Welcome to the Marriage Preparation process
for the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese!
This sacramental preparation is an invitation
to continue your faith journey and to grow in relationship
with God and each other.
The Catholic Church’s hope for engaged couples
is a strong, faith-filled marriage.
1. Meet with the priest or deacon
Contact the priest or deacon who will witness your marriage AS SOON AS YOU BECOME ENGAGED or at least nine months before your proposed wedding date. You will be meeting with your priest/deacon several times.
2. Attend marriage preparation
Prepare! Marriage Preparation programs in the Catholic Church should be done 6-12 months before your wedding. You will learn about communication skills, finances, sexuality, Natural Family Planning, spirituality, becoming a “domestic church,” and many other helpful and important topics. You will also receive information on planning the wedding ceremony.
Your Options – All fulfill the Altoona-Johnstown diocesan requirements. You only need to attend one option that suits your schedule.
√ Marriage Preparation Course
The Marriage Preparation Course is an invaluable series of three 2-1/2 hour sessions designed to help engaged couples develop a better understanding of the sacrament; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life; and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple. Led by married couples and a priest/deacon. Held in various locations and dates thoughout the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.
√ Engaged Couples Weekend
A weekend away with plenty of time together to develop a better understanding of the sacrament; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life; and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple. The weekend gives you an opportunity to look at your commitment to each other in a deeper way as you prepare for a holy and lasting marriage. Informal presentations by a team which includes married couples. A great wedding gift from parents or friends. No weekends are available in our diocese at this time. Weekends in other dioceses are acceptable Marriage Preparation in our diocese. Check engagedencounter.org for dates and locations.
√ Sponsor Couple
Parish based program in which an engaged couple meets with a married couple from the parish for a series of meetings. The Sponsor Couple shares their personal experience of marriage with the engaged couple through a one-couple to one-couple approach. Arrange this through your parish, if they offer it.
√ Remarriage Sponsor Couple
The issues facing couples entering a second marriage when one or both have been married before are more complex than first marriages. Preparation should be more comprehensive, therefore we offer a Remarriage Sponsor Couple program. To register, email the Family Life Office email@example.com or call 814.886.5551.
3. Take FOCCUS (Pre-Marital Inventory)
Your priest, deacon, or someone assigned by him will give you instructions on taking this inventory online and will discuss the results with you. FOCCUS is NOT a test. It’s a discussion tool to help you communicate about the areas of your relationship that are strong and those that need work.
Whether you’re engaged, married, or seriously dating, this website is the right place for help in living a happy and holy married life.
Our Diocesan Family rejoices with you as you become husband and wife, united in Christ. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact your parish priest/deacon or the Diocesan Family Life Office, 5379 Portage St., Lilly, PA 15938; 814.886.5551; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natural Family Planning
Your marriage is the most important relationship you will have. It needs nurturing, commitment, love and a desire to work together to make it succeed for both of you. Those are the very qualities exercised when a couples uses natural family planning. NFP will enhance your relationship through open, intimate communication, commitment to a common ideal, a deeper respect for each other, creative expression of your love, and thorough understanding of your sexuality.
Natural Family Planning involves the use of the Ovualtion Method which is not the rhythm method, nor does it involve temperature taking. It is an easy addition to your lifestyle without complicated procedures. The woman learns awareness of her bodily signs of fertility or infertility when couples are properly taught and the method is used correctly.