Marriage Preparation Information

The Diocese of Saint Cloud congratulates you on beginning your journey towards a sacramental marriage!

Your desire for a Christ-centered marriage will nurture and strengthen you, as a couple, in your love for each other and God. The preparation you will receive will challenge you to grow in your relationship – spiritually, physically and emotionally. Each phase of your preparation is designed for you to take home skills and tools that develops a faith-filled, lifelong commitment.

The Marriage Preparation Course is a requirement of all couples getting married in the Diocese of St. Cloud. The presentations and topics for discussion include: Faith, Handling Conflict, Problem Solving, Self-Awareness, Finances, Sexuality, Forgiveness, Natural Family Planning & Commitment. Those preparing for a second marriage will also cover the topic of Blended Families.

Register early!

What do we need to do to prepare for Marriage in the Catholic Church?

 

Contact your parish where you reside as soon as possible after your engagement and at least six months before your expected wedding day. Your parish priest or deacon will explain all of the requirements for your marriage in the Church.  All requirements should be met at least three (3) months prior to your wedding date.

Special circumstances should be addressed with the priest or deacon.  Please discuss if:

    • One or both of you have been married before, even civilly.
    • You are now civilly married to each other and wish to have your marriage validated (“blessed”) by the Catholic Church.
    • You are presently living together.
    • Either of you is a teenager.
    • A pregnancy is involved.

Caution:  To avoid disappointment, do not book your reception until you have a confirmed date from the Church.

 

Your priest or deacon will explain the required documentation you need to be married in the Church:

    • Baptismal Certificate obtained within the last six (6) months (no photocopies)
    • Pre-Nuptial Investigation for the bride and groom
    • Witness Questionnaires
    • Proper dispensation, permissions or delegations as needed
    • Civil marriage license

If either of you has been married before, even in a civil ceremony, please check with your priest regarding the possibility of annulment.  Take care to provide accurate information and documentation regarding any past marriage(s).  If you need to petition for  Declaration of Nullity, you will need the final decision before proceeding with the following steps.

 

The Fully Engaged Premarital Inventory addresses issues engaged couples need to consider for their marriage.  You will get all the information on how to take the inventory at your parish.

Once you have completed the inventory, you will meet with your parish priest, deacon or sponsor couple to discuss your confidential results.  The inventory is designed to reveal more about relationships, expectations, living a life of faith and entering into the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

 

Preparation is necessary for all the sacraments of the faith including the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.  Marriage Preparation is not just a “requirement” to be fulfilled before you can have a Church wedding.  Rather, the Church offers this time so you can step away from the details of the wedding day and focus, as a couple, on nurturing a lifetime commitment to each other with God.

For dates, locations and registration, see the tabs below and select the course that fits your individual situation.  Programs are available in English and Spanish.

Basic NFP concepts are included in all Engaged Couples Retreats in the Diocese of St. Cloud. A full course on NFP is highly recommended for engaged couples prior to marriage. NFP helps build the marriage relationship and strength of character necessary for a lifelong marriage. This modern method of family planning is in harmony with Church teaching and is a safe, healthy, effective and very low cost way to plan your family. More information on taking the additional classes will be provided at your Retreat.

 

As Catholics, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance or Confession) and Holy Eucharist should be vital aspects of your growth as a disciple of Christ and His Church.  Receiving these sacraments will help you prepare you for a more meaningful experience of your wedding liturgy and to enter into your marriage covenant with your future spouse and God.

Engaged Couples Retreat Dates & Information

The Engaged Couples Retreat is designed to prepare those entering into the Sacrament of Matrimony, either as beginning marriage or having their marriage blessed in the Catholic Church after a civil marriage. Marriage preparation must be completed at least three months before the date of the wedding celebration. It is recommended you attend the retreat 6 to 12 months before your wedding.

Schedule and Fee: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. The $175 fee includes materials, food and noon meal. Mass is included and will fulfill our weekly obligation for Sunday liturgy.

St. Cloud location

  • December 5, 2020 VIRTUAL, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; call the office with questions
  • January 9, 2021
  • February 6, 2021
  • April 17, 2021
  • May 15, 2021

Second Marriage Engaged Couples Retreat Dates & Information

The Second Marriage Engaged Couples Retreat is designed for couples preparing to marry after the death of a spouse or an annulment. Marriage preparation must be completed at least three months before the date of the wedding celebration. It is recommended you attend the retreat 6 to 12 months before your wedding.

