Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
What a great joy it is to discover you have been called to the vocation of married life. The Church wants to accompany you in this exciting and important time.
Preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony
The vocation to married life, just as other vocations, requires prayerful discernment and committed preparation. Pope Francis reminds us: “The call to married life, therefore, requires a heartfelt discernment of the quality of the relationship and a period of engagement to confirm it. To approach the Sacrament of Marriage, the engaged couple must establish the certainty that the hand of God is in their bond and that he precedes and accompanies them and will enable them to say: With the Grace of Christ I promise to be faithful to you always. They cannot promise each other fidelity “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health”, and to love and honour one another all the days of their lives, solely on the basis of good will or of the hope that it ‘will work out’. They need to ground themselves on the solid terrain of God’s faithful Love. And this is why, before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony, there should be a careful preparation, I would say a catechumenate, because with love one’s entire life is at stake, one does not kid around with love. The preparation must be mature and it takes time. It is not a formality: it is a Sacrament.” ( Pope Francis, General Audience, 2018)
The call to prayerful discernment and committed preparation is not only for newly engaged couples but it is also for those seeking to convalidate their marriages. Convalidation is a marriage preparation process for couples who are civilly married but not married before a Catholic priest or deacon. Click here to learn more about convalidation.
In the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the local parishes guide couples in the process of preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Please contact your parish office to inquire more about this process. Click here to find a parish near you.
7 Steps for Marriage Preparation
Each parish designs its own process of preparing couples for marriage, but there are usually 7 Steps that are followed in marriage preparation:
Step 1. Couples meet with their home parish priest, deacon, or delegate for initial intake to learn about the marriage preparation process and how long the process will take for them.
Step 2. Couples then meet with priest, deacon, or delegate to fill-out the Archdiocesan Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire and a Pre-Marital Inventory.
Step 3. Couple attends meetings with their priest, delegate, or sponsor couple for follow up to the Pre-Marital Inventory and for general formation for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Step 4. If recommended by their home parish, couples attend a Deanery/Parish/Archdiocesan formation day/weekend/seminar 4-8 months before their wedding to complement the individual meetings the couple had with the priest, his delegate, or the sponsor couple.
Step 5. Optional: Natural Family Planning Course (3 sessions) with certified instructors
Step 6. Couples meet with priest, deacon, or delegate to plan liturgy.
Step 7. Couples meet with priest, deacon, or delegate for wedding rehearsal.
For frequently asked questions about marriage preparation and formation, click here.
If your Pastor has recommended that you participate in a marriage formation event outside of the parish, please make sure you have read the 7 Steps for Marriage Preparation above before registering for any of the marriage preparation events listed below.
Western Urban Deanery Marriage Preparation Retreat (English)
DATE: Saturday, November 14, 2020
SCHEDULE: 8:00 AM-4:00 PM
LOCATION: San Juan de los Lagos Parish & Shrine (3231 El Paso St, San Antonio, TX 78207) (Directions)
CONTACT: Deacon Jose L. Ocampo
FECHA: Sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2020
HORARIO: 10:00 AM a 1:30 PM
LUGAR: Retiro virtual en remoto con presentaciones en vivo
CONTACTO: Yolanda Vargas
210-955-9570 x 305
Attention priests, deacons, and marriage preparation ministers:
Click here for resources and programs to help you as you walk with couples in the marriage preparation process.