Pre Cana - March 11, 2023
You have made the decision to get married; you are making plans for your wedding day and those plans are important, but remember a wedding is a day; a marriage is a lifetime. The Catholic Church encourages you to take very seriously the time of preparation leading up to that day when you will enter into the Sacrament of Matrimony.
If you are not already doing so, be sure you attend Mass together as a couple. Look upon the Church as your Mother of grace and guide to everlasting supernatural life on your journey toward one of the most important days in your life; the day you will stand at the altar of God and commit your lives to each other "until death do you part."
Marriage preparation is a process that is designed to help you assess your readiness for marriage, encourage discussion between you and your future spouse, and assist in planning your wedding ceremony.
These are the7 steps to getting married in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
1. THE INITIAL INTERVIEW
At your initial interview, you will meet with the priest, deacon, or pastoral minister who will assist you in preparing for your wedding. This meeting should accomplish the following:
Your marriage application form and basic data sheet should be completed
The required documentation should be explained
An official record of Baptism
Proof of your freedom to marry
Wedding license (good for 60 days)
Your wedding date should be set in the parish calendar
You should receive guidelines and instructions for preparing your wedding ceremony
2. THE MARRIAGE INVENTORY
During this step of the marriage preparation process, you are invited to participate in a FOCCUS marriage inventory. This assessment will help you to evaluate your relationship as a couple, recognize your strengths, and explore issues that require more discussion.
The FOCCUS assessment instrument is taken online after you have paid your marriage preparation fees and are sent a user id and password. When you have completed the assessment you will need to schedule multiple review sessions with the priest, deacon or pastoral minister who is assisting you in your marriage preparation to discuss the results.
3. THE FORMAL MARRIAGE PREPARATION PROGRAM
This step involves attending a formal marriage preparation program. This may be a one-day PreCana program, a Weekend for the Engaged experience, a Re-marriage PreCana day or another approved marriage preparation program.
When we think about it, each of the Sacraments in the life of the Church has a period of preparation prior to anyone receiving or participating in them. Marriage is no different, therefore PreCana sessions are about becoming educated and prepared for receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. Presentations are given by clergy, professionals, and married couples followed by opportunities for you to share your feelings on specific topics with your fiancé(e).
4. NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING CLASSES
Throughout your married life situations and times may arise where it is important for you and your spouse to be able to postpone accepting another child into your family. If that is the case there is only one morally acceptable way to space or postpone, pregnancies for couples. The set of knowledge that enables couples to make the appropriate decision in accordance with God's will for their life is called Natural Family Planning (NFP).
In the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, there are various models of NFP that you can choose to learn. Each method of NFP is completely reliable and when used consistently and accurately all methods can achieve 99% effectiveness ratings for postponing pregnancy. The following methods break down into three different types:
Those that make use of cervical mucus observations and daily basal body temperature readings.
Those that make use of cervical mucus observations and the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor.
Those that make use of cervical mucus observations.
Not only are NFP Methods suitable for postponing pregnancy they are crucially important for helping couples to achieve pregnancy as well.
In short, there is no other way for married couples to be able to participate with God's creative will in their life while maintaining the two inseparable aspects of marital love -which are Babies and Bonding. In other words, to use anything other than NFP in your marriage undermines the very sacramental life you asked to receive and participate in during your wedding Mass/ceremony. This is why it is vital that NFP training is a stage in your marriage preparation process. It is best that you complete your classes at least three months prior to your wedding date so that you can be confidently familiar with the details of your chosen method well in advance of actually living your daily married life.
5. THE PRECANA WORKSHOPS
You are encouraged to attend the continuing education workshops designed to provide you some in-depth and practical ideas for how to live out the sacrament of marriage. The workshops cover three of the common problem areas in marriage: finances, sexuality and communication. Attendance is optional but the cost of all three workshops is covered in your PreCana fee.
6. THE LITURGICAL PLANNING PROCESS
After completion of the formal marriage preparation program, you will meet with the assisting priest or deacon to plan your wedding ceremony. It is important to remember that a wedding ceremony is a public commitment taking place within an act of worship. Your priest or deacon will assist you in choosing appropriate scripture readings and music selections for this sacred celebration.
7. THE CELEBRATION OF THE WEDDING
The wedding rehearsal is generally scheduled the evening before the wedding. Those who have an active role in the ceremony are given the opportunity to make sure they know when and where they are to perform their responsibilities during the liturgy.
The celebration of the wedding itself is the final step in the marriage preparation process. Married life itself is a continuation, but a unique journey beyond your marriage preparations. Your big day is finally here, you have taken your preparation seriously and you are now ready for this important step in your life. Seek God's grace, mercy, forgiveness, peace, and guidance throughout the rest of your days together and enjoy the wonderful day of your wedding with your friends and family, no matter if it is rain or shine!