Marriage Preparation

"In our own time,
in a world often alien and even hostile to faith,
believing families are of primary importance
as centers of living, radiant faith.
For this reason the Second Vatican Council,
using an ancient expression, calls the family
the Ecclesia domestica (the Domestic Church)."  

(Lumen Gentium, 11)

Congratulations on your engagement!  Your time of engagement is an exciting time for you with many details to consider.  Of utmost importance is the opportunity to prepare yourself to receive this most beautiful sacrament in the Catholic Church.  


Listed below are some items pertaining to engaged couples desiring to be married in the Catholic Church within the Diocese of Santa Rosa. The newly updated Marriage Preparation Policy (as of April 22, 2019) includes many changes from the previous policy and will be obligatory within the Diocese of Santa Rosa after January 1, 2020.  Included here is the section of the Marriage Preparation Policy listing the the seven components for you to review regarding to the mariage preparation process.  There is also a Checklist for Engaged Couples to help you in the process. 

Click here to read the pages of the Marriage Preparation Policy explaining the seven components.  

Click here to review the Checklist for Engaged Couples.


The first step  is to contact your local parish and meet with the pastor.  He will be anxious to talk with you about the beauty of marriage and will also go over the marriage preparation components.  And he can any answer any questions you may have.  Please begin this process at least 9-12 months in advance of your planned wedding date.


►After meeting with the pastor of your local parish, the next component in the Marriage Preparation Process is to complete FOCCUS, the "pre-nuptial inventory."  Your pastor may be able to administer the inventory for you or may have you contact a qualified FOCCUS Facilitator.  The FOCCUS  inventory is available in Spanish and English.  For details about FOCCUS, go to: 


Following the FOCCUS inventory, the next component of the Marriage Preparation Process is to participate in the Witness to Love mentoring program.

What is Witness to LoveWitness to Love is a virtues-based, instructional model of marriage preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate an authentic dialogue about their relationship.

Witness to Love is unique in that the engaged couple chooses their own mentor couple to help guide them through the reality of Christian married life. In the sharing of the mentor couples’ own marriage journey, the engaged couple inherits a “lifeline” of support in their commitment to live their own marriage vows.

Your local pastor should be able to assist you in getting started in this marriage preparation component.  Witness to Love is available in English or Spanish.  For specific details, go to:


►An important component in the Marriage Preparation Process is to participate in a Marriage Formation Program.  Listed below are links to two of the four options available.  Click here to review the  "Marriage Formation Program Options."

  ♦  This is one of the four Marriage Formation Program Options.  It is an on-line program.  It is available in English  or Spanish. 


or ...

 ♦  Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends:  This is another option to fulfill the Marriage Formation Program component.           (
     Sacramento (       
           2019 weekend dates:  November 22-24
           2020 weekend dates:  January 3-5
                                                 March 13-15
                                                 May 22-24
     San Francisco (     
           2020 weekend dates:  January 25-26
                                                 March 21-22
                                                 April 25-26
                                                 May 16-17       
                                                June 27-28
     San Jose (in Spanish)  (
           2019 fechas:  Noviembre 16 & 17   
           2020 fechas:    14 y 15 de marzo
                                     6 y 7 de junio
                                    12 y 13 de septiembre
                                     7 y 8 de noviembre




Click here to read Bishop Vasa's "Decree" of the updated Marriage Preparation Policy.  

Click here to read the entire updated Marriage Preparation Policy.


An additional resource in Marriage Preparation:

For Your Marriage is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with resources for couples who are at all stages of relationship: dating, engaged, and married. It is designed to assist Catholic couples prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony and provide information for married couples on Catholic parenting, co-parenting, entering second marriages, and many other relational situations.