Office of Evangelization & Family Life Ministries

Marriage Preparation

Dear Newly Engaged Couple,


Congratulations on your engagement! It brings me great joy to see couples commit themselves to each other in marriage and it fills me with hope.

The process of engagement is one of discovery and preparation that is meant to help you build a solid foundation for your marriage, so that it lasts a lifetime.

For that reason, the Church has developed a set of classes to teach you about the joys and challenges of marriage as Christ intended it. These classes will explore the meaning and purpose of marriage, the gift of sexuality, natural family planning and provide you with tools to ensure a healthy, joy-filled marriage.

Before this preparation begins, I encourage you as your spiritual father to make your personal relationship with Christ the foundation of your relationship as a couple. If you love Christ, you will love each other better. And if you love each other well, your marriage will be a happy, joyful witness to the world.

May God the Father bless you during this time of preparation and fill you with his love, and may the Blessed Mother help you grow in intimacy with her son!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.



Marriage Preparation Steps

1. Call Your Parish (8-12 months before the wedding)
Call as soon as you get engaged! A member of the parish staff will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your wedding preparations as soon as possible.
2. Initial Meeting (8 months before the wedding)
At this meeting, you’ll learn about the preparation process for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the necessary paperwork for your marriage, and set your tentative wedding date.
3. FOCCUS Inventory (7-8 months before the wedding)
The FOCCUS Inventory provides you with a personalized profile of your relationship. Your parish will set up your inventory session and, upon completion, the follow-up sessions needed to review your results. These sessions aim to facilitate communication between you and your future spouse.
*Note: Some parishes use inventories other than FOCCUS
4. Marriage Prep Program (6 months before the wedding)
Various programs are available within the Archdiocese, all of which focus on the theology of Catholic marriage as well as important life skills. You’ll receive help identifying a prep program that best fits your needs. If your parish doesn’t offer a  program, see the list on this page under “Marriage Preparation Classes”.
5. Natural Family Planning  (5 months before the wedding)
NFP respects the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, and enriches the bond between husband and wife. This course gives couples a natural approach to  understanding the cycles of fertility and infertility. Course listings found here.
6. Final Meeting  (2 months before the wedding)
This meeting will review your previous preparation, complete all of your paperwork, and plan your wedding liturgy. You’re  getting close to celebrating this beautiful sacrament!
7. Sacrament of Reconciliation  (1 week before the wedding)
Catholics preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony  are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Reconciliation and the Eucharist are invaluable sources  of grace and healing. Celebrate this sacrament with your  spouse-to-be!


Archdiocesan Norms for Marriage Preparation


What God has joined”






Concerning Education in the Theology of the Body
and Natural Family Planning
by Archbishop Aquila


Interfaith and Mixed Marriages

Marriages in which the partners do not share the same religious beliefs and affiliations are considered “mixed” marriages, or ecumenical marriages. If the couple is a Catholic and a non-Christian, the marriage is considered interfaith. Mixed marriages also includes marriages in which the non-Catholic party has no religious persuasion. We know that ecumenical families are not identical; their lifestyles and faith choices are varied. The Catholic Church does try to support these couples to help them prepare to meet faith challenges with a spirit of holiness. Mixed religion couples can live out Christ’s call to be one and often experience a level of ecumenism more acutely.

For couples who are preparing for marriage, good-quality marriage preparation is essential in helping couples work through the questions  and challenges that will arise after they marry, specifically those in regard to raising children.

Baptized Catholics are required to marry according to “canonical form,” that is, in Catholic ceremonies. Normally, a mixed marriage is celebrated by a priest outside of Mass because both spouses so not share full communion with the Church. At times, serious reasons may present obstacles to observing the “canonical form” of marriage. In these cases, the Catholic spouse should seek a Dispensation From Form (permission to marry in a non-Catholic ceremony). The Church cannot recognize a non-Catholic ceremony, involving a Catholic party, without a dispensation. Subsequently, marrying according to canonical form (convalidation) remains possible for Catholics in this situation, even many years after a non-Catholic wedding.

See your parish priest or deacon for more information.

See also:



Have a question about Marriage?

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Papal Blessing

Looking for a unique and meaningful wedding gift? Consider giving a papal blessing parchment. Papal blessings come in the form of printed certificates or parchment with the name(s) of the recipient(s) and the occasion inscribed on them. Many people treasure these certificates as important symbols of sacraments and other special occasions. Applications are made directly to the Vatican so please allow 1-2 months from the time the application is received.

