Blessed Sacrament’s Marriage Preparation Ministry allows married couples to share the marriage sacrament with engaged couples on a two on two basis. Their hope is that couples realize the importance of their role as a future married couple within the Catholic Church community through the process of marriage preparation. Growing in faith, hope, and love is a lifelong process that is essential to a truly happy, holy, and lasting marriage.
In our diocese, every couple getting married in the Church is required to participate in FOCCUS, even interfaith couples. FOCCUS is a self-assessment tool designed to assist couples in learning more about themselves and each other. FOCCUS stands for Facilitate Open, Caring, Communication, Understanding and Study. It is not a test, but a way to foster and enhance a couple’s communication. After meeting with Father Rick or Father Gordon (which should be done at least six months in advance of the wedding), the engaged couple will be assigned to a married couple from our parish who will guide them through the FOCCUS process, both the inventory itself and the follow up discussion evenings.
All marriage preparation programs address important aspects of being married in the Catholic tradition. The vocation of marriage, communication and conflict resolution skills, and sexuality are among the topics that are discussed. FOCCUS also includes specific discussions designed for interfaith couples. Other topics include issues of money, child-rearing, or faith that can cause dissention within a marriage. It can be something as simple as where they will spend Thanksgiving. Sometimes, the couples are surprised that they hadn’t discussed these issues. But after taking the FOCCUS inventory they begin their marriage preparation with their eyes wide open. It is a tool to help couples name and work through issues before marriage.
If you and your spouse would like to help with this ministry or would like further information, please contact the Blessed Sacrament office.