Schedule and Fee: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The $175 fee includes materials, food and noon meal.

St. Cloud location

  • March 27, 2021

Register early!

Retreats are limited to 30 couples per date. Registration can be done online, by mail or in person. Full payment of $175 is required to reserve a date. Enclose payment of $175 to the Office of Marriage & Family or pay online. Submit only one registration. Multiple registrations will cancel each other. Click here to register and pay online (St. Cloud location only) or download/print a registration form.

Mail or drop off the completed form to:

Office of Marriage & Family
305 7th Avenue North, Suite 100
St. Cloud MN 56303

 

Weekend Confirmation:

    • Confirmation emailed AFTER registration information & payment are received.
    • Incomplete & unpaid registrations will not be processed.
    • Confirmation is sent electronically. Please monitor your e-mail as it may take up to 3 days before information is sent.
    • Contact the Office of Marriage & Family at (320) 258-7615 or jzylla@gw.stcdio.org with questions or concerns.

Cancellation – No Show Policy

    • A $25 non-refundable administrative fee is charged for canceling a scheduled Marriage Course.
    • No Show ~ No Refund. Couples will need to re-register and repay full course fee.

8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Retreat for Engaged Couples; Noon meal and snacks provided
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Second Marriage Retreat for Engaged Couples; Noon meal and snacks provided

Important Note:

To receive a certificate, participants are required to attend all scheduled sessions. If unable to attend the course in its entirety, please contact Jan with the Office of Marriage & Family as soon as possible (prior to the weekend) at (320) 258-7615.

When you are scheduling a weekend, please make sure you include setting aside some private time Saturday evening (a nice quiet meal, some time in prayer, and the opportunity to finish the discussions you had during the day).

Natural Family Planning

As a couple, watch the “Natural Family Planning Is…” video (found below) and complete the attached reflection questions. This video will give you some basic insights from a couple’s perspective on the beauty of the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the importance of being open to life. Our goal is to prepare you for the material presented at the weekend and deepen your understanding of your upcoming marriage in Christ. The video is approximately 30 minutes in length.

Food Shelf Donation

As Christian couples, we are called to share our time, talent and financial resources. The act of giving is a sign that you have formed a partnership with Christ in caring for your brothers and sisters. You are invited to bring a nonperishable food item or a cash/check donation for the Caritas Food Shelf . Click here for a list of suggested food items to donate.

Please wear comfortable clothing. You will do a fair amount of sitting, though breaks will be given throughout the day.

Directions and Location

The Second Marriage Engaged Couples Retreat is held at the Pastoral Center, 301 N 7th Ave, St Cloud, MN 56303

The Engaged Couples Retreat is held at the Pastoral Center, 301 N 7th Ave, St Cloud, MN 56303. Due to COVID19, however, the location may change. Check your confirmation emails from our office for the latest update.

Engaged Couples Retreats Outside of St. Cloud

To register for Perham or Sauk Centre, complete the following steps:

• Download/print a registration form and fill out.

• Make payment payable to the parish (Perham or Sauk Centre).


• Mail (
or drop off) the completed registration form and payment to the parish.

NOTE: Second marriage curriculum is not included. Please register for a retreat in St. Cloud.

Please DO NOT REGISTER or PAY ONLINE for a retreat in Perham or Sauk Centre. Registration is by mail or in person only.

Perham

January 29 – 30, 2021 – ($175)

St. Henry’s Parish (218) 346-4240
234 SW 2nd Ave
Perham, MN 56378

Sauk Centre

March 7 & 8, 2020 – ($175)

St. Paul’s Parish (320) 352-3502
304 Sinclair Lewis Ave
Sauk Centre MN 56378

These two options are approved by our diocese during the COVID19 pandemic:

Agape Catholic Marriage Preparation
https://www.catholicmarriageprep.com/
Fee: $194 – $245
Language: English, Spanish, French

Living Our Faith in Love
https://themarriagegroup.com/
Fee: $195
Languages: English, Captioning in English and Spanish

Please contact Patrick Flynn at pflynn@gw.stcdio.org or Janet Dusek at jdusek@gw.stcdio.org with any questions.

Spanish Speaking Marriage Preparation Retreat Dates & Information

The Spanish Speaking Marriage Preparation Retreats are designed to prepare those entering into the Sacrament of Matrimony, either as beginning marriage or having their marriage blessed in the Catholic Church after a civil marriage. It is recommended you attend the retreat 6 to 12 months before your wedding.

