Other Approved Programs

Recommended Inventories:

1. FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding, and Study)

This inventory is published by Family Life Office, Omaha NE.  It is a thorough inventory which will help facilitate discussion between the priest, PLC, sponsor couple and engaged couple.  FOCCUS is offered in an Alternate edition which is written at a lower reading level.  In addition to English and an adaptive English version, it is offered in Spanish, French Canadian, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese. 

2. Fully Engaged

This inventory is published by the Office of Marriage & Family, St. Cloud, MN.  Fully engaged is an inventory for the discernment period of marriage preparation. 

3. PREPARE/ENRICH

This inventory has two versions.  The paper-pencil version is based out of Oklahoma, while the online version is based out of Minnesota.  Both instruments are very similar, and identify a couple’s strengths and growth areas in Idealistic Distortion, Marriage Expectations, Personality Issues, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Financial Management, Leisure Activities, Sexual Relationship, Children and Parenting, Family and Friends, Role Relationship, Spiritual Beliefs, and Family of Origin.  The online version is offered in 12 different languages including Spanish, Vietnamese, and French. 

(As this inventory is very-data rich, it may not be very user-friendly for those without extensive experience or formal training.  However, for those involved in marriage preparation that have a great deal of familiarity with this inventory and/or clinical training, the data collected by this inventory can be very illuminating.)

4. Better Together

This is a free inventory offered by Dynamic Catholic. We cautiously approve this inventory. The inventory is rich in the latest psychology and research on the relationships. It also covers a wide array of issues facing couples today including conflict, family of origin, addiction, pornography, and abuse (just to name a few). There are questions about Natural Family Planning, prayer, and spirituality. However, the inventory is a bit vague. It is also easily accessible by anyone, and can be taken without guidance of a priest, sponsor couple, or trained facilitator. A parish can use it successfully if a plan is in place to ensure the results or discussed with a priest, sponsor couple, or facilitator. We caution users of this inventory that it be used as a tool for couples to explore strengths and areas of improvement as well as aiding parishes in engaging couples into the life of the parish.

Recommended Sponsor Couple Supplemental Programs:

1. Witness to Love

Their mission is to provide local churches with the tools to transform existing programs of marriage preparation into wellsprings of dynamic marriage discipleship that foster both parish connection and nurture authentic accompaniment before and after the wedding day. One important difference between this program and other mentor couple programs is that engaged couples are invited to choose their own mentors. The program helps parishes develop a program where mentors meet basic requirements, and the engaged couple and mentor couple are formed together, deepening and strengthening the couples' relationship with Christ and His Church.

2. FOCCUS: Engaged Couple Guide for Catholic Marriage Preparation (FOCCUS, Inc.)

This workbook is intended for use with the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory, and provides a thorough, but not exhaustive, program for covering each of the three Guiding Principles of Marriage Preparation: Catholic Vision of Love and Marriage, Catholic Understanding of Sexuality, and Skills of Love and Marriage.  In addition, the workbook includes a section on planning the order of the service.  The workbook contains the Imprimatur.  A Spanish translation of the workbook is available. 

3. Fully Engaged: Growing Toward Lasting Fidelity Couple’s Workbook

Fully Engaged program has an optional workbook to facilitate sponsor couple meetings which includes more in-depth catechesis for marriage preparation.  This workbook is titled Fully Engaged: Growing Toward Lasting Fidelity Couple’s Workbook and provides a 13-part sponsor couple program, with the option for three additional sessions on Ecumenical Marriage, Second Marriages, and Blended Families.  This covers each of the three Guiding Principles of Marriage Preparation: Catholic Vision of Love and Marriage, Catholic Understanding of Sexuality, and Skills of Love and Marriage.

4. For Better and For Ever

This program, designed by Rev. Robert Ruhnke is a resource for Sponsor Couples to help facilitate and guide discussion during their meetings. This resource is designed to best help engaged couples prepare for marriage and covers Family of Origin, Finances, Spirituality, Cohabitation, Mixed Faiths, Blended Families and more. There are additions for Catholics, Protestants, and those of no faith. It's available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and French.

5. En Las Buenas Y Para Siempre" (Sponsor Couple Training in Spanish)

This program, the Spanish version of "For Better & For Ever," provides training to mentor couples who will prepare other couples engaged to be married. Couples need to be faithful to the Church's teachings on marriage and family, be married at least five years and recommended by their pastor.  Contact the Office of Intercultural Ministry for more information.

Recommended Catechetical Programs:

1. Pre-Cana Conference/The Joy-Filled Marriage Program

This program from Ascension Press has two components which together cover the three Guiding Principles:

  • Virtue-based life skills program that provides the “know-how” and the habits that build up a lifelong, joy-filled marriage.  This program is a companion program to God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage.
  • The God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage presents couples with the teachings on Sacramentality and Sexuality of marriage, rooted in St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (this portion is also offered in Spanish).

