Congratulations on your engagement!
The Church rejoices with you and is grateful for the gift of your loving commitment to each other. The Church is one with you in prayer and loving support as you respond to God’s call in your life—living the fullness of your lives in marital love.
I assure you the Archdiocese is committed to assisting you to live this fullness of your lives in marital love. This time of preparation is a blessing. As you participate in your marriage preparation program, you will be enriched to live God’s call to holy love in marriage and family life. I am confident that our Archdiocesan marriage preparation will provide you with life skills and faith formation to live your married life to its fullest, for the rest of your lives. You can be assured of my prayers and may God bless you with His love and abundant graces.
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis
Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Classes
(Office of Marriage and Family Life)
Classes are a total of 13 hours and take place at locations throughout the Archdiocese. Please do not contact the class location directly. Cost $225, unless otherwise noted.
View the class schedule TO REGISTER
God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage
Joy-Filled Marriage incorporates rich Catholic theology with sound psychology, and it is highly interactive, and engaging for today's couples pointing them toward a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage. Springing from Blessed John Paul II’s teachings on "Theology of the Body", the program invites couples to explore their own uniqueness by seeking their identity and mission in Christ. In addition, the program is designed to help couples celebrate their call to greatness. Many engaged couples come away from the program with a newfound awe and respect for the truth and meaning of human sexuality. They leave with a clearer understanding of the extraordinary gift marriage is to our society and themselves.
Steps to Get Married
Step 1: Meet with your priest or deacon
When: 8-12 Months before the wedding.
As soon as possible after your engagement, contact your priest or deacon to assist you with your marriage preparation. At the initial meeting he will determine if you and your fiancé(e) are free to marry in the Church; he will provide you with information for completing Steps 2-6 of this process; and he will set up a schedule for future meetings.
Step 2 - Marriage Preparation Inventory
When: As soon as possible or after meeting with your priest or deacon
Complete a marriage preparation “inventory,” which is a set of questions to help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship and any areas that need further discussion or attention.
Step 3: The Marriage Preparation Course
When: 8-12 months before the wedding
To complement the “inventory,” the Archdiocese offers an excellent marriage preparation program designed to introduce you to God’s plan for your marriage. The course also includes virtue-based instruction on communication, conflict resolution and financial decision-making. Some parishes offer this program within the parish with a mentor couple. To register, click here.
Step 4 - Natural Family Planning Intro Course (click here for class schedule)
When: 6-12 months before your wedding
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is not only effective for planning your family it is also highly effective in overcoming obstacles that compromise your ability to become parents.
Step 5: Sacrament of Reconciliation
When: Before the wedding as necessary
The Church invites all Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually prior to their marriage by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even if you are not of the Catholic faith, you still would benefit from spiritual direction.The regular practice of the sacrament of reconciliation keeps marriages healthy and strong.
Step 6: Liturgy Planning
When: Before the wedding
The priest will provide a booklet to help you plan your wedding ceremony. Watching the USCCB video Saying I Do...What Happens at a Catholic Wedding is very helpful for this process. Link to view the video: archstl.org/marriageprep
Other Marriage Preparation Programs
Engaged Encounter Weekends of St. Louis
Held at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center in Eureka, Missouri. Visit their website below for upcoming dates and a registration form.
AGAPÈ Catholic Ministries
The AGAPÈ Catholic Ministries Marriage Preparation course is based on the Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae. Online marriage preparation and Natural Family Planning (NFP) classes are available. Online worksheets foster conversation between the couple, and in all of the courses, there is follow-up with personalized feedback from instructor couples. This program is excellent for engaged couples in the Military.
Spanish Language Marriage Preparation
A number of facilitator couples are available who will give engaged couples bilingual or Spanish marriage preparation. In addition to one-on-one preparation, a class is offered twice a year. For information, call Maria Lucrecia Knapp at 314.830.1426.
Parish-Based Sponsor Couple Experience
Check with your priest or deacon for a parish-sponsored marriage preparation program in which married couples meet one-on-one with engaged couple. This option is not available at all parishes.
Pope Francis' Address to Engaged Couples Preparing for Marriage
Interested in bringing your marriage into the Church by convalidation of marriage? Contact your parish priest or deacon for information on beginning the process. For other resources, please call Julie Bostick 314.792.7180 or email email@example.com.
Seeking Facilitator Couples for Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Workshops
Qualifications: Married at least five years; ages 30-55; engaging, energetic; love the Church and the fullness of truth; pursuing an active relationship with Jesus; open to sharing; and called to lead couples to a deeper faith. Some knowledge of Theology of the Body helpful.
Training will be provided.
Stipend: $600 per weekend
Hours: 14-15 hours, split over two days (12 hours of presenting). The workshops are two-day workshops held Saturdays and Sundays. Snacks and a meal are provided. We ask the facilitators to arrive 1-1½ hr. early to set up the workbooks and class materials.
For more information on the archdiocesan marriage preparation program, God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage, please click here.
If you are interested in serving as a Marriage Preparation Facilitator, please contact Kitty Mandis, Marriage Preparation Coordinator, Office of Marriage & Family Life, 314.792.7180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, please contact Julie Bostick at email@example.com or 314.792.7180