Schedule and Fee: Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The $110 fee includes materials, food and noon meal.

St. Cloud location

  • Marzo 20, 2021

• Registration can be done online, by mail or in person.
• Full payment of $110 is required to reserve a date.
Enclose payment of $110 to the Office of Marriage & Family or pay online.
• Submit only one registration. Multiple registrations will cancel each other.
Click here to register and pay online (St. Cloud location only) or download/print a registration form.

Mail or drop off the completed form to:

Office of Marriage & Family
305 7th Avenue North, Suite 100
St. Cloud MN 56303

Confirmation:

    • Is sent AFTER registration information & payment are received.
    • Incomplete & unpaid registrations will not be processed.
    • Confirmation is sent electronically. Please monitor your e-mail as it may take 1 to 3 days before you receive notice of which weekend you are registered for.

Contact the Office of Marriage & Family at (320) 252-4721 or jzylla@gw.stcdio.org with questions or concerns.

Cancellation – No Show Policy

    • A $50 non-refundable administrative fee is charged for canceling a scheduled Marriage Course.
    • No Show ~ No Refund. Couples will need to re-register and repay full course fee.

The Spanish Speaking Engaged Marriage Prep Retreat schedule:

Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The $110 fee includes refreshments, noon meal and materials.

When you are scheduling a retreat, please make sure you include setting aside some private time Saturday evening (a nice quiet meal, some time in prayer, and the opportunity to finish the discussions you had during the day).

Natural Family Planning

As a couple, watch the “Natural Family Planning Is…” video (found below) and complete the attached reflection questions. This video will give you some basic insights from a couple’s perspective on the beauty of the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the importance of being open to life. Our goal is to prepare you for the material presented at the weekend and deepen your understanding of your upcoming marriage in Christ. The video is approximately 30 minutes in length.

Food Shelf Donation

As Christian couples, we are called to share our time, talent and financial resources. The act of giving is a sign that you have formed a partnership with Christ in caring for your brothers and sisters. Therefore, you are invited to bring a nonperishable food item or a cash/check donation for the Caritas Food Shelf. Click here for a list of suggested food items to donate.

Please wear comfortable clothing. You will do a fair amount of sitting, though breaks will be given throughout the day.

Directions & Location

The Spanish Speaking Engaged Couples Retreat is held at the Pastoral Center located across the street from Cathedral High School.

NOTE: Cathedral High School has begun construction on a new academic building so a portion of the Pastoral Center parking lot is fenced off. Even though 7th Avenue North between 3rd and 4th streets is closed, sidewalks to the front entrance of the Pastoral Center are open.

Feel free to park in the lot off of 4th St. N. or in Cathedral’s parking lot off of 3rd St. N. (Refer to the Construction Map).

You may park in the lot off of 4th Street North — a “Marriage Course” sign will be posted at the entrance. Directions to the Pastoral Center can be found here.

Cancellation Policy

• $50 non-refundable administrative fee is charged for canceling a scheduled Engaged Couples Retreat.

• No Show ~ No Refund. Couples will need to re-register and repay full course fee.

• In case of an emergency, please call (320) 258-7611 and leave a message with your name and phone number. Every effort will be made to reschedule you in the next available marriage preparation course.

Bad Weather Policy

Inclement weather can occur anytime through the year. We make every attempt to hold the course if at all possible. We also want to ensure the safety of all who attend. In case of bad weather, we will do the following:

  • An e-mail notice (and/or phone calls) will be initiated approximately 12 to 24 hours prior to your scheduled weekend to inform you of a course cancellation or schedule change.
  • If there is no weather related message or contact, the course will go on as scheduled.
  • Please monitor your e-mails (or phone messages) frequently within this 24-hour period, especially during severe weather seasons and/or conditions!
  • If the weather conditions in your area are questionable and you are unable to travel, please leave a message with your name and phone number. Every effort will be made to reschedule you in the next available marriage preparation course. Call (320) 252-4721 (local calls) or (800) 624-9019 (outside of the St. Cloud area) to determine if the course will be held or to leave a message.

Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Engaged Couples Retreat Resources

As you discuss the Retreat and all that you learned, you may want to refer back to these as a refresher.

We cover many topics during our time together at the Retreat. PowerPoint presentations were created for some and are viewable by clicking each of the topics listed here – Communications, Self Awareness, Faith, Finances, Men’s Session, Women’s Session.