Marriage Preparation

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

You are engaged to be married and, desiring the blessing of God on your union, have approached the Church to witness and seal your vows to each other. The Church stands ready to assist you as you embark upon what is perhaps the most important decision and commitment of your life.

For Archdiocesan approved counseling referrals, please call or email or 973-497-4327.

Marriage Preparation Process

1. Contact the Parish

The marriage preparation 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. Standard preparation time is one year.

If you need a copy of your sacramental records, they are most often stored at the parish where the Sacraments were administered. For more information, click here: Sacramental Records

For priests or deacons looking for copies of Marriage Preparation Forms A1-E2, visit the Metropolitan Tribunal page.

2. Initial Meeting with Priest or Deacon

At the time of your first meeting, the pastoral minister will explain the marriage preparation 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 begin to fill out the necessary canonical forms and advise you as to what Church and civil documents are needed.

3. Complete a Pre-Marital Inventory (exs. Archdiocesan Marriage Survey or F.O.C.C.U.S.) 

A premarital inventory provides a personalized profile of your relationship. The individualized couple feedback covers topic areas important to marriage: life-style expectations, friends, and interests, personality match, personal issues, problem solving, communication, dual careers, religion and values, etc. It is advised that the inventory be taken prior to attending the marriage preparation sessions, and can be arranged through your Priest or Deacon.

4. Register and Attend Pre-Marital Instruction Courses

Sessions are being listed a few at a time. We will continue to add remote sessions for as long as necessary. We will open in-person sessions as we are able. Please do not register for sessions until AFTER your initial meetings with the priest or deacon preparing you.

Click here to registerMarriage Preparation Classes

Marriage Preparation classes are held in two parts. Each is listed below. The fee for each session is $100 and includes materials, online session and one completion certificate. Sessions can be taken in either order.

Sacramental Preparation: God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage – REQUIRED

“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. The registration fee is $100 per couple. Certificate is issued.

Life Skills Marriage Preparation Sessions –Pre Cana– REQUIRED

The Marriage Preparation Session (i.e. Pre-Cana) offers practical insights and assistance in building a successful marriage. Topics covered include: Communication, Conflict Resolution, Family of Origin, Finances and more. The registration fee is $100 per couple. Certificate is issued.

Optional Natural Family Planning Seminar

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. The women’s body provides certain signs and symptoms which tell her when she can conceive or not conceive a child. The main signs are: changes in the cervix, cervical mucus and resting body temperature. Couples can learn to observe, record, and interpret these signs with a high degree of accuracy.

This can also be taken at any time in a couples’ marital journey. Currently, there are distance learning methods approved by the USCCB that can be found here: NFP Distance Learning. Please note, if you choose to use one of these methods, you would register and pay directly with the organization you choose.

5. Continue Meeting with Priest or Deacon

Continue formation meetings with Pastoral Minister to present necessary forms (Certificates of Completion, Sacramental forms, etc.), review Marriage Inventory results, and choose liturgical options.

6. Review the Couples’ Checklist for Church Marriage

Annulment Information


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