Congratulations on your engagement!

Now find out how to prepare for the sacrament of matrimony in the Catholic Church.

“Without God’s help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them ‘in the beginning.’” Catechism #1608

Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another. With the unique sacrament of matrimony, you are about to give to each other the complete gift of yourselves.

To help you prepare to make and receive this gift, the archdiocese has a several-step process. We recommend that you allow six months to journey through all the steps.

Contact your local Catholic parish and let them know about your engagement. Often, at this point, you will meet with the priest, deacon, or the marriage preparation coordinator to complete some preliminary paperwork.

Take the FOCCUS, PREPARE-ENRICH, or FACET inventory. These inventories are intended to identify relationship strengths and growth areas to help tailor your marriage preparation to your specific situation. Often this inventory can be taken online. Discuss with your parish whether it is to be done at the parish or through the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Sign up for a marriage preparation program. Before signing up for a program ensure it will be accepted by your local parish because different parishes offer different programs.

  • Sponsor Couples: A married couple from your parish is trained to guide you through your preparation course, using a Pre-marriage Discussion Inventory to facilitate communication and understanding. You will meet with the sponsor couple at their home. Register directly with your parish.
  • Group-Style “Pre-Cana” Conferences: These workshop-style group programs are open to any couple. You will complete a pre-marriage discussion inventory to facilitate communication and understanding. Below are the Archdiocesan Pre- Cana programs currently open. Your parish also may have a Pre-Cana program not listed here. To see available dates and register for classes CLICK HERE.
  • Engaged Encounter
  • Three to Get Married Program at Our Lady of Bethesda
  • Remarriage preparation classesFor information regarding classes and to register CLICK HERE

Attend a Natural Family Planning class. There are several different types of Natural Family Planning. To learn more and sign up for classes CLICK HERE.

Maintain contact with your local parish throughout the whole process. This will ensure that you are able to schedule any follow-up meetings with your celebrant, ensure the submission all of necessary documents, and everything is in order for the liturgy (readings, music, etc.).

Actively participate in your Catholic faith. For example, attend Sunday Mass, pray regularly with your fiancé, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and spend time with the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration.

Consider attending a couples retreat.  The Archdiocese offers a couples retreat several times a year.  It can be a great opportunity to spiritually prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage.  Learn more HERE.

If you have questions about the process or any special circumstances, please contact the Office of Family, Youth and Young Adult Ministry at 410-547-5405. 


Other areas of interest for engaged couples

Find Your Parish

Register for Pre-Cana

Engaged Encounter

Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness

GIVEN: Unveiling the Mystery of Marriage