Congratulations on Your Engagement!

We rejoice with you! We hope you will use this special time to deepen your relationship. A wedding is only for a day; a marriage is for a lifetime. Some people wish to marry at St. Pius X; others wish to be married elsewhere. Some mixed-religion couples wish to be married by a minister or rabbi, but want their marriage recognized by the Church. Whatever your circumstances, we wish to assist you in encountering Christ’s love and mercy which nourishes and transforms relationships.

The Diocese of San Diego requires all engaged couples to participate in an approved marriage preparation program. If you live outside the diocese, check with the staff at your home parish or home diocese about programs provided in your geographical area.

The priest or deacon who is officiating at your wedding is responsible to ensure that you complete all steps of preparation for your marriage. But please remember, it is the couple’s final responsibility to complete the required preparation program and submit all necessary documents (Please refer to this checklist). Monitor the status of your file throughout the process. For weddings outside the Diocese of San Diego, know when the physical file is sent and verify that it was received at the place of wedding. In doing so you will avoid a situation where the file may be lost in the mail. Canon Law is clear on this issue: No marriage file, no wedding ceremony!

Standard requirements for within the Diocese of San Diego include:

  • A recently issued Baptismal certificate from the church where you were baptized.
  • A letter of permission to marry from the parish where you are a registered member.
  • Completed and reviewed FOCCUS communication inventory.
  • A mentor couple who can support, encourage, and pray for the couple throughout and beyond the marriage preparation process. 
  • Certificate of completion of one or more Marriage Formation Programs/Retreats

The Marriage Preparation Process

1. Meet with your marriage formation minister

Please contact the parish center and schedule a meeting with a marriage ministry formator, usually a priest or deacon.

2. Click here to Enroll in Marriage Preparation

Note: Do not enroll until after your initial meeting with a marriage formation minister and he or she has accepted the responsibility of ensuring that you complete all steps of preparation for your marriage.

3. Take the FOCCUS Inventory

FOCCUS (Facilitate Open Caring Communication Understanding & Study) encourages couples to discuss a broad range of topics that can help them learn communication and conflict resolution skills. Provided to couples online.

4. Begin the Witness to Love mentoring process

You will choose a mentor couple who can support, encourage, and pray for you throughout and beyond the marriage preparation process. This is a mentor couple you both admire and see as a source of faith formation. This mentor couple gives you a concrete connection and integration into the parish. Through the sharing of the mentor couple’s own journey of love, you inherit a “lifeline“ of support in your commitment to Jesus Christ and His church. The marriage formation minister can help you select a mentor couple.

5. Participate in one or more of the following marriage formation programs and retreats.

  • Celebrating Your Love (CYL) Diocesan Day A one-day retreat held on Saturdays at locations throughout the Diocese. Explores Catholic teaching on marriage and provides an overview of practical and valuable skills for marriage. Click here for dates and registration.
  • Catholic Engaged Encounter This inspirational weekend retreat provides engaged couples valuable space and time to explore the depth of marriage. Married teams, partnered with a priest, guide couples on a journey of preparation for their upcoming sacrament. Through personal sharing and Catholic theology, the weekend challenges couples. They explore essential topics such as: communication, understanding “love” as a decision, true intimacy, forgiveness, and living as a sacrament in order to build a strong marriage foundation. Young civilly married couples (married less than 2-3 years) are encouraged to attend to explore the sacrament they will become with their marriage in the Catholic faith.” Click here for dates and to register. Para español, haga clic aquí.
  • A New Beginning For couples entering a second marriage after the divorce or death of a former spouse (only one party needs to have been previously married). Topics of discussion are geared towards blended families, children of a previous marriage and grieving loss. For retreat dates and locations, click here.
  • Worldwide Marriage Encounter Similar to Engaged Encounter, but for couples who have already been civilly married for more than a few years. Click here for dates and registration.

6. Complete one of the following Natural Family Planning (NFP) programs: 1) The Marriage Group 2) Couple to Couple League or 3) SymptoPro Online.

NFP is an umbrella term for modern, healthy, scientifically accurate, and reliable methods of fertility management used to monitor reproductive health as well as achieve, postpone, or avoid pregnancy. There are several available methods of NFP; none involve drugs or side effects. Couples find NFP to be reliable, easy to learn and simple to use. Many couples find that their marital bond is even stronger after learning how to use NFP.

Why NFP?

The Catholic Church teaches that marital intercourse is a sign and symbol of committed love and is most fully human only when it is open to the gift of life. Each time a couple makes love they are re-enacting their marriage vows as they give themselves freely, faithfully, fruitfully, and totally to one another. This belief needs to be coupled with the Church’s assertion that as stewards of God’s creation, we are responsible to care for the children we help to create. NFP respects the life giving (procreative) and love giving (unitive) aspects of intercourse by not separating the two, the way that contraception does. Contraception not only blocks conception, it also blocks husband and wife from completely bonding. Natural methods, while avoiding pregnancy by abstinence during the fertile time, are still open to the transmission of life. Through the use of NFP, Catholic couples can live out their marital vows in keeping with Church teaching.

7. Attend the Parish Financial Literacy Worshop for Couples

The workshop cover topics relevant to couples throughout their lifetime, from laying a premarital foundation for sound financial health to creating a financial legacy for future generations. Workshops provide couples with practical tools and do not involve any product sales.

The workshops help:

  • reduce stress in a relationship around the topic of money
  • create a foundation for a more sustainable relationship
  • explore faith and values and how they can enrich financial decision making.