Marriage Preparation Program

Sacrament of Matrimony

The Cathecism of the Catholic Church defines the sacrament of matrimony by noting "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."


Preparation at St. John Fisher Church

St. John Fisher Catholic Church asks couples to enter the parish preparation program at least one (1) year in advance of the marriage date. 

As part of the preparation process, the parish must ensure there exist no previous matrimonial bonds that remain in need of annulment.  These bonds include both civil and religious unions.  Assuming these bonds do not exist, an interview is set up with either a deacon or the pastor.  If no impediments are identified in the interview process, the couple is approved for the marriage preparation program.  A minimum of three couples are necessary in order for the program to be started.  The start date of the program is decided with the marriage preparation program coordinators and participating couples.  The preparation program meetings are conducted once a week for 10 or 12 weeks on the date decided by the program group.  The program includes a couples retreat.  Information concerning the retreat will be provided during the course of the program.

In addition to the above, couples need to provide copies of their baptismal and birth certificates.  The baptismal certificate must be dated no more than 6 months prior to wedding date.  For example, if the wedding date is scheduled for June, the baptismal certificate cannot be requested any earlier than December of the year prior.  Moreover, couples need to obtain a wedding license no more than 30 days before the wedding date.  A copy of this license must be provided to the parish no more than 30 days before the wedding date.  Upon completion of the wedding ceremony, the certificate will be signed the priest or minister.  The certificate is not valid until the priest or minister signs it. 

For more information call the parish office at (281) 342-5092.  If leaving a message, please note you are inquiring about the marriage preparation program; and leave your name, phone number, and best time to reach you.

Wedding Preparation Program Schedule (based on the 10 week program)

Week 1: All couples in preparation meet and receive an overview of the program, what is expected, and any fees are collected. A Q&A session is held, and then the first topics are presented.

  • Introduction

  • The families from which we came

  • The person I have come to be

Week 2:

  • Christian marriage is a commitment to constant personal change

  • Family traditions

Week 3:

  • Couples who are living together/Sexually active

  • Sexuality & Intimacy & Parenthood

Week 4:  FOCUS test day - all couples will answer a questionnaire. Afterwards, Dcn. Ruben and wife Gloria Torres (or Dec. Hector Rodriguez in Spanish) will schedule to meet each couple to go over the results at an agreed day and time that does not coincide with the regular meeting time.

Week 5:  All couples should have their wedding (or convalidation) day set by now, if not, they should set it at this point (especially if they want Fr. Jesse Garcia to witness their vows).

  • Money matters & career planning

  • Marital communication

  • Problem solving  

Week 6:

  • Christian marriage: Essential elements

  • Marital spirituality

  • Prayer

Week 7:

  • Mixed religion marriage…even if you are both Catholic!

  • Family planning

  • Decisions of conscience

Week 8:  Sometime during the preparation program, the couple must attend a couples retreat. To the extent possible, the parish will schedule and organize one, however, there are several retreat options offered throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

  • Marrying again and stepfamilies

  • Parenting: forming a new generation

  • Belonging to the church

Week 9:  If the couple is having a mass in which they will exchange their vows, they must schedule a practice meeting with the Pastor to practice the exchange of vows and other details. The couple should also choose the readings for their mass (unless they are exchanging their vows during a regularly scheduled mass). Wedding mass readings can be found here.

  • Pre-marital covenant & blessing of engaged couples

  • Planning the wedding ceremony

Week 10: All the couples as well as all the presenters gather for a pot-luck conclusion Party!