Catholic Weddings

Pre Cana question

My Fiance and I are both serious practicing Catholics. From the stories I've heard, a lot of the pre cana programs out there are geared more towards couples not active in their Catholic faith and/or who have not already discussed children, finances, etc.  Have any of you completed your pre cana?  What were your thoughts?  What, if anything, did the two of you do as a couple in addition to your pre cana to prepare for the sacrament?

Re: Pre Cana question

  • Tami87Tami87 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_pre-cana-question-4?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:b38a9c6f-8192-4888-aaf4-1738c68e63d0Post:4b191fc1-34dd-499a-bba2-f58fc4d3db53">Pre Cana question</a>:
    [QUOTE]My Fiance and I are both serious practicing Catholics. From the stories I've heard, a lot of the pre cana programs out there are geared more towards couples not active in their Catholic faith and/or who have not already discussed children, finances, etc.  Have any of you completed your pre cana?  What were your thoughts?  What, if anything, did the two of you do as a couple in addition to your pre cana to prepare for the sacrament?
    Posted by jenjlgsings[/QUOTE]

    We did the engagement encounter weekend and really enjoyed it. While there were certainly people there who were not as serious about their faith, it was really geared to give you and your FI lots of alone time to talk which I enjoyed. I really think it is one of those things that it is what you make of it. While we had discussed many of the topics presented before, I still feel like we got something out of the weekend and it was nice to get away and just focus on our relationship.

    In the past we had read Theology of the Body together when I was really struggling with the churches teaching on sexuality and trying to understand. There are many good books out there on this topic that would be good marriage prep if you haven't read them already, and I'm sure other ladies will chime in with suggestions for books. The other thing we have been doing to prepare to our marriage is to go to confession together once a month (probably should have been doing this all along.)
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  • The point of most Pre Cana programs is to make sure the couple has the "tough" discussions before they are married, because some of those conversations can be dealbreakers.  So yes, I know some people who say they didn't get anything out of their Pre Cana because of this or that reason.  However, I am a firm believer that it is what you make of it.  If you go in with the attitude of, "Ugh, I have to waste a weekend for this stupid marriage requirement," then you're not going to enjoy yourself too much (I'm not suggesting that's your attitude, just giving an example).  My husband and I had been together for six years when we did our EE weekend.  We'd had a LOT of discussions regarding our life together, but we still really enjoyed the opportunity to just sit down and be together and really, really talk.

    I hope it goes well for you!
    Anniversary

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  • Both of you can get spiritual directors...

    Read books together:
    Theology of the Body for beginners and Good news about sex and marriage by Christopher West

    5 love languages
    3 to get Married
    And if you want to tackle more heady stuff, Love and Responsibility by Karol Wotija (JPII)

    Get the video "God's plan for a joy filled marriage" from Ascension press and do it together

    Meet with a couple for marriage prep if you aren't doing that for your regular prep. Come up with questions for them to learn from them

    Ask your bridal party to pray for you, and then get together with them several times for prayer evenings for everyone's needs, but especially for your marriage formation, discernment, etc

    Read scripture together and pray together. 


  • our priest did our pre-cana with us, just 3 sessions.  we did not have to go to a class or a weekend.  im not sure if this is his policy, or if its what he did for us given that we were regular active parishioners and life long catholics.
  • egm900egm900 member
    500 Comments
    I agree that Pre-Cana is what you make of it.  We had to do the FOCCUS test, NFP, and either the weekend retreat or evenings for the engaged.  We had already discussed the topics covered by the FOCCUS test, but the priest still found a lot for us to discuss.  We start Evenings for the Engaged next week, which will be us and our mentor couple meeting for an hour to two hours every other week six times.  Ask your priest for recommended reading, he may be able to point you in a certain direction that he believes will help you and your FI specifically.
  • Thanks everyone!
    I certainly wouldn't go in with a "this is a waste of time" attitude.  I know the Church in all its wisdom has these programs in place for a reason.  :)  I just want to make sure we are making the most of our preparation time.  We've each read Christopher West's book on our own, but it is probably a good idea to read it again together!
    I had him read the love languages book when we first started dating.  That book is sooooo good for any relationship.
    We do pray daily together but I wish we did more with scripture.  Does anyone have any suggestions for good bible studies or devotionals for marriage prep?
  • "Does anyone have any suggestions for good bible studies or devotionals for marriage prep?"

    My finance and I started praying the Divine Office together when we see each other. And of course we go to Mass together. We also meet monthly with our parish priest to talk and we did the pre-marital inventory. We had already talked about most of the engaged encounter material and also thought it was geared more towards non-practicing/lax Catholics. 
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  • I didn't feel like it was for those who are not active in their faith. At the time we took the classes, we were also in RCIA, so we were very much submerged in learning the faith. The couples in our group were all lifelong Catholics. They were all participating members in their parishes.

    I don't think the program is geared towards those who aren't serious. I didn't get that at all from my classes, so I'm not exactly sure why you've heard that, but I think there's something missing there. I felt the classes were designed to help couples with the transition from being a boyfriend/girlfriend to being a married unit and everything that goes along with that.

    Everyone in our group either lived together, or were in the process of moving in together, so finances and the more domesticated activities we did were helpful. I didn't really think about both of our pensions and 401k's being our income years from now until the class. My FI doesn't have either and I have both and then some, so it's something we were opened up to and something we plan on starting for him after we get married.

    I think the classes are what you make of them. Everyone in my class was really nice and supportive of one another, and the married couples we were assigned to all had different backgrounds and advice for us; they were all really helpful as well.

    I think if you walk in thinking you don't need this because you are a serious Catholic, than you are missing the point of the class. You may be a serious Catholic, but you are not a married Catholic. This class is supposed to teach you about the new aspect of your life. You need to be open to it and not look at it as something you don't need to do because you already know the Church and how it operates. It has zero to do with that. We never discussed how the Church handles divorce, or any other rules, and one of our married couples had been previously divorced, but because of their faith, they were brought back together and remarried each other. It was a beatiful story.

    Please don't go in there with the attitude that you are too good, or too serious in your faith for this. It's definitely not what it is about.

    Also, in our diocese, the class is a requirement before they will perform the sacrament. The only way to not do it is if it's due to military. Otherwise, it doesn't matter what kind of Catholic you are, you need to be there.
  • Eliz77Eliz77 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited June 2012
    Well, I won't say I thought it was a waste of time, but we didn't get much out of it except pretty much confirm we are on the same page, which we already knew. Most of what was discussed we had already talked over many times. We live together and already share finances, bills, etc. I can see how this weekend would be helpful to younger couples, or those not as familiar with the Catholic faith. My FI is not a practicing Catholic and although he was baptized, would never call himself a Catholic. But we have discussed many relative topics in depth, both in what we agree/disagree with the Church on, various aspects of the Ceremony, and what being Catholic will mean for our future children, among other topics.

    It was nice to set aside a weekend that was all about us and being around other couples with the same goal.

    I enjoyed the couple who hosted the 1st day. They were very "real" and had a great sense of connecting with the group. They shared a lot of personal stories related to whatever topic they were covering, and that made day 1 more enjoyable and had us discussing more about family topics. Day 2 was a bit odd, but it could have been just due to a long weekend. In hindsight, we may have gotten more out of it had we done two different weekends, but I think it was also had to do with the couple who hosted.
    ~ES~
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