Welcome To Marriage Preparation

See Covenant of Love revised policy process here.

A Message from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

Congratulations on being called to the Sacrament of Marriage! Marriage is the center of Catholic family life and the vocation through which most people live out their baptismal commitment. Cultural influences today can work against personal development for healthy Christian marriage and a lifetime commitment. Society expects marriages to fail, but the Catholic Church wants yours to succeed. The Canon Law of the Catholic Church calls every diocese to prepare couples as well as possible for entering and living out the sacrament of marriage. Among the key elements of effective and successful marriage preparation are an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a couple, followed by a strong educational program. I believe our diocesan marriage preparation program, the steps of which are outlined on this site, will provide you with the spiritual resources and practical tools you need for a strong and healthy marriage, not only as newlyweds, but for a lifetime.

Yours In Christ,
Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix

Marriage Life Skills Training

The following educational programs can help you obtain the practical marriage building skills you need to fulfill Step 3. Several options for this step are provided by the parish and/or Diocese of Phoenix.

Parish Course - Some parishes offer their own Marriage Life Skills course, with mentor couples from the parish. This course, over several meetings, will give you and your fiancée sound practical guidance and opportunities in the practical areas of marriage. A great benefit of this program is the opportunity to get to know and bounce ideas off of other couples on the way to marriage with you as well as wise couples who are already married at different stages of their marriage.

Love for Life Engaged Weekend - This Diocesan Friday night/Saturday course is offered at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in downtown Phoenix. Similar in its topics, and with expert presenters, this weekend provides a comprehensive and focused opportunity to enter honest and intense dialogue with your fiancée. Registration available online.

Engaged Encounter - This full Saturday/Sunday overnight weekend provides another wonderful retreat-like opportunity to engage in dialogue and hear from wise married couples living their sacrament. Topics are similar to the other options.

God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage

God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage offers a refreshing, liberating vision of marriage and sexuality-one that will help you fully embrace God's glorious plan for you as a couple. This is Step 4 in the Marriage Preparation process.

God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage Seminars are offered at various locations throughout the diocese, either on a full-Saturday timeframe or divided into two weeknights, as your planning allows.

Natural Family Planning

Modern Natural Family Planning is 100% natural and up to 99% effective as a family planning method. You will also learn how NFP benefits a couple's relationship, one indicator of which is the nearly non-existent divorce rate among NFP-practicing couples. The diocese has NFP instructors available in a variety of methods. This course is divided into 3 to 4 two-hour sessions over the course of three months, to allow for a practicum in the method that will complete step 5 in the marriage preparation process. Offered in many places around the diocese.