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 Engaged Couples Retreat 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.
Step 1: Schedule a Meeting with your parish priest or deacon
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.
Step 2: Prepare Documentation
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.
Step 3: Take Premarital Inventory
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.
Step 4: Schedule a Retreat
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.
Step 5: Follow-up with Natural Family Planning Classes
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.
Step 6: Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
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.