CONGRATULATIONS, You're engaged!
You are about to begin the Journey of a Lifetime in so many ways!
Your faith, the faith of your fiancé(e) or your faith as a couple is an important component in your life. You would like your lives as a couple to be a witness not only to each other but to others in your lives through the sacrament of marriage.
Preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church should be a joyful journey. The protocols and steps to follow are outlined here. This proven marriage preparation process allows for spiritual growth within a couple, while adding tremendous depth into the relationship and how that relationship is entwined with God in marriage.
If one person is not Catholic, the process allows for a non-Catholic to be exposed to the Catholic faith and the Sacrament of Marriage. This allows for a greater understanding of their partner’s faith, spirituality and Catholic belief system in God. This is a true gift in and of itself in the context of a marriage.
Marriage preparation in the Diocese of Austin is a Discernment Process that allows couples the opportunity to explore and discern their vocation of marriage by looking closely at their relationships with one another and with God.
Let’s get started!
1. Have an Initial Conversation with Priest or Deacon - Your parish is always the best choice for your marriage preparation. This is your spiritual community where your Sunday worship takes place amongst your chosen community. Your parish priest, along with prayer, is part of your spiritual nourishment in your lives. Schedule an appointment with a priest or a deacon in your parish to begin the marriage preparation process. This should begin 6-12 months before your wedding.
2. Take a Personal Relationship Assessment (Prepare-Enrich or FOCCUS) - Upon meeting with your priest or deacon, he will go over an initial interview with you and your fiancé(e) to determine what is needed for you to receive the sacrament of marriage. You then take one of the relationship assessments available to you, Prepare-Enrich or FOCCUS. If your priest or deacon is not familiar with either one of these inventories, please call the Diocesan Office of Family Life for assistance. For more information about these assessments, click the links above. You will also complete the pre-marital questionnaire and other paperwork.
3. Choose your mentor couples - You have a choice to pick a sacramentally married couple you admire to become your mentors, following the required criteria:
- Practice and are active in their Catholic faith
- Have been married in the church for more than 5 years
- Preferably go to the same church as you
- Not your immediate relative
4. Attend a Marriage Discernment Retreat – Check with your priest or deacon on availability of this in your home parish. You may a similar retreat offered by the Diocese only with the approval of your priest/deacon. The relationship assessment must be completed prior to the retreat. See the Diocesan schedule here.
5. Take a Natural Family Planning (NFP) Course – An introduction to NFP course is required, but a full method is preferred. Your parish may have either or both available to you.
6. Stay connected to your local parish - As it is very important to have supports in married life, it is particularly essential to stay in touch with your mentors and your local community. Your mentors would serve as resources for many of your needs in the future.
Please contact Dr. Phi Le at (512) 949-2470 for any questions.