Marriage Preparation

Pre-Cana refers to the spiritual, liturgical, and nuts and bolts preparation for your wedding.  Each Catholic parish these days has its own particular way of doing “Pre-Cana.”

At St. Margaret Mary Parish, these are the steps:

  1. Call the parish secretary to request a wedding date.  (This wedding date is tentative until it is determined that there is no obstacle to marriage and the wedding can take place.)
  2. Speak with one of the deacons or priests to arrange your initial appointment.
  3. Meet with the priest or deacon and fill out the FOCCUS instrument.  The results of this will be reviewed together by the couple and the priest or deacon.
  4. At the completion of the FOCCUS review, the engaged couple will be contacted by a parish sponsor couple.
  5. After the sponsor couple sessions are completed, the engaged couple calls their celebrant to discuss the specifics of their liturgical celebration.

All persons under 19 years of age must have an interview with a Catholic Charities counselor, in addition to the priest or deacon handling the wedding arrangements.  He/she must also have the permission of the bishop before the wedding date is set.

Marriage and its Meaning for the Church

The following is a catechesis developed for use in St. Margaret Mary parish. There are links to the Diocese of Joliet Marriage Catechesis website and of course there is further reading available in Catechism of the Catholic Church. This essay deals with three themes: sexuality, commitment and the sacramental aspect of marriage in the Church.

The Church's understanding of marriage does not begin with itself or its own foundation as with the other sacraments. Marriage has been with the human race from the beginning of human time. Human beings have bonding properties different from other species. Human beings have factually preferred monogamy on the whole. Here monogamy means one husband and one wife. Ancient societies did practice polygamy [many wives] and polyandry [many husbands], but these arrangements have not gained wide acceptance. Even in the Old Testament, where kings and patriarchs had both many wives and concubines, there was much conflict, both among the wives and concubines and the children. In modern times, even when divorce is common and marriage is not regarded as permanent, marriage has been between one man and one woman at a time. This indicates some natural tendency. Recent studies of the human brain have brought to light certain reasons for this preference. You may consult The Medical Institute for Sexual Health for credible scientific information about sexuality and sexual behavior. []

Part I: Marriage and Sexuality

Part II: Marriage and Commitment: A Social Contract

Part III: Marriage: Covenant and Sacrament

(A copy of the full document for printing is available here).

Additional sources for Marriage Catechesis:

Diocese of Joliet Marriage Catechesis Initiative

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