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Marriage Preparation

"As a young man marries a young woman, so will your builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you" (Isaiah 62:5 ).

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Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Your decision to marry is a sign of profound trust. We celebrate your desire to marry and want you to know that grace awaits you in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. 


As Pope Francis writes in his exhortation on the Joy of Love, Amoris Laetitia, "Love is always a gift from God. Wherever it is poured out, it makes its transforming presence felt, often in mysterious ways." (AL, 227). He goes on to say that "marriage preparation should be a 'kind' of an initiation to the Sacrament of Matrimony, providing couples with the help they need to receive the sacrament worthily and to make a solid beginning of life as a family" (AL, 207).


Whether you are engaged to marry for the first time, are civilly married and want to enter the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony through a convalidation* ceremony, or are remarrying after a decree of nullity or loss of your spouse, the Archdiocesan marriage preparation process (Pre-Cana) offers preparation suited to you. Pre-Cana options include: a Parish-based Mentor Couple Program Weekends for the Engaged, Evenings for the Engaged; and Spanish Pre Cana: Por Nos Vamos a Casar by calling 505-831-8147.  For general information on Marriage Prep related topics including online marriage prep, convalidation and more, visit Catholic Marriage Prep.


For civilly married couples wanting to enter the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Marriage Encounter is also available to get a convalidation* certificate. Since preparation varies among parishes, it is recommended you contact your parish first. Click here for parish contact information. Visit our bookings page to reserve a spot with upcoming marriage prep programs.


In the meantime, know that preparation for entering the Sacrament of Matrimony typically takes a minimum of six months and entails the following five steps:


•  Initial interview with your parish priest, deacon or lay minister who will provide an overview of the marriage prep process and ask for required documentation including baptismal record (if applicable), and wedding license, if civilly married. During this time, your wedding date will be reserved on the parish calendar.

•  FOCCUS Marriage Inventory to help you discover strengths and explore expectations and opinions about marriage. The inventory is administered by the parish. When completed, you will meet with a mentor to discuss your survey results. More information is available online at

•  Guided reflection and discernment is done on either a one-on-one basis or in a group setting. Individual couple mentoring takes place between you and a mentor couple. Group mentoring takes place at a weekend retreat or over a period of six evenings. The schedule for Pre-Cana weekend and evening workshops are listed on our events page. All preparations provide you opportunities to have heart-to-heart conversations about God, love, and your opinions on married life. It also provides an introduction to natural family planning (NFP).  

•  Planning the Wedding Liturgy.  There is a specific Catholic Rite of Holy Matrimony, but options for personalizing each part of the Rite are offered. Your parish will assist you in choosing the prayers, readings, and music you prefer.

•  Rehearsal. A wedding rehearsal at the Church is generally scheduled the evening before the day of your wedding. 


Once you are married, be sure to take advantage of our many Marriage Support ministries.




*Convalidation - Catholics who are civilly married but who want the Church to recognize or bless their marriage by getting married in the Catholic Church.


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