A wedding date is to be set no sooner than six months from the initial contact with the priest/deacon/pastoral minister preparing the couple. Couples should begin their marriage preparation at their home parish by contacting the pastor.
Couples are required to participate in a sacramental preparation process prior to their marriage/validation. In our diocese this process involves attending a samcramental marriage preparation retreat, hosted by either the diocese or the parish, and also meeting with a sponsor couple who will guide a couple through the FOCCUS inventory.
Current sacramental marriage preparation retreats planned for 2015-2016:
August 6th, 2016 at St Patrick Parish in Council Bluffs. (Note: This course is run by St. Patrick's parish and so registration will need to be done by contacting Fr. Glen Wilwerding at 712-323-1484. The cost for this course is $100).
August 20th, 2016 at Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309.
September 17th, 2016 in Des Moines, IA. Exact Location TBD.
October 11th and 13th (both evenings will run from 6-8:30 PM, couples must attend both evenings to complete the course). In Des Moines, IA, exact location TBD.
November 5th, 2016, in Des Moines, IA. Exact Location TBD.
The cost of this course is $80 per couple, and all Saturday Courses run from 9 am until 3 pm. Scholarships are available to couples, and can be requested by contacting Adam Storey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please register for classes on the diocesan calendar found on this website.
If couples cannot meet with a sponsor couple, an additional life skills course is required. The cost of this workshop is $60 per couple. Scholarships are available to couples, and can be requested by contacting Adam Storey at email@example.com. Please register for classes on the diocesan calendar found on this website.
Current life skills courses planned for 2015-2016:
February 7th, 2016, 2015 from 1-5 PM in Des Moines, Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309.
May 22nd, 2016, 2015 from 1-5 PM in Des Moines, Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309.
August 21, 2016, 2015 from 1-5 PM in Des Moines, Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309.
In order to make marriage preparation as valuable as possible, the diocese makes an effort to address each couple's particular circumstances. With this in mind, additional training and resources are available for sponsor couples who work with couples where one or both:
Pregnant or bringing a child(ren) into the marriage
Entering a second or subsequent marriage(includes widow or widower)
Seeking validation in the Catholic Church when there has been a previous marriage
Referred by priest/deacon/pastoral minister
When an engaged couple is civilly married but not Sacramentally married marriage preparation can be adjusted to better suit their needs. It should be made clear that the couple is not seeking a blessing of the covenant that already exists, but is entering a new, sacramental covenant that has not yet taken place. To better minister to these couples, the engaged couple should enter one of the following programs:
Work with a sponsor couple who is able to address the unique circumstance of a validating couple. The primary emphasis needs to be on the sacramentality of marriage.
When a couple has been in a civil union less than TWO years, FOCCUS is required. When the civil union has been longer than two years, REFOCCUS is recommended.
If the sponsor couple becomes aware that there are factors present in the relationship that may require further assistance, the priest/ deacon/ pastoral minister will be informed. He/she will then refer the couple to Marriage Ministry.
Natural Family Planning
Within marriage there is a moral responsibility to regulate procreation, but because of the dishonest and immoral nature of atrificial contraception, which has been confirmed in the constant teaching of the Christ and His Church, only natural means of regulating births are morally licit. The following resources can help couples learn about Natural Family Planning, which is an effective and moral way to participate in God's plan for sexual intimacy:
Fertility Services of Central Iowa: Creighton Model FertilityCare System
Teachers in the diocese: Julie Craven: 515-554-5099 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle McKernan: 515-225-3261 or email@example.com
(In Council Bluffs) Fertility Care Center of Omaha: 402-392-0842
Couple to Couple League: Sympto-Thermal Method
Teachers in the diocese: Mark and Patty Conway: 515-245-3016
Kerry and Renee McGuire: 515-278-1623
Billings Ovulation Method or Billings Ovulation Method USA
Teachers in the diocese: Betty McGehe: 515-240-2751
(Spanish in Council Bluffs) - Yolanda Bello-Bogdanyi 712-322-5378
Northwest Family Servies: Symto-Thermal Method
Teachers in the diocese: Kristin Detloff (In Pella). More information can be found at www.lovenaturallynfp.com.
Online courses are also available in English or Spanish through the Couple to Couple league and the Billings Ovulation Method can be learned online through Marriage Ministries. Also, couples can learn the Sympto Thermal Method through Northwest Family Services.
Home study courses are available in English or Spanish through the Couple to Couple league and through the Billings Ovulation Method.
For more information about NFP and NFP doctors and teachers, please visit the webiste One More Soul. For more information about the NFP lifestyle, please visit the website Living the Sacrament.
For more local information, contact Adam Storey in the diocesan Marriage Ministry Office at 515-237-5056 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.