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Catholic Weddings

Private marriage prep classes?

Hi all!

I've recently started planning for my wedding next summer (God willing), and have realized there's a possible snag in doing marriage prep/pre-Cana/what have you. It appears that the usual marriage prep classes in our diocese are held only on Saturdays (there's also Engaged Encounter, but that's over the weekend too). The catch? I'm going to have a class this next semester that meets on Saturday mornings. :(   While doing marriage preparation is obviously more important in the big scheme of things than going to class, I also really don't want to miss class. I do have an obligation to my professor and fellow students to be there, and I'll miss a lot if I skip a meeting.

My mom mentioned that when she and my dad were married (also in New York, in the 80s), they arranged to have private meetings with a priest they knew instead of going to classes. Aside from not having to go on Saturdays, I also rather like the idea because it would presumably deal more with us specifically than a generic class. We're both pretty well informed about the Church's teaching on marriage (my fiancé is actually working towards a PhD in theology!) and so it'd be nice to have a bit more in-depth discussion than is probably possible with a large group.

So, has anyone here done this? Do dioceses usually allow engaged couples to take private instruction, how easy is it to set up something like that, and how much would one expect to compensate the priest for his time? 
-- July, 2011. --

Re: Private marriage prep classes?

  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Many priests offer several options for marriage prep...another option is a mentor couple. Each particular priest can offer what they choose, or what the diocese lays out as guidelines. He should work with you on it, but when you approach the priest to talk about this, keep in mind he is used to many couples wanting to do the bare minimum or get out of prep altogether...so I suggest saying that you are looking forward to marriage prep, and want to do the program, but perhaps if he could suggest a mentor couple for it instead, and possibly in addition, use the program that you miss on Saturday (assuming its something like a set video/workbook thing) with this couple.

    I guess my point is, offer to do more than the minimum.
  • edited December 2011
    We had private meetings with our priest, but that was really our only option.  We live in a small town and there just aren't enough couples to put a class together.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    our precana was meetings with the priest.  the initial meeting, plus 3 sessions.  he told us we were welcome to do any classes at a center that we wished to do, but that he didnt require it.
  • edited December 2011
    We had the option of evenings for the engaged instead of engaged encounter. It meets one night a week for six weeks. Maybe your diocese or parish offers that option for you.
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  • edited December 2011
    Talk to your priest and couples in your parish.  We had three private meetings with the priest, and then met weekly with a mentor couple for 6 weeks.  Try that.
  • edited December 2011
    I would talk to your priest of whoever coordinates weddings.  My FI and I met with the lady at our church this past weekend and our church gives 3 options:

    6 weeks of once per week meetings in a married couple's home in the church (the church prefers this method so you can get to know other young couples as well as established couples in the church)

    An Engaged Encounter weekend

    3 sessions with a marriage & family therapist specifically focusing on pre-marital counseling.  My FI and I would prefer to do this option but it is the last-ditch option for our church if the other two don't work out so we probably will go with one of the above options.
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