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This page is designed to assist parishes. Couples can register and find additional information under the “Marriage & Family” tab of the navigation menu.

Information for Parishes on Diocesan Marriage Preparation

Requires completion of two courses: Pre-Cana and Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Both courses are available online and in-person.
Couples can take any combination of the online and in-person courses.

Parishes, please submit
two certificates for diocesan marriage preparation
in the prenuptial file: (1) Pre-Cana Course and (1) NFP Course

English Marriage Preparation Flier

This flier can be given directly to couples

Spanish Marriage Preparation Flier

This flier can be given directly to couples


Couples should choose one pre-Cana course.

These pre-Cana options combine relational insights from contemporary research with Catholic teaching on marriage. Couples will gain insights from the Church teachings on the sacramentality of marriage and receive practical tips. Our goal is to help couples give the gift of themselves to each other and unpack the grace  received during the sacrament of Marriage so that couples can build a strong and lasting marriage.

Couples gain access to this video-based formation program along with two workbooks that are mailed from the diocesan office. Each of the ten sessions take couples about one hour to complete, including viewing the video and completing discussion and activities.
                 The Course Report: At the end of the course, the couple completes an assessment that generates their certificate and bundles their answers into a PDF as their ‘course report’ that we email to you. Their answers will give you insight into their history and formation experience. Also available via a link in the cover email is the Celebrant Guide (contact the LiFE Office for a copy of this guide. This guide provides a summary of each lesson, the questions in the assessment that relate to that lesson, and tips on what to look for in their answers. It also includes supplementary questions that you can optionally use to unpack the topic further if you desire. 

                 Two topics in particular are worthy of your attention: 
Lesson 5 (Restoring Unity) addresses conflict and reconciliation. It also makes the link to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and asks about receiving it before the marriage. A surprising number say ‘Yes’, so watch for this. 
Lesson 8 (A Living Sign) explores the Sacrament of Matrimony and introduces seven aspects of the marriage vows: permanency, freedom to marry, sexual intimacy, fidelity, unconditional sharing, openness to children, and raising children Catholic. This is your introduction to discuss their readiness to enter Catholic marriage and provide additional support if needed.  

Estas clases de preparación matrimonial cuentan con la confianza y la promoción de parroquias y diócesis católicas de todo el mundo. 8 horas para completer. Guías descargables que siguen al curso para ayudarlo a comenzar y enfocar sus conversaciones a lo largo del curso, para asegurarse de que todas las conversaciones importantes se lleven a cabo. Tómese su tiempo y tenga esas conversaciones que son tan importantes y que se enfocan en su relación. Por este motivo, le damos acceso a las clases durante un año. Tómese su tiempo durante las clases y vuelva a visitarlas más tarde para actualizar esas conversaciones anteriores. Estas clases de preparación matrimonial cuentan con la confianza y la promoción de parroquias y diócesis católicas de todo el mundo. Tan pronto como termine, recibirá un certificado oficial de finalización inmediatamente después de haber completado las clases. Bájelo, imprímalo, envíelo por correo electrónico, lo que necesite hacer.

This retreat is an opportunity for the couple to pause the hecticness of wedding planning and focus on each other and on God. Couples enjoy all meals and overnight accommodations from Friday evening through Saturday evening at the Bishop Lane Retreat Center in Rockford or the Nazareth Spirituality Center in Batavia. The weekends are offered every month in alternating languages and include presentations, Adoration, Mass, Reconciliation, discussion, and quiet time.
                 Topics include: Self-Knowledge: Knowing Your True Self; Communication: Relationship Skills for Marriage; Expectations:

Great Expectations Are Managed Well; What is Love? The Four Loves; God is Love: Proclaiming the Good News (Kerygma); What is Marriage? God’s Plan for Love and Life; The Sacrament of Matrimony: You, Me, and Jesus; The Rite of Marriage: The Consent We Give and Live; Finances: Let’s Talk Money; Five Spiritual Practices for Marriage and Family Life: Keeping Christ at the Center of Our Marriage; The Mass: The Presence of Christ; Marital Sexuality: Love’s Perfect Design; We are on a Mission: Our Marriage and Family, An Icon of God’s Love.

