By virtue of the sacramentality of their marriage, spouses are bound to one another in the most profoundly indissoluble manner. Their belonging to each other is the real representation, by means of the sacramental sign, of the very relationship of Christ with the church.”Familiaris Consortio #13
Marriage formation at the parish level holds a significant place in the Church’s mission to accompany and support couples on their journey toward marriage. It is the shared responsibility of the entire ecclesial community to establish a catechumenal pathway for marriage preparation and to extend practical support to couples as they progress along this path. This journey is a collaborative effort that involves priests, mentor couples, religious individuals, and pastoral workers.
Overall, parish-based programs for the formation of marriages should provide a comprehensive approach that includes remote, proximate, and immediate preparation, personalized accompaniment, small-group programs, and a variety of resources and activities to support couples in their journey toward a sacramental marriage. These programs and/or initiatives should be adaptable to the specific needs and realities of contemporary family life, while also drawing from the wisdom and experiences of the Church’s teachings on marriage and family.
Below, you will discover a selection of resources, such as programs, courses, and initiatives, that align with this vision for parish-based marriage formation. For personalized recommendations on how to effectively implement and tailor a parish-based marriage formation program to address the unique needs of your parish community, contact the Office of Marriage and Family Ministry.
- Fully Engaged – Fully Engaged is a Catholic catechetical premarital inventory designed to help engaged couples solidify the foundation upon which they, together with Christ, will build their Sacrament of Marriage. Grounded in Church teaching and loaded with catechetical content, this dynamic premarital inventory is a trustworthy guide that meets the real challenges today’s couples face.
- FOCCUS – FOCCUS Inc. USA, an apostolate of the Archdiocese of Omaha, was founded on the principal that communication and problem solving are the keys to a successful marriage. FOCCUS Inc. USA provides resources and support for organizations and individuals who guide couples through marriage formation and who offer ongoing marriage enrichment and support. The programs and materials offered by FOCCUS Inc. USA are based in the Roman Catholic Faith and are available in accessible non-denominational formats.
- Prepare/Enrich – Prepare/Enrich is one of the most widely researched assessment tools. The questions are based on each couple’s unique background and are tailored for previous marriage, children, age, living arrangement, and more. The assessment will cover topics such as sexual expectations, natural family planning, and pornography. You can prepare couples for marriage with confidence by knowing you facilitated conversations the couple needs to have before the wedding day.
- Joy-filled Marriage – Joy-Filled Marriage is a marriage preparation program designed to meet that challenge. This program offers a comprehensive approach to marriage preparation that covers not only the sacramentality and theology of marriage, but the practical life skills necessary to live out the rich Catholic vision of marriage.
- Beloved – Beloved invites all couples to experience firsthand the wonder, mystery, and joy behind that first “I do” … whether you said it last year or many years ago. Beloved is comprised of two parts: The Mystery and Meaning of Marriage has 6 sessions and Living Marriage has 6 sessions. All 12 episodes can be used in Marriage Prep or for Marriage Enrichment. Just select your Leader and Couples Guides for “Preparation” or “Enrichment”.
- Witness to Love – Witness to Love is a virtues-based, Catechumenate model of marriage renewal and preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate an authentic dialogue about their relationship.
- TOBET 4Engaged – Theology of the Body Marriage Preparation Program is a flexible, holistic program that covers practical, down-to-earth topics in order to form couples to live healthy, holy marriages. It examines practical topics precisely through the lens of St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body. Couples develop familiarity with TOB themes and deepen their understanding of the “whys behind the whats” of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. Approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Online Marriage Formation
- Catholic Marriage Prep – Agapè Catholic Marriage Preparation invites couples to a deeper relationship with each other and with Christ, one couple at a time. Online, on-demand instruction rooted in Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, combined with personalized mentoring from a trained married couple, builds a foundation for a strong, healthy, Christ-centered marriage between a man and a woman.
- The Marriage Group – The Marriage Group was formed with a vision of delivering online, on-demand, marriage preparation courses. The founders of The Marriage Group came from backgrounds in technology, online marketing, and organization-building in the business world. Working in collaboration with the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, the first-of-its-kind Catholic marriage prep class was born.
Marriage & Family Ministry Coordinator
Laity, Family & Life