"If a man and a woman marry in order to be companions on the journey from earth to heaven, then their union will bring great joy to themselves and to others."
—  St. John Chrysostom

Marriage Prep

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a vocation – a public and covenantal commitment between a man and a woman to spend a lifetime together. The sacrament is a visible sign of God’s unconditional love for us and brings grace and joy to the new couple. To start the marriage process, contact your parish priest six to nine months before your anticipated wedding date.

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Marriage Preparation 7 Steps

Step 1: Contact your parish

Contact your parish to establish your freedom to marry and to register for marriage preparation. You should receive a copy of the Celebration of Matrimony Workbook and a current archdiocesan marriage preparation brochure during this first contact with the parish.

Find A Parish

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 7 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.

Step 2: Register with the Archdiocese

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)
    An online workshop with presentations, individual couple discussions, and reflection time on topics important to marriage. We offer two options for the convenience of our engaged couples and their varying schedules. A Saturday Live-stream option, as well as a two weeknight option (Tuesday/Thursday nights, 6:30-9 pm).

  • 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.

Register for the weekend retreat in Omaha

Register for the weekend retreat in Norfolk

Sign Up for the Online MAJ Webinar

Step 3: FOCCUS Facilitation

After choosing a formation program, you will be ready to complete your FOCCUS inventory.

If you chose Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE), you will need to email marriageprep@archomaha.org to request a link to register for FOCCUS. (CEE is not able to set up FOCCUS for you)

If you chose MAJ, FOCCUS is included in your retreat cost. After completing your MAJ registration, your FOCCUS login information will be emailed to you (in about 7-10 days) and no separate FOCCUS registration is needed.

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. 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.

Step 4: Attend a Marriage Formation program

Attend either:
1.) Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat

2.) Marriage: a Journey for Life (Online retreat)

3.) Parish Marriage Prep Program

Certain parishes in the Archdiocese are offering mentor programs. Please check with your parish if you are interested in a mentor couple.

Step 5: Take a Fertility Awareness/Natural Family Planning course

Couples are highly encouraged to take an intro course from one of our many NFP providers. Review your options here.
We recommend classes offered by:
1) Couple to Couple League
2) Marquette Model
3) Creighton FertilityCare

Step 6: Reconciliation

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. Contact your priest preparing you for marriage to set up a time to go to confession, or check the parish bulletin for confession times.

Step 7: Meet with your priest

After completing your FOCCUS sessions and formation retreat, additional wedding planning will be provided by the priest or deacon at your parish. This will include planning the Rite of Matrimony and finalizing any pastoral formation specific to the couple.

Witness to Love

The Archdiocese of Omaha highly recommends the use of the program: Witness to Love. Witness to Love is a virtues-based, catechumenate model of marriage preparation that integrates psychology and friendship. 

Witness to Love is currently being offered at St. Gerald, St. Stephen the Martyr, St. Patrick - Elkhorn, and St. Vincent de Paul.


Parish Resources:

2023 Marriage Prep Brochure

2023 Hispanic Marriage Prep brochure English version of Spanish

2023 Preparación Matrimonial en Español