The right time to start marriage preparation is as soon as you are engaged (or considering engagement) but at least 6 months in advance of your wedding date. Formal preparation of engaged couples is essential for married life.
Working with the priest or deacon officiating at the wedding, couples are required to participate in one of the three marriage preparation programs:
- Pre-Cana Conferences - A priest/deacon and married couples lead gatherings of approximately 12 couples to reflect on such issues as communications, decision-making, intimacy, finances, and spirituality. A conference consists of two five-hour sessions, scheduled on consecutive weekends in March or October of each year.
- Sponsor Couple - St. Louis offers a process through which a selected married couple from the parish meets with an engaged couple over a period of several weeks. The setting is friendly and informal, while each engaged couple gets personal attention in reviewing the many facets of married life.
- Engaged Encounter - Retreats offering personal attention and guidance for approximately 20 couples are scheduled on various weekends at retreat houses throughout the Archdiocese. Each retreat runs from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon and includes presentations, discernment, and worship. For more information visit https://baltimore.engagedencounter.com and check with your officiating priest or deacon.
Other preparatory programs, such as those suited for individuals entering a second marriage, are also available from the Archdiocese of Baltimore website. The priest or deacon will discuss these programs with engaged couples to help them make any necessary arrangements. For more information call the Church office at (410) 531-6040.