Click Here for a diagram of the MP Process
1. Meet with your parish priest or deacon
When you become engaged, you should contact their parish as soon as possible - at least 6 months before their wedding date, preferably one year before your wedding.
You will meet with the priest or deacon to discuss the marriage preparation process, schedule the various things that need to be done, determine canonical and civil eligibility for marriage, and explore the possibility for the sacrament of confirmation if needed. You will be given an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have. For example, you may have questions about prior marriage, differences in faith (Catholic and non-Catholic), or one of you may be from a different diocese.
Some parishes offer the FOCCUS pre-marital inventory to help couples strengthen their relationship and asses their readiness for marriage.
Please remember, it is essential to have this meeting as early as possible to have enough time to resolve any particular issues, obtain necessary documents and attend the marriage preparation programs offered.
2. Attend the Marriage Preparation Seminars hosted by the Diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Madison provides a number of programs to assit couples prepare for their marriage. There are two options for taking these classes:
It is diocesan policy that each engaged couple attend both the Real Life, Real Love and God's Plan seminars. The Natural Family Planning training, though optional, is strongly encouraged to fully understand the beauty of marriage and sexuality.
Real Life, Real Love Seminar - involves married couples sharing their marital experiences on issues important to long-lasting marriages - Self-Awareness, Communication in Marriage, Married Sexuality, and Faith. Each couple is provided significant time for personal reflection and couple dialogue.
God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage Seminar - The God's Plan Seminar offers engaged couples a complete understanding of God's glorious plan for marriage and sexuality. Based on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, this program explores Church teachings on marriage and what it means to live out the vows of matrimony – free, total, faithful and fruitful.
The God’s Plan seminars also follow a Saturday format or a two-evening format. Saturday formats begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at approximately 4:30 p.m. Two-evening formats begin at 5:45 p.m. with dinner and end at approximately 9:30 p.m. Resources provided include Christopher West’s book “The Good News about Sex & Marriage” and a student workbook. Register online!
Natural Family Planning - Want to ensure a life-long marriage? Go Natural! We encourage every engaged couple to complete a NFP class prior to their wedding.
How do I take the classes? There are two options:
Option #1: Take the classes individually over a period of time. Both seminars follow either a Saturday format or a two-evening format. Saturday formats begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 or 4:30pm. Two-evening formats begin around 6:00 p.m. and end approximately at 9:30 p.m. on both evenings. Lunch/dinner are provided. NFP classes are regularly scheduled throughout the diocese. For more information and class times, go to Natural Family Planning or contact the Family Planning Coordinator at email@example.com or 608-821-3134.
Option #2: Attend the MP Weekend Retreat: The preferred option - the content of all three of the above classes is included within a weekend getaway atmosphere.
3. Meet with priest or deacon for final preparation
After you’ve completed the marriage preparation seminars and other parish requirements, you should have additional meetings with the priest or deacon that will witness your marriage. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss the seminars, finalize liturgical plans and address any additional needs that you have.
The above process may vary slightly from parish to parish, so please check with your priest or deacon to find out their specific requirements. If you have any questions about the overall process, feel free to contact the Marriage Preparation Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (608) 821-3175.