Marriage Issues & Preparation
For more information contact
Deacon Ed Mirasol: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Diocese of Phoenix requires a minimum of nine months of preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Our Lady of the Valley and Saint Raphael parishes follow the Covenant of Love marriage preparation policy mandated by the Diocese of Phoenix.
First Things First
Before meeting with the parish marriage preparation minister please review the preliminary requirements.
The couple must be living in the boundaries and be registered at either Our Lady of the Valley or Saint Raphael and be seen as active parishioners. If they are not registered, they must register and wait three months before beginning preparation.
If living outside of parish boundaries the couple must bring a letter of permission from the parish where they are registered or register at either Our Lady of the Valley or Saint Raphael.
Attendance at Mass regularly and participating in activities that enrich their faith life as husband and wife is a prerequisite.
Obtain new copies, no more than six months old, of baptismal and sacramental records.
If either party has been previously married and divorced they must provide proof of a Decree of Nullity. If this has not been completed, that process must be completed before proceeding. Go to the page Securing a Decree of Nullity for Previous Marriages for information on this process.
The Preparation Process
After reviewing the above eligibility and securing the required documents,
contact the parish Marriage Preparation Minister at the parish office to complete preparation.
The Covenant of Love marriage preparation policy suggests the following timeline.
Step One: The couple will meet with Marriage Preparation Minister to complete the Prenuptial File and the FOCCUS inventory. Additional preparation steps and information to complete them are reviewed. Over the course of the first month results of the FOCCUS inventory are reviewed with the couple.
Step Two: During the first three months, and as soon as practical, the couple attends one of several seminars such as the Married Life Skills Course, Love for Life, Engaged Encounter, Unitas or other approved program. Information will be supplied at the first meeting.
Step Three: The couple completes the diocesan full day seminar titled, God’s Plan for Joy Filled Marriage, which includes a one hour Natural Family Planning Introduction. This should be scheduled as soon as practical after completing step two.
Step Four: After attending God’s Plan for a Joy Filled Marriage, the couple is required to attend the full Natural Family Planning Course. This requires four meetings with certified instructors over ten to twelve weeks in order to see cycle patterns. This is done and during months three to six.
Step Five: During the seventh month the couple completes other details of preparations such as Affidavits of Freedom to Marry, selection of readings, select music and finalize liturgy elements.
Step Six: At the final meeting with Marriage Preparation Minister certificates of attendance and affidavits of freedom to marry are gathered and the elements of the ceremony are reviewed. Rehearsal date and time are agreed upon.
Step Seven: The couple comes to the Sacrament of Confession in preparation for the celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony during the eighth month.
Step Eight: Celebration of Sacrament of Matrimony.