Congratulations on your engagement and your decision to get married in the Church!
We are very excited for you and we wish you all God’s blessings as you prepare yourselves to enter into married life together. Your engagement period is a great time not only to prepare for your wedding date, but also for a life-long commitment. We want to help to prepare you to receive the Mystery of Crowning, and to build a happy long-lasting marriage. Below are the process and requirements to be married within the Maronite Catholic Church in the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn. Please keep in mind that these steps are the starting point of your journey together; preparing for marriage is more than meeting a set of requirements; it is meant to help couples understand more about one another and about the beautiful vision of marital love that is the heart of Christian marriage.
Steps to a Rewarding Marriage Preparation Experience
Step 1: Meet with Your Pastor Contact your parish as soon as possible--at least six months before your wedding date, preferably one year before your wedding. You will discuss the marriage preparation process with your pastor who will help determine canonical and civil requirements for marriage, and explore the possibility for the Sacrament of Chrismation if needed. You will also discuss any questions or concerns about a prior marriage, differences in faith, (Catholic and non-Catholic), or different ideas about marriage. Please remember, it is essential to have this meeting as early as possible to have enough time to resolve any particular issues, obtain necessary documents, and attend the marriage preparation programs offered. Step 2: FOCCUS Marriage Inventory Your parish may require you to complete the FOCCUS marriage preparation inventory. FOCCUS is a series of statements designed to assess your communication skills; it will provide you with a personalized profile of your relationship's strengths and weaknesses. The inventory is an important starting place for couples to discuss areas of importance in marriage, and serves as a map of the road ahead. FOCCUS is facilitated by a trained parish priest or a FOCCUS facilitator, and is completed at the parish. Inquire about this step when you meet with your pastor. For more information on FOCCUS, all clergy can contact: NY - Vivian Akel, FOCCUS Facilitator and Trainer at 917-825-3777 or firstname.lastname@example.org MA - Deacon Nadim and Marie Christine Daou FOCCUS Facilitator at 978-376-4898 or email@example.com Step 3: Attend the Pre-Cana Program in your parish or in the local Latin diocese The Marriage Preparation Program offers engaged couples a complete understanding of God's glorious plan for marriage and sexuality. This program explores Church teachings on marriage and what it means to live out the vows of matrimony--free, total, faithful, and fruitful love. It provides the engaged couples with the Christian witness of married people, to present an example of the Sacrament of Marriage as it is practically lived and to share their experiences on issues important to long-lasting marriages: self-awareness, communication, sexuality, and faith. For more information and videos, please refer to our resources page. Step 4: Learn Natural Family Planning One of the most important things you can do for your marriage is learning Natural Family Planning. Not only is it a morally acceptable way to plan your family, it also benefits a couple's relationship with a nearly non-existent divorce rate among NFP-practicing couples. Please click here to read about a great opportunity we are offering you to learn NFP from the comfort of your home. More information is available on our Natural Family Planning page. Step 5: Sacrament of Penance The Church invites all Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually prior to their marriage through the Sacrament of Penance/Confession. Haven't been to confession in awhile? Not to worry! Here is what you need: · An Examination of Conscience · A Practical Guide on How to Go to Confession Step 6: Meet with the priest to Discuss Wedding Ceremony During the marriage preparation seminars and during your other parish requirements, you will have additional meetings with the priest that will bless your marriage. You will have the opportunity to discuss the educational materials, finalize liturgical plans, and address any additional needs that you have.
The above process may vary slightly from parish to parish, so please check with your parish priest to find out their specific requirements. If you have any questions, or if there is any way I can help, don't hesitate to contact me, Marise Frangie, the Director of Office of Family and Sanctity of Life at 914-393-8907 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Be assured of our prayers for you, and may God bless you as you prepare for the rest of your lives together!