Marriage Preparation Steps
Contact your parish to establish your freedom to marry and to register for marriage preparation. You should receive a copy of the Engaged Couple Guide for Catholic Marriage Preparation and a current archdiocesan marriage preparation brochure during this first contact with the parish.
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Things to Keep in Mind:
Couples most benefit from marriage preparation if their FOCCUS facilitation and CEE retreat or MAJ workshop are completed 6 months prior to their wedding day. Please plan so that you are not rushed to complete the 5 Steps. The Archdiocese of Omaha requires a minimum of 6 months of preparation time before the scheduled wedding date.
- If the bride or groom will be less than 19 years old on the date you plan to marry, a wedding date will not be set until the preparation process is complete.
- If either the bride or groom or both have previously celebrated any type of wedding whatsoever, a written decree of nullity (annulment) is required prior to registering for marriage preparation.
The next step in the preparation process is to register and pay for one of the formation programs listed below.
- Marriage: A Journey for Life (MAJ)
A Saturday workshop with presentations, individual couple discussions, and reflection time on topics important to marriage. Meals included.
- Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE)
An overnight weekend retreat with other engaged couples consisting of presentations, individual couple discussion and reflection time, confessions, and Mass. Meals and lodging included.
After registering for your choice of formation program in Step 2, you will each receive your own FOCCUS username and password by email within five business days.
Please complete the FOCCUS™ Pre-Marriage Inventory immediately upon receiving your login information. Allow 45 – 60 minutes for completion. As soon as both of you have completed the inventory, a personalized Couple Report will be delivered to your priest.
You can expect to meet with your trained FOCCUS facilitator weekly for 4-6 one-hour sessions. Your facilitator may or may not be your priest. These sessions are intended to facilitate discussion between the two of you on areas of strength and opportunities for growth identified by the FOCCUS™ Pre-Marriage Inventory. Your results and your facilitated discussion are kept confidential.
You can expect to receive b’tween™ resources for use during and after your FOCCUS sessions along with a FOCCUS Certificate of Completion.
Attend either Catholic Engaged Encounter or Marriage a Journey for Life as selected above. The priest or deacon at your parish will receive written notification when you have completed all marriage formation requirements. The Center for Family Life Formation also recommends Natural Family Planning classes offered by the Couple to Couple League, Family of the Americas, and FertilityCare.
Natural Family Planning (NFP)/ Fertility Awareness assists couples as they plan to welcome children and/or identify and address infertility concerns and maintain systemic health. While an introduction to NFP is covered at CEE & MAJ, couples are highly encouraged to take a full course from one of our many NFP provider. The Center for Family Life Formation recommends classes offered by Couple to Couple League, Family of the Americas, Feminine Genius Ministries and FertilityCare.
One of the greatest ways to prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is to receive the gift of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If it has been a long time since your last confession, simply ask the priest to help you along in the process. Remember to maintain the practice of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis throughout your married life as well.
After completing FOCCUS sessions, MAJ or CEE, and NFP and parenting instruction as might apply to you, additional formation will be provided by the priest or deacon at your parish. This will include planning the Rite of Matrimony.