Papal Blessing Application

Marriage Preparation Classes

There are various programs available to you within the Archdiocese, all of which focus on the theology of Catholic marriage as well as important life skills. You will receive help in identifying a marriage preparation program that best fits your needs. Choose one of the following programs.  Please also keep in mind that this course completes only #4.  Marriage Prep Program of the preparation process.  Review our “Preparation For Holy Matrimony” brochure for more information.

Light of the World Marriage-Builder Weekend:
This weekend is an engaging mix of practical, spiritual, and theological presentations based on JPII’s Theology of the Body and the Catholic Church’s teachings led by a team of married couples and a priest.  Presentations are followed by group or couple time and activities to apply what you have learned.

1) 2018 May 18, 19, 20

Location:  Light of the World Catholic Church – Littleton
Cost: $150.00
Call:  303-973-3969 x244 (Sherwood Owens)
Marriage Builder Registration Brochure

God’s Plan for Marriage Prep Program:
These seminars explore God’s divine plan for marriage and also focus on how couples can build a strong foundation for their marriage. These classes meet on Thursday evenings 7:00-9:30pm at St. Catherine of Siena parish.

1) 2018 March 1, 8, 15, 22
2) 2018 May 3, 10, 17, 24
3) 2018 June 7, 14, 21, 28
4) 2018 September 6, 13, 20, 27
5) 2018 October 4, 11, 18, 25

To Register Call:  720-212-8303

Cost:  $180 (This includes study materials)

To Pay: Send check/money order to Colin Coleman.  In the memo, put “marriage seminar” and the month that you have selected. You will be sent a confirmation of registration by email.  Please send registration/payment to:
Deacon Colin Coleman
4201 Eliot St.
Denver, CO 80211

Catholic Marriage Prep. Com – Live Classes:
This program is taught by married couples, based on JPII’s Theology of the Body, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. This class has four evening sessions and is taught at the following locations.

St. John Paul II Center – Denver

1) 2018 February 28, March 7, 14, 21 (Wed)
2) 2018 May 8, 15, 22, 29 (Tues)
3) 2018 June 6, 13, 20, 27 (Wed)
4) 2018 September 4, 11, 18, 25 (Tues)
5) 2018 October 3, 10, 17, 24 (Wed)

Cost: $185
Call:  866-425-7193
To register for the live program:

Catholic Marriage Prep. Com – Online Program:
This program is available with pastor approval to couples who need the flexibility of an online program.  It is based on JPII’s Theology of the Body, and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Cost: $194
Call:  866-425-7193
To register for the online program:

St. Mary Parish Marriage Prep Retreat:

This weekend retreat helps couples grown in understanding of God’s plan for happiness in marriage.  Married mentor couples will witness to how God works in their marriages to help them work through hardship and find a greater joy in marriage.  We will also look at how living authentic sexuality fulfills the deepest desire of our hearts.  We will attend Mass together and have an opportunity for Confession.

Dates: twice a year in the spring and fall, check the website below for specific dates.

Cost:  $180 (per couple – includes 5 meals and all materials)
Location:  St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Littleton

For details, dates and to register visit

Catholic Engaged Encounter:
This weekend experience allows the engaged couples to identify and discuss several important topics to prepare for a healthy, Christ-centered marriage. The weekend retreat offers a deeper connection between the engaged couple while considering the needs and uniqueness of your particular relationship.

St. John Paul II Center – Denver

1) 2018  May 4, 5, 6

Cost:  $350 (includes: lodging, meals & materials)
Call:  Dan & Abby DeGennaro 303-898-1257

St. Thomas More Marriage Prep Retreat:
This weekend experience will allow couples preparing for marriage to fully understand the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church.  Couples will enjoy engaging presentations on topics related to God’s plan for marriage, and receive fundamental tools for building and sustaining a Christ-centered marriage.  The retreat weekend is hosted by married couples and clergy from the parish.  Couples will participate in small group discussion, prayer, Confession and fun activities. The weekend concludes with a private Mass and receiving a special blessing for all retreat participants.

1) 2018 August 17, 18
2) 2019  February 1, 2

$150 per couple (includes meals and all retreat materials)
Registration Form

Please contact Jodi Lieske for registration and more information.

Engaged Couples Retreat:
Friday evening and all day Saturday based on St. John Paul II “Theology of the Body.” Led by Msgr. Leone with his unique insight into married couples dynamic relationships. Presentations by married couples with ample time to discuss the Sacrament of Marriage with each other and other engaged couples. Opportunity for both Reconciliation and Mass.

1) 2018 April 27, 28

Cost:  $180 per couple (includes 4 meals and materials)
Registration Form

More information: