What To Do Before the Marriage Retreat
Now that you have met with the couple it is time to reengage the couple to ensure they understand their responsibilities and are confidently moving forward with the sacramental preparation.
After the initial meeting, the next contact with the couple can be done by you or by another person designated by you; perhaps the deacon, marriage preparation coordinator or another member of your staff. If you intend another individual to connect with the couple make sure the couple is aware that you have designated someone else to assist with the preparation process. They should know the designated person’s name, position at the parish, email address and phone number.
The parish delegate should check back in with the couple within two to four weeks of the initial session. It is critical to reconnect within a month of the initial meeting. This check-in can be done through a personal email, a phone call or in person. There are multiple purposes for the check-in:
- Further the relationship between the couple and the parish marriage ministry personnel. The couple should be convinced that their relationship and pending marriage is highly valued by the Church.
- Answer any questions that they may have since the first meeting. This can be done by simply asking, “Since the first meeting, do you have any questions about the marriage preparation process?” Record their questions and make a plan to get the answers to them.
- Encourage the couple to schedule all three of the following: their FOCCUS Inventory the Natural Family Planning (NFP) education course and the Married Love: Two Becoming One (ML2B1) retreat. It is very important to remind them that scheduling these three steps of the preparation are their responsibility. For maximum benefit, all three should take place early in the preparation process and be completed two months prior to the actual wedding. Where possible, the FOCCUS should be completed before the ML2B1 retreat. Additionally, remind them that the NFP course takes almost two months to finish.
- Engage the couple in continued catechesis of marriage and family life using the questions and answers provided in the In Perfect Union booklet. (link to the on-line or instructions on how to purchase from OMFL).