Open only to civilly wedded couples who had their wedding two or more years ago
                 Led by trained peer couples and a priest, the WWME experience is typically a weekend-long residential retreat held at a retreat center or hotel for couples who are already married in the Catholic Church or who have been civilly wedded. Couples learn new tools that will enrich their marriages and have the opportunity to form lasting communities if so desired. Note: This is different than Retrouvaille, which is for marriages that are deeply troubled, in crisis, or have deep hurts that need significant healing and forgiveness.

                 Spanish weekends are held at the Br. David Dartst Retreat Center, 6336 S Kilburn, Chicago, IL 60929. Spanish weekends are held throughout the area.
                 Priests are welcomed to attend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter experience as a means to grow in love with their “spouse” the Church. Priests in our diocese who wish to attend a retreat and perhaps reclaim the initial spark of ordination day and live their priesthood in love, every day, are encouraged to contact the LiFE Office for possible assistance with the retreat fee.


Choose one NFP course.

These NFP options present the true gift of being open to God, to each other, and to new life. Couples learn the scientific, natural, and moral approach to family planning that helps them achieve or postpone pregnancy by understanding and tracking their joint fertility. NFP fosters self-knowledge, respect, and appreciation for the gift of fertility. NFP supports God’s design for married love by fostering free, total, faithful, and fruitful communion between husband and wife. The NFP courses also address themes present in Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, including who we are and how God created us. Couples learn that our bodies express who we are spiritually. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and our bodies reflect this. God’s love is a total gift of self and life-giving. Thus, husbands and wives are called to love each other in the same self-giving and life-giving way through their sexuality.

The NFP course is required even for couples who are beyond childbearing age (or unable to bear children) because this self-giving is not limited by age or fertility and because these couples are called to join the Church in passing on the beauty of these teachings to the younger generations.

Couples gain access to this video-based formation program. The eight sessions take couples about five hours to complete, including viewing the video and completing discussion and activities. Lesson 1 is titled “A Total Gift of Self,” and covers understanding fertility, conscious parenthood, and a vision for life and love. Lesson 2, “Your Fertility,” covers the male and female anatomy, a couple’s combined fertility, and cycle length and cycle phases. Lesson 3, “The Ovulation Cycle,” covers markers of fertility and fertility status. Lesson 4, “Learning Cycles 1 & 2,” covers the fertility record and recording markers, late infertile phase, and troubleshooting. Lesson 5, “Learning Cycles 3 +,” covers bleeding, the basic infertile pattern, transition points, sexual fluids, and learning cycles. Lesson 6, “SmartFertility Applications,” discusses postponing and achieving pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding, post-pill charting, perimenopause, irregular cycles, and signs something is wrong. Lesson 7, “Living SmartFertility,” discusses intentional lovemaking and conscious parenthood. Lesson 8 collects feedback from the couple and provides the completion certificate.

Una serie de tres vídeos con ejercicios y material para descargar sobre el Método de la Ovulación Billings, método de Planificación Familiar Natural (PFN).

This four-hour presentation will be offered at parishes throughout the Diocese of Rockford. It will offer the opportunity to interact with a Theology of the Body instructor and with couples who have practiced and instructed others in NFP methods. Seminars are offered every month in every other language.

The best and most effective way to learn NFP is to receive instruction with a qualified instructor who has been trained and certified to teach a particular method. These individuals have received extensive education and training to become experts in this field, providing you with the best opportunity to become educated in and comfortable with a method. The full course takes three to six months, during which the instructor assists couples in identifying, tracking, and determining fertility.

Contact the LiFE Office

We're happy to help in any way we can! Please don't hesistat to reach out!

Frequently Asked Questions

If a couple is fluent in both English and Spanish, we recommend directing them to a program in the language which they are MOST comfortable with.

Our office strives to keep costs low. The price of each program covers all necessary materials and program expenses.

We do not want finances to prevent anyone from preparing for this important sacrament. If a couple is experiencing financial difficulties, please email us for assistance at or call 815.399.4300

We recommend registering for diocesan marriage preparation 4-12 months prior to the wedding date.

Please keep in mind that couples must complete the online portion prior to attending the in person portion. Access to the online portion will be made available two weeks prior to the in person date.

  • January 29, 2022 – St. Patrick in St. Charles
  • February 26, 2022 – St. Rita in Rockford
  • March 26, 2022 – Christ the Teacher in Dekalb

No. Although they cover similar topics, the online only programs (SmartLoving-Engaged Online and Beloved:Finding Happiness in Marriage) do not use the same material as the Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation hybrid seminar.