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Marriage Preparation

A comprehensive program of Marriage Preparation, following USCCB guidelines.

Preparation for a Sacramental Marriage

The Church must therefore promote better and more intensive programs of marriage preparation, in order to eliminate, as far as possible, the difficulties that many married couples find themselves in, and even more to favor positively the establishing and maturing of successful marriages. Marriage preparation has to be seen and put into practice as a gradual and continuous process. It includes three main stages: remote, proximate, and immediate preparation. (Familiaris Consortio, 66)



The USCCB has produced a video about What Happens at a Catholic Wedding. This new video resource walks you through the Rite of Marriage, whether you’re marrying another Catholic, a baptized person who is not Catholic, or someone who is not baptized. It also answers several FAQs about Catholic weddings. Ideal for engaged couples, their families and anyone who is involved in Catholic marriage preparation.

Remote Preparation

Remote preparation for marriage begins in early childhood and continues through the teen years. Such preparation is accomplished through the examples of family life and through the Teaching Office of the Church. The primary responsibility for remote preparation lies within the context of the family and parish community. The Office for Marriage and Family Life seeks to support families and local parishes with age-appropriate formation.

Proximate Preparation 

Proximate preparation for marriage begins when a dating relationship becomes serious and marriage becomes a real possibility. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has set forth specific guidelines regarding marriage preparation programs, and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference has adapted those guidelines for particular use among the Dioceses of Wisconsin. The Office for Marriage and Family Life is responsible for insuring that proximate preparation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee meets these pastoral guidelines. A minimum of six months preparation is required for all marriages in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. 

As with all of the sacraments, preparation is essential if the sacrament is to have its full meaning and effect. The Marriage Preparation Program provides the opportunity for engaged couples to explore the meaning of a committed sacramental relationship and to explore strengths and limitations in a caring manner to solidify and deepen the future marriage relationship. As part of the preparation process, engaged couples have the option of attending a Marriage Preparation Conference, a Marriage Preparation Day, a Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat or Marriage Preparation for Remarriage. A description of each is below. Please choose one program that best fits your needs.

2018 Marriage Preparation Brochure

Site Location Directions

Marriage Preparation Conference

The Marriage Preparation Conference takes place on a Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at sites located throughout the archdiocese. The large venue conference style program includes keynote speakers on Theology of Marriage, Natural Family Planning and Living the Sacrament of Marriage.  In addition, engaged couples will have the opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as commitment, communication, finances and conflict resolution.  Presentations are provided by clergy, married couples and professional speakers. 

Marriage Preparation Day

The Marriage Preparation Day takes place on a Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at sites located throughout the archdiocese. Engaged Enrichment Days include presentations by married couples and clergy, who are usually from the host parish, on the topics of Theology of Marriage, Living the Sacrament of Marriage, commitment, natural family planning, communication, finance and conflict resolution.

Marriage Preparation for Remarriage

Marriage Preparation for Remarriage takes place on a Saturday from 9 am to 4 p.m. and is designed for couples entering a remarriage with Church approval.  The large venue conference style program includes keynote speakers on Theology of Marriage, Married Sexuality/NFP and Living the Sacrament of Marriage as well as afternoon workshops on “How Not to Bring Your First Marriage into Your Second  Marriage” and “Step Parenting/Blending Families”. 

Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat

A weekend to be shared by a couple in honest and intensive communication about their future lives together, discussing attitudes about every aspect of their relationship, including money, children, sexuality and natural family planning, and their roles in the church and society. For many couples--even couples who have been together for many years--it is a unique opportunity for completely open and honest communication, and often serves as a new foundation for a more enriching life together. Interfaith couples are very welcome to attend this weekend. All materials, 5 meals, and overnight lodging in shared rooms (brides will share with brides, grooms will share with grooms) is included in the fee. Sunday Mass will be celebrated. The retreat begins on Friday Evening at 7 p.m. and will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

What will you experience on a Catholic Engaged Encounter Retreat? - view this short video to find out

What to know more about Catholic Engaged Encounter's Mission and Vision? Please "click here" to find out more

2018 Dates:   April 20-22, 2018 and November 2-4, 2018

Place: Schoenstatt Retreat Center - Waukesha   Cost: $250.00 per couple

Contact:  John or Louise Vos  - Call (262) 439-8559 or by email  if you are interested in attending a Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend.

Immediate Preparation (Parish Based)

Immediate preparation for marriage takes place in the parish setting. While the Office for Marriage and Family Life does not directly engage in immediate preparation, we do support parishes and clergy with necessary resources.

FOCCUS Inventory for Marriage Preparation

Make your house - your family - another Nazareth where love, peace, joy and unity reign, for love begins at home!
~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta 


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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408