meetings is determined by the witnessing clergy. These will be opportunities to share your experiences about the program you attended and to discuss any serious issues or concerns that may need to be addressed. It will also be the time to collect any outstanding documents and complete any remaining paperwork. Once your readiness for marriage is affirmed, the planning for the wedding liturgy may begin.
See FAQ’s for wedding liturgy information. The witnessing clergy would be happy to assist you in joining your new parish if you will be moving after the wedding.