Marriage & Family Frequently Asked Questions

Marriage & Family Frequently Asked Questions2020-10-02T15:16:41-05:00
Do you have resources on Miscarriage?2022-04-06T13:09:19-05:00

Contact your Parish Priest and/or Physician as needed


Blessing of Parents After Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Order for the Naming and Commendation of an Infant who Died Before Birth – Archdiocese of St. Louis

Naming Ceremony of a Child Lost to Miscarriage or Stillbirth – Diocese of Fargo



Laura Kelly Fanucci at Mothering Spirit: “Mothering Spirit

ForYourMarriage Blog post: “Miscarriage

Facebook Group: “Mommy to a Little Saint

Hannah’s Hope Support Group: Contact Laura Fanucci at

Prenatal Bereavement Support Group: St. Cloud (MN) Hospital – Family Birthing Center 320-252-2700 ext. 53528, or Spiritual Care 320-251-2700, ext. 5462



A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life Is Expected to Be Brief – Amy Kuebelbeck and Deborah L. Davis

After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing & Hope – Karen Edmisten

Bittersweet…hellogoodbye A Resource in Planning Farewell Riturals When A Baby Dies (book) – available through the Office of Worship, 320-251-9068

Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb: Rosary Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss – Heidi Indahl

Coping With Pregnancy Loss – pamphlet available through the Office of Marriage & Family, call Sheila at 320-252-4721

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby – Deborah L. Davis

Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage – Laura and Franco Fanucci

Hiding in the Upper Room: How the Catholic Sacraments Healed Me from Child Loss – Kelly Breaux

Loving Baby Louie: Hope in the Midst of Grief – David and Colleen Currie

Waiting with Gabriel: A Story of Cherishing a Baby’s Brief Life – Amy Kuebelbeck



For guidance on how to care for the body of a child after a miscarriage or stillbirth (whether at home or at a medical facility), download this Care of Fetal Remains document.



NFP Only Physicians in the Diocese of St. Cloud (MN):

Decline of serum human chorionic gonadotropin and spontaneous complete abortion: defining the normal curve.

How Long Until hCG Falls to Zero After Miscarriage? Read More:



Elizabeth Ministry International

Heaven’s Gain Ministries:

Red Bird Ministries:

The Mysterious Miscarriage:

Behold Your Child Ministry:

Diocese of St. Cloud NFP:

Catholic Miscarriage Support:

Trappist Caskets:

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep:

Perinatal Hospice:


Prayerful reflections are available below for those who have been affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis.

Reflections for After Miscarriage
Reflections for After Stillbirth
Reflections for After Infant Loss
Reflections for After a Life-Limiting Prenatal Diagnosis
Reflections for Medical Professionals and Ministers



Loving Parents After Miscarriage o En Español

Solace and Strength in the Sorrow of Miscarriage

What do we need to do to get married in the Catholic church?2020-11-24T17:04:30-06:00

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.

Register early!


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.

When is the next Engaged Couples Retreat?2023-07-20T10:55:59-05:00

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. Click here for full details.

Schedule and Fee: Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. The $175 fee includes materials, snacks and noon meal. Mass is included and will fulfill our weekly obligation for Sunday liturgy.

Click here to register and pay online (St. Cloud location only) or download/print a registration form.

St. Cloud location

  • September 23, 2023, Sacred Heart Church, Sauk Rapids, MN
  • October 28, 2023, Sacred Heart Church, Sauk Rapids, MN
  • December 2, 2023, Sacred Heart Church, Sauk Rapids, MN
  • January 13, 2024, Location TBD
  • February 3, 2024, Location TBD
  • April 6, 2024, Location TBD
  • May 18, 2024, Location TBD
  • September 14, 2024, Location TBD
  • October 26, 2024, Location TBD
  • December 7, 2024, Location TBD

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, snacks and noon meal.

Click here to register and pay online (St. Cloud location only) or download/print a registration form.

St. Cloud location

  • October 7, 2023, Pastoral Center, St. Cloud, MN
  • March 23, 2024, Pastoral Center, St. Cloud, MN
  • October 5, 2024, Pastoral Center, St. Cloud, MN

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, snacks and noon meal.

Click here to register and pay online (St. Cloud location only) or download/print a registration form.

St. Cloud location

  • Noviembre 11, 2023, Pastoral Center, St. Cloud, MN
  • Marzo 16, 2024, Pastoral Center, St. Cloud, MN
  • Octubre 5, 2024, Pastoral Center, St. Cloud, MN

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 available in either of these locations. Please register for a retreat in St. Cloud.

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


February 2024 (TBD) – ($175)

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

Sauk Centre

March 2, 2024 – ($175)

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

Marriage Preparation Retreats/Seminars in Neighboring Dioceses:

Diocese of Bismarck

Diocese of Crookston

Diocese of Duluth

Diocese of Fargo

Diocese of New Ulm

Diocese of Winona

Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis

Catholic Engaged Encounter

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.

