“The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution. God who created man out of love also calls him to love – the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1603, 1604
Congratulations on your engagement! The vocation of married love is a beautiful and challenging one that deserves special preparation. Pope Francis said, “Dear young people, don’t be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness.” Your marriage will not only bring you happiness and transform your own futures, but it will also have lasting effects on many others and on succeeding generations.
The initial process begins at the parish and involves paperwork, such as producing affidavits of freedom to marry from parents or others close to the couple as well as baptismal certificates issued within the last six months. An engaged couple must also complete a questionnaire, often called a premarital inventory, which helps a priest or pastoral minister to identify areas of disagreement that require further discussion.
Couples will then participate in the diocesan marriage preparation program, which has three main components: the Pre-Marriage Course online, a 6-session Beloved program with a mentor couple at your parish or a Beloved weekend retreat, and a Natural Family Planning introduction. You will receive a completion certificate for each component you attend.
These components can be done in any order and will be offered on a regular basis. This may be followed by one or more sessions with a priest or pastoral minister at your parish.
For a more detailed description of each component, please keep scrolling for more information.
The Pre-Marriage Course
This is a 5-week online course held 4 times a year via Zoom. There is also an option to complete a self-paced option.
Beloved retreat weekend
This is a weekend retreat for couples who are not participating in a mentor couple program at their parish. Retreats are offered 3 times a year either in Huntington or South Bend.
Natural Family Planning introduction
A Natural Family Planning overview will be held 8 times this year via Zoom. Each session will include the physiology of NFP, the Church’s teaching about sexuality and married love, the scientific and spiritual benefits of NFP, and testimonies from real local couples.
The Pre-Marriage Course
Weekly meetings via Zoom
The 5 session Pre-Marriage Course is designed to help engaged couples build a strong and loving life together. Each session has built-in time for you and your fiancé(e) to have a heart-to-heart conversation on the topic of the night. We’ll gather online once a week to hear from real couples and relationship experts from all around the world. Each person will need a copy of the Pre-Marriage Course journal, available for purchase at Churchsource or Amazon, linked below. Some parishes may have purchased journals in bulk so please check with your pastor if there are any copies available for you.
Session 1: Communication
Session 2: Conflict
Session 3: Commitment
Session 4: Connection
Session 5: Adventure
Upcoming Pre-Marriage Course Dates
January 5-February 9, 2023
Thursday evenings from 7-8:30 pm via Zoom
(Skipping January 19)
April 11-May 9, 2023
Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 pm via Zoom
Summer & fall dates coming soon
If you cannot attend any of these sessions, please register for the self-paced Pre-Marriage Course by clicking on the link below. And don’t forget your journals! These are important for the course.
If your parish does not offer a mentor couple program for the Beloved part of marriage preparation, please sign up for one of the retreat dates below. All retreats begin Friday evening after dinner at 7pm and go through Sunday afternoon at 2pm. The cost for each retreat is $100/couple in 2023 and includes all meals and lodging.
Registration for 2023 retreats is now open.
March 3-5 at Sacred Heart Parish Center, South Bend
May 26-28 at Sacred Heart Parish Center, South Bend
September 1-3 at St. Felix Catholic Center, Huntington
March Beloved retreat at Sacred Heart Parish Center
104 Sacred Heart Parish Center, Notre Dame, IN
EAST (Ironwood) and SOUTH (Twyckenham): Take Douglas Road east from the Twyckenham roundabout to the next roundabout. Follow directions to Moreau Drive (old Douglas Road). Drive west down to the Parish Center parking lot about a half mile. (No access to SR 933 from Moreau Drive)
WEST (SR 933): Turn east onto the new Douglas Road at the traffic light by Toll Road entrance. Bear right at the first and second roundabouts, the first continuing east on Douglas Road, the second heading off onto Moreau Drive (old Douglas Road). Go through the traffic light, and continue west about a half mile, nearly to the end of the road, and turn left into the last drive, where the parking lot for the Parish Center is located.
NORTH (Juniper): Go south on Juniper past the first exit for Douglas Road on the roundabout to the second (left/east) exit for Douglas Road. At the next roundabout, stay in the right lane, and veer right onto Moreau Drive (old Douglas Road). Continue driving west to the Parish Center parking lot, on your left about a half mile.
Cost is $100/couple and includes meals and lodging. Please contact your pastor if cost is an issue.
Linens and towels will be provided. There are men’s and women’s showers on each floor. All rooms are single occupancy.
Suggested packing list:
- Reusable water bottle
- Bible or other spiritual reading
- Shower shoes
- Warm clothes and shoes for outdoor walks
- Games or other activities for free time
Contact Lisa Everett at 574-386-2947 if you have questions or need help finding the parish center.