**It is important to note that you may use this program as part of your parish programming. It is not necessary that you send couples to attend the Pre-Cana conference if you would prefer to take advantage of the flexibility this program offers and tailor it to meet the needs of your parish community.

2. One in Christ

This program is seminar-based marriage preparation that takes place over the course of one weekend with a one-day follow-up session that includes a medical/NFP panel for Q&A. One in Christ (OIC) provides a comprehensive approach to marriage preparation that meets or exceeds the 18 points of preparation guidelines listed above and covers each of the Guiding Principles. Along with use of clergy, all witnessing married couples sign an Oath to the Fidelity to the Magisterium and the program includes a required course in NFP. OIC offers a Spanish option.

3. Tobit Retreat

The Tobit Marriage Preparation Weekend was designed and started in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1974.  This weekend offers time away from the tensions and demands of daily life to relax in a place of beauty and peacefulness. It gives couples a unique opportunity to grow in the knowledge and love of one another while focusing on couple communication in all aspects of the marriage relationship. A teaching Mass is included during the retreat. 

4. TOBET4ENGAGED

TOBET stands for Theology of the Body Evangelization Team. This program is based on St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body (TOB) and invites the engaged couple into the wisdom of the Theology of the Body and the Church's understanding of marriage. What sets this program apart is the easy to read, and aesthetically pleasing workbook that includes vivid diagrams that make TOB concepts accessible. This program is available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

5. Fully Engaged: Growing Toward Lasting Fidelity Couple’s Workbook

This is a companion workbook to the Fully Engaged Inventory and provides a 13-part sponsor couple program, with the option for three additional sessions on Ecumenical Marriage, Second Marriages, and Blended Families.  This covers each of the three Guiding Principles of Marriage Preparation: Catholic Vision of Love and Marriage, Catholic Understanding of Sexuality, and Skills of Love and Marriage.

6. Engaged Couple Guide for Catholic Marriage Preparation (FOCCUS, Inc.)

This workbook is intended for use with the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory, and provides a thorough, but not exhaustive, program for covering each of the three Guiding Principles (Catholic Vision of Love and Marriage, Catholic Understanding of Sexuality, and Skills of Love and Marriage) outlined on page six.  In addition, the workbook includes a section on planning the order of the service.  The workbook contains the Imprimatur.  A Spanish translation of the workbook is available

7. Movimiento Familiar Cristiano (Spanish)

A pre-matrimonial retreat organized by the Catholic Christian Family Movement.  For more information contact the Office of Intercultural Ministry.

8. Transformed in Love

Transformed in Love is the archdiocesan marriage preparation program developed at the initiative of Cardinal Seán O’Malley. Numerous professionals and married couples met and worked together to develop this marriage preparation program. 

9. The Marriage Group: Marriage Ministries (online)

A completely Online OnDemand Catholic Marriage Prep Class with 8 hours of work-at-your-own-pace marriage instruction. This program allows you to view videos on topics that are helpful in Catholic marriage. It provides questions for reflection, downloadable worksheets to fill out and discuss, includes a premarital inventory called the Catholic Couple Checkup and ebooks on Spirituality. There is a section on Cohabitation as well. This program is offered in English and Spanish.

10. Agape Catholic Ministries

This program invites couples to a deeper relationship with each other and with Christ. It is an online, on-demand instructional program, rooted in Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body. It includes personalized mentoring from a trained married couple. Agape Catholic Ministires is dedicated to building a foundation for a strong, healthy, Christ-centered marriage between a man and a woman. This program is offered in English, Spanish, and French, and has Closed Captioning for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

11. The VIRTUES

The VIRTUES is an online, parish-based, or individual enrichment program for marriage preparation OR follow-up marriage enrichment. It uses a variety of media to teach positive messages about marriage and the importance of mastering the good habits we call Cardinal Virtues. This is a great program for skills-based and virtue-based education. It does not thoroughly cover concepts of Sacramentality or Conjugal Love.

12. Joined by Grace

Joined by Grace was developed with one goal in mind: to help engaged couples build strong, life-giving, and lasting unions by inspiring them to welcome God into their marriages more completely. Published by Ave Maria Press, Joined by grace shows how the seven sacraments can help build marriages that are rooted in Christ by teaching couples to accept and be fully present to one another, give themselves completely, and serve and forgive each other. This program fulfills the Sacramentality and Skills Guiding Principles, but does not cover Theology of the Body or Fertility Awareness Based Methods.

Recommended Theology of the Body Programs

1. God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage - parish program OR workshop

2. TOBET (see above)

3. Agape Catholic Ministries (see above)

4. The Cor Project: Learning, Living and Sharing John Paul II's Theology of the Body with Christopher West

The Cor Project seeks to equip men and women to learn, live, and share the beauty of the divine plan for human life, love, and sexuality in a new evangelization. Lead by Christopher West, the Cor Project offers LIVE events all over the country. For a list of upcoming events, click here

5. Theology of the Body Institute

6. Ruah Woods

7. Please visit www.archindy.org/nfp for information regarding NFP classes

 

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