What is the Cohabitation Policy for the Diocese of St. Cloud?2022-06-30T12:09:33-05:00

Cohabitation Policy
October 9, 2020

1. The first meeting with the couple should be a general introduction without a discussion about cohabitation. That discussion should occur at a subsequent meeting with the priest or deacon.
2. The emphasis of the cohabitation meeting should be the blessings and opportunities of a good marriage.
3. The guidelines for the discussion about cohabitation are included in the Pre-Marriage Talking Points and accompanying materials.
4. The couple should be asked to live apart or with some other appropriate accommodation. They should be given opportunity, before a subsequent meeting with the priest or deacon, to discuss this issue privately with prayer.
5. Should a couple determine that they cannot discontinue cohabitation, the priest determines the next steps. Moving toward a Catholic marriage ceremony remains a possibility. The fact that the couple may choose to continue cohabitating should not necessarily become the basis for denying them the sacrament of Matrimony. Also, the ritual used is to be determined by the priest.
6. There are three goals for these discussions:
a. The couple would understand the value of chastity.
b. The couple and the pastor, priest, or deacon would have opportunities to listen to each other.
c. A relationship would be established between the priest or deacon and the couple.

Adopted on October 9th, 2020 by Bishop Donald Kettler

Do you have resources for Pornography?2020-10-02T15:13:40-05:00
A Pastoral Response to Pornography

At their November 2015 General Assembly, the U.S. bishops approved the formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” with an almost unanimous vote.

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, which directed the statement’s development, said: “My brother bishops’ approval of this statement shows our collective concern for the widespread problem of pornography in our culture today. As the statement says, virtually everyone is affected by pornography in some way. So many people –including within the Church– are in need of Christ’s abundant mercy and healing. My hope is that the statement can serve as a foundation and catalyst for increased pastoral attention to this challenge at the national and local level.”

“Create in Me a Clean Heart” is available in both English and Spanish. Please visit the USCCB’s website to read the document and find resources.


Freedom from Pornography

There are many good men and women in the Church who have struggled with pornography, and if you or a loved one have been effected by pornography, you are not alone! In 2014, the Barna Group conducted a survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults on pornography use and found that:

  • 37% of Christian men and 7% of Christian women viewed pornography several times a week or more
  • 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women use pornography once a month or more
  • 21% of Christian men either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted to pornography
  • 2014 Pornography Addiction Survey – conducted by Barna Group: The survey results are located at:
  • Covenant Eyes:
    • An Internet Accountability and Optional Internet Filtering Service. For all the computers, smartphones, and tablets you use, the service provides a report of the websites your kids visit, the search terms they use, and the YouTube videos they watch. Tailored to the individual family’s needs, it can even block the Internet completely at certain times a day.
    • Website has numerous articles regarding pornography.
  • Diocese of Arlington
    • Comprehensive website featuring their Bishop Paul Laverde’s pastoral letter on pornography, “Bought with a Price.” They list resources for men and women, internet filters and several links to other resources.
  • For Your Marriage from U.S. Bishops
  • Integrity Restored:
  • Kings Men
    • An organization that seeks to assist men in their task as leader, protector and provider. Their mission is “Under Christ the King’s universal call to serve, we as men, pledge to unite and build up other men in the mold of leader, protector, and provider through education, formation, healing, and action.” Part of this mission is to help men struggling with pornography.
  • Knights of Columbus and the “Fathers for Good” program
  • National Center on Sexual Exploitation
    • An organization that provides education and lobbying efforts to end pornography and sex trafficking from a political and secular point of view.
  • RECLAiM Sexual Health
    • An anonymous, online recovery program from pornography addiction and other unhealthy sexual behaviors. Combining the Brain Science of Change, insights from Theology of the Body and the full support of our faith. While rooted in Catholic teaching and understanding, this program is open to people of all faiths who desire to be whole again.
Where can I find out more about 40 Days For Life?2020-11-24T17:15:38-06:00

St. Cloud 40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion. The campaign mission is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 days of peaceful activism with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life.

Fall Campaign: Wednesday, September 23 – Sunday, November 1, 2020

We MUST exercise our right to assemble in peaceful, prayerful activism to END LEGALIZED ABORTION. Sign up can be on line or “if you have already established an hour in the past and want to do the same, please connect with your captain to sign up”.


Please join us in this peaceful way of activism. WE don’t have to worry about distancing as that can be easily done with 2-4 each hour on the whole sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.

Because of COVID-19, we are uncertain of having any rallies. We will update as we learn more.


7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at Planned Parenthood – 451 East St. Germain St., St. Cloud MN 56304

Email or call (320) 453-7592 with any questions/concerns or sign up for some time at our vigil

40 Days for Life campaigns consist of 40 days of prayer and fasting, community outreach and constant peaceful vigil in the public right-of-way outside abortion facilities. The volunteers who pray at these vigils have witnessed answers to their prayers.

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