Congratulations on Your Engagement!
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have promised your life and love to a special person that you now joyfully call your fiancé. This is a beautiful and exciting time, one to be cherished. Your engagement is not just a time to prepare for a single day in your lives – your wedding day – it is a preparation for together saying “yes” to your vocation to marriage for all the days of the rest of your lives.
By seeking to be married in the Catholic Church, you are publicly acknowledging that you believe there is something more to marriage than a paper contract legally binding you together. In fact, Christian marriage “implies a response to God’s vocation and the acceptance of the mission to be a sign of God’s love for all the members of the human family, by partaking in the definitive covenant of Christ with the Church. Therefore, spouses become cooperators with the Creator and Savior in the gift of love and life. Hence Christian marriage preparation can be described as a journey of faith which does not end with the celebration of marriage but continues throughout family life.”
During your journey of faith over the coming months, you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with many people and utilize a variety of resources, all meant to help you grow into a deeper understanding of marriage, faith and ultimately love for your future spouse. In addition to your priest, you may meet with a deacon, marriage sponsor couple or other individuals. You may be given handouts, websites, books or videos.
It is the prayer of many that your hearts and minds will be open to the work of the Holy Spirit during this preparation time. May you be drawn closer to the heart of Jesus and be engulfed in His love as you spend time with Him in prayer, spend time with one another, meet with others and reflect on the materials presented to you. At least six months of preparation is required, but you may find you need more time to grow in your faith or to grow together. This is why it may be wise to wait to decide on a date for your wedding until you have spent some time in preparation.
As you read through the rest of this guide you will find sections on various aspects of marriage preparation. Many of these sections has a corresponding section on the “Marriage Preparation” page of the Office of Marriage & Family website at www.sfcatholic.org/FamilyLife. There you will find all of the resources listed in this booklet, along with additional articles, videos, brochures, and more, to support you during this preparation time and into your married life.
Please review the content listed below:
1. Do You Come Freely, totally, Faithfully & fruitfully?
2. Three to Get Married – Marriage as Sacrament
3. So You Think You’ve Found Mr./Mrs. Right, But Have You Asked God?
4. God’s Green Plan for Your Family – Natural Family Planning
5. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder – Living Together Before Marriage
6. Special Situations
7. Marriage Sponsor Couples
8. FOCCUS Personal Inventory
9. Area Marriage Preparation Programs
10. Respecting the Sacrament of Matrimony