Marriage Preparation Guidelines

A couple should begin the marriage preparation process by arranging a meeting with the priest at their home parish. St. Joseph Parish requires that copies of the Baptismal certificates for the bride and groom (if both are baptized in the Catholic Church) be brought to the initial appointment. These copies should be issued within the last six months with notations. At the initial appointment, the priest determines the eligibility of the couple to marry and, if possible, sets the date. The process continues over several months with the following steps:
  • Assessment Process
  • Pre-Nuptial Inquiry (Form A)
  • Letter of Freedom (Form B)
  • Formal Marriage Preparation Program
  • Natural Family Planning Session
  • Selections of readings and songs for the Liturgy
  • Additional Requirements as Needed
The priest and parish staff will guide the couple throughout this process.





Pre-Cana Marriage Preparation

The next series of Pre-Cana marriage preparation classes
Please contact the Parish office at : 707-447-2354
These classes facilitate dialogue and prayer prior to a couple’s wedding. The class satisfies the marriage preparation program requirement in the Diocese of Sacramento. The cost is $100. To register, please contact the parish office.

Those planning to be married in the Catholic Church should begin the preparation process at least six months before the desired wedding date. Call or visit the office for more details.
Keep in mind that this process should begin at least six months prior to your desired wedding date. Baptism certificates for the bride and groom issued within the last six months should be brought to the first appointment with the priest.
Every engaged couple wishing to be married in the Diocese of Sacramento-whether theirs is a first-time marriage, a Con validation, or a re-marriage-must attend a formal diocesan-approved marriage preparation program. This is to be completed during the first four to six months of their preparation. Since the last few weeks prior to their wedding are filled with so many practical details, it is important that the engaged couple spend quality time early on to prepare themselves for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Where do you get the title Pre-Cana?
In the Gospel of John (2:1-12), Jesus and his mother, Mary, attended a wedding in the town of Cana. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle. In this event the church sees Jesus’ proclamation of the goodness of marriage. It is in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony that Jesus Christ blesses and strengthens couples with his powerful presence.
What is Pre-Cana?
Pre-Cana is for couples planning to be married in the Catholic Church and who have been referred to this program by a priest, deacon, or marriage coordinator. This program enables you to discuss your strengths and weaknesses, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, family life, the art of communication, family finances, sexuality, and your role in society as well as in the Church.
Preparation for the Marriage Liturgy
It is the responsibility of the engaged couple to take seriously the planning of the wedding liturgy. To assist the couple, suggested readings, music guidelines and a wedding planning sheet are available from the parish.
Some of the topics that will be covered during the Program:
  • Sacrament of Marriage
  • Effective Communication
  • Prayer as a Couple
  • Intimacy and Sexual Expression
  • Fostering a Culture of Life in Marriage
  • Natural Family Planning
What happens at the class?
A married couple facilitates each classroom session. Through short talks, sharing of the facilitators’ own experiences, faith formation, group exercises, and personal reflection, you are guided through topics that can build a loving, life-long, Covenantal, and Sacramental marriage. How do we sign up? Make an appointment with Fr. Joshy Mathew through the Parish Office by calling: (707) 447-2354.


Frequently Asked Questions

When should we attend Pre-Cana?
The Diocese of Sacramento requires attendance at a Pre-Cana course four to six months before your wedding date. It is more beneficial if taken earlier in the engagement process.
How long does the class last?
To be announced – please call the office (707) 447-2354
How much does Pre-Cana cost?
Donation of $250.00 per couple
What does the registration fee include?
The fee pays for the cost of the class, handouts, workbooks, and resources, as well as the visiting teacher for the Natural Family Planning session.
What if one of us is not Catholic? Should we both attend? The program is designed for both the bride and groom, regardless of your religious traditions. Both are expected to participate.
For more information:
Contact the Parish Office
at (707) 447 2354

A short video about “The Sacrament of Matrimony”

On Engagement by: Pope Francis


Theology of Marriage

Catholic Christians believe that marriage is an intimate partnership of life and love. Marriage was created by God to be a permanent union of man and woman…an unbreakable bond. God has made a covenant with us – a sacred promise of faithfulness that will never be broken. In marriage, YOU are the primary sacrament or symbol of God’s covenant. Sacramental marriage is not simply a private event in the lives of two people; it is a transforming event for the entire Christian community.
 precana (3)

Prayer for Engaged Couples

Thank You Lord, for this wonderful gift of our love, which already has brought us so much joy. Grant that we may continue to love; reverently, patiently, generously — seeing you in each other. Guide us to continue to discover each other, that our understanding and compassion may deepen and mature. Teach us to forget ourselves and live for and in each other, that we may truly become one. In the hurried days of final preparation, grant us the calmness to reflect upon the sacramental moment when you will seal and sanctify our promises, binding us together in profound intimacy forever. Grant us the insight to realize that soon our unique love will be caught up and transformed into your boundless love. Then we will no longer be merely a young man or woman in love—but husband and wife, an image of Christ and His Church, with a special right to supernatural help, and special commission to create love in each other, in our children, and in the family of God. In joy or sorrow, in richness or poverty, in sickness and in health—may our love grow into your Divine Love till death do us part. Amen.