Formal preparation of engaged couples is essential for married life. In addition to working with the priest or deacon officiating at the wedding, couples participate in one of the three marriage preparation programs:
- Marriage Preparation Conferences - Married couples and a priest lead large group gatherings of approximately 20 couples to reflect on such issues as communications, decision-making, sexuality, and spirituality. A conference consists of two four-hour sessions, scheduled on consecutive weekends in February/March or October of each year.
- Sponsor Couple - St. Louis offers a process through which a selected married couple from the parish meets with an engaged couple over a period of several weeks. The setting is friendly and informal, while each engaged couple gets personal attention in reviewing the many facets of married life.
- Engaged Encounter - Retreats offering personal attention and guidance for approximately 20 couples are scheduled on various weekends at retreat houses throughout the Archdiocese. Each retreat runs from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon and includes presentations, discernment, and worship. Check with your officiating clergy for more information.
Other preparatory programs, such as those suited for individuals entering a second marriage, are also available from the Archdiocese. The priest or deacon will discuss these programs with engaged couples to help them make any necessary arrangements.