Marriage Preparation Program

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Dear Friends in Christ,

Congratulations on your decision to marry in the Catholic Church. As you approach this special time in your lives you will become more and more aware that marriage is not just a “ceremony” but the beginning of a holy way of life! For those of us who are baptized, marriage is also a sacramental way of life given to us by Jesus Christ.

For Catholics and their spouses, marriage is a serious commitment—a covenant between them and God. We spend most of our lives educating ourselves to be prepared for life long work and career. So, in the Catholic Church, we must spend time educating others and ourselves about the many gifts from God, especially the holy gift of marriage.

The Diocese of Boise, under the spiritual leadership of Bishop Michael Driscoll, has established Marriage Preparation Guidelines to help you become aware of the responsibilities of Christian Marriage. These guidelines are not meant to hinder or burden you as a couple, but to help foster the necessary communication and understanding needed to make a life long commitment.

The Marriage Preparation Program established by Sacred Heart Church in collaboration with other parishes in the area has been designed to help you prepare for your marriage in the Church. The normal preparation period is 6 months.

There are three distinct stages during this period:

  1. The investigation stage is where you as a couple meet with the Marriage Preparation Coordinator and/or the priest or parish life director to help determine your readiness for marriage and to work out any concerns you or we may have. We will review Church guidelines, and “investigate” anything which may cause an unexpected delay in your planned date for marriage; i.e. previous marriages, conflicts in dates or times, no parish or church affiliation, etc…
  2. The next stage is the actual preparation period. In our parish you are asked to attend a series of classes OR an Engaged Encounter Weekend. Both the classes and the Engaged Encounter are offered at various times throughout the year. We encourage you, if possible, to do both.
  3. The final stage of preparation is the actual planning of the Wedding Liturgy/Ceremony. Because you have asked to be married in the Church, you need to know that there may be a few things that might be different from what you have envisioned for your “special day!” The Catholic Wedding Liturgy is a beautiful opportunity to express your faith and love with each other and with your Church. Each ceremony is as special as the couple chooses to make it. Normally, the priest or deacon requires a planning sheet and rehearsal so that he can conduct the ceremony as you wish. Further suggestions for scripture readings, music, prayers, and planning for Mass (if you desire) are all done during this final preparation stage.

Once all three stages are complete it is hoped that each couple is well on their way for a joy-filled life with each other. We feel that this preparation period strengthens the grace, the love, the hope, and the commitment needed as you begin this new way of life … for life!

To begin this process, or learn more about what you need to do for your marriage preparation, please contact the parish office. May God bless you as you grow in love with God and each other.