The Catholic Church has a long history of helping couples to prepare for marriage. It has learned a great deal that can help any couple, regardless of religion.
Because the Catholic Church wants couples to form strong, lasting marriages, couples who marry in the Catholic Church are asked to:
1. Contact and meet with parish priest as soon as they are engaged.
Your priest will be guiding you through this time of preparation for the sacrament of marriage. It's best to contact the parish as soon as you are engaged.
2. Take at least six months to prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
This time of engagement is not just a time of planning and preparation for your wedding day, but a time of formation for the two of you which presents an opportunity to grow in your understanding of the sacrament of marriage, the vows you will be making, and how you will live out those vows as husband and wife.
3. Attend a Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation seminar.
Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation is a day-long retreat for couples preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church. It is presented at various locations around the diocese throughout the year. The day includes a series of presentations that will help couples grow in their understanding of the sacrament of matrimony, reflect on the gift they are preparing to make of themselves to one another, and deepen their relationship with God and one another.
The Diocese of Rockford requires that all couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage attend a Natural Family Planning seminar. This requirement is met by attending a Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation seminar.
We recommend that after attending the Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation seminar, you take a full course of Natural Family Planning from a certified instructor. This natural method of fertility awareness can help couples be open to God's plan for your family, achieve or avoid pregnancies, and identify and treat reproductive health problems (endometriosis, PCOS, painful cycles, etc.). Click here for a list of Natural Family Planning Instructors.
Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation