Are you recently engaged? Is your wedding day fast approaching? Either way, you are probably wondering what to expect at Pre-Cana. We have some insight on the types of programs and how they work.

When an engaged Catholic couple begins the marriage preparation process, one of the things they are required to do is complete a Pre-Cana program.

Pre-Cana consists of an in-person or online program, a class, a retreat or a series of meetings with a priest/deacon or a sponsor couple.

Whatever the format may look like, each option covers all the required topics for couples preparing to be married in a Catholic church.

Most will agree that couples should have a strong relationship before getting engaged, however a Pre-Cana is more than just seeing if the relationship is compatible.

The purpose of Pre-Cana is to take a deeper dive into the unique challenges that come along with being married, all through the lens of spirituality and practicality.

The bride and groom to-be, are encouraged to use this time as an opportunity looking forward toward their new life together. Each discussion helps to ensure they are on the same page as a couple, and ready to face the exciting adventure together, as one.

Here are a few ways of completing a Pre-Cana:

A Day-Long Event

These one-day gatherings are scheduled periodically throughout the year. Some dioceses offer an event on a monthly basis at different parish locations, while for others dates may be limited.

Registrations are on a first-come basis. Many church facilities have limited seating, and others may welcome 100+ couples.

During this in-person event, presenters use blocks of time to cover the required topics, highlighting the importance, relevance, and their experience in each conversation piece.

The event is typically a minimum of eight hours, with a lunch often served, and perhaps breakout sessions.

Online

This option is available in all 50 United States, and many countries abroad. It’s popularity, approval, and necessity is vast, and continues to grow across the globe.

There is an ever-increasing number of parishes that have adopted this as their primary program, and most dioceses see this as a vital tool in their ministry “toolbox”.

The Marriage Group’s program consists of 100% online/on-demand formats, and can be used as either self-lead or mentor-lead depending on the needs of the couple.

After the couple has successfully completed the program, a certificate of completion is generated that shows that the couple has successfully finished the course.

Living Our Faith in Love - Online Pre-Cana

Weekend Retreats

A retreat is a time set aside from distractions to concentrate on prayer, meditation — or in this case, marriage preparation.

Many retreats ask couples to arrive on Friday late-afternoon (between 4pm-7pm), participating in a meet-and-greet, followed by dinner. An evening class often takes place to get the presentations started.

The couples then spend all of Saturday in a multitude of sessions, in-between the breakfast, lunch and dinner that is served.

On Sunday, there will be one more meal together followed by a few more presentations. The retreat comes to a close around lunchtime.

Options, Options, Options…

When deciding which program is the right program, we encourage you to consult with your priest or deacon, paired with whichever learning method works best for you and your spouse-to-be.

At the end of the day, be sure to make the most out of Pre-Cana. Participate, engage in conversation and, most of all, enjoy the process. Your experience will inevitably be filled with impactful moments that you will remember for the rest of your lives together.

Don’t rush it!

Planning a wedding ceremony can be difficult at times, but always rewarding in the end. Planning a Catholic wedding ceremony has a few extra nuances that need to be taken into consideration.

Why a Catholic Wedding?

Getting married in the Catholic Church is exciting for several reasons.

Instead of having a carnal outlook on the ceremony, Catholic couples understand that marriage is a sacrament. It is a wholly moving and deeply emotional experience to recite your vows and make the public declaration of your love to your partner.

This public act of the deepest declaration of love and devotion becomes all the more profound when delivered at a Catholic wedding.

Not only is it the union of two individuals merely creating a legal contract with each other; it is the holy union of two individuals becoming one — with God at the center.

It is the sign of how Christ loves us — even to death, and the wedding ceremony is our response to His devotion with the most important people in our lives observing.

Planning a Catholic Wedding Ceremony… Practically Speaking

Most of the planning for a Catholic wedding is standard, relatively speaking. Choose your maid/matron of honor and the best man, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, the flower girl and the ring bearer, the ushers… You get it.

Specifically speaking to a Catholic wedding, it is important to decide on the following:

  • How many musicians and singers will you need?
  • Organist, singers and other musicians all need to be taken into consideration.
  • How many alter servers?
  • What type of service — eucharist or non-eucharist?
  • What processional hymn?
  • What Old Testament reading? Who will be reading that?
  • What New Testament reading? Who will be reading that?
  • Our Father — spoken or sung?
  • Who will be reading or singing the responsorial song?
  • Will there be communion, and if so, what will the communion hymn be?
  • What Gospel reading?

At a glance, this can all be very overwhelming. The best way to handle the load is to lean on your support group, delegate when you can delegate and always keep the line of communication wide open with your priest or deacon.

It’s also worth mentioning that you should always discuss your plans with your parish before making any commitments.

At the end of the day…

It is your ceremony. Make it profound for you and your future spouse. Your holy ceremony is a deep level of love that you as humans will be able experience at the innermost parts of our being, achievable with your faith in God at the center.

Your ceremony will be over faster than you can plan for, so don’t sweat the small stuff. It will be a beautiful ceremony no matter what. When things don’t go exactly according to plan — which does happen — just remember the most important reason you are having your ceremony in the first place.

In 2020 we served over 6,500 couples from all over the world. Let’s take a look at the information from couples who took our most popular Pre-Cana course in 2020, Living Our Faith in Love.

Data was interesting for Pre-Cana in 2020

 

Dioceses and Countries:

  • Couples registered from 172 dioceses in the United States.
  • We had registrations in 54 countries around the world.
  • We also had registrations from about 250 dioceses outside of the United States.

Ages:

  • Groom: 31
  • Bride: 29

Note: Over 100 couples were both above the age of 50.

Length of Engagement:

  • 17.1 Months

Note: This doesn’t take into account weddings postponed due to COVID. However, this is pretty consistent with our data from previous years.

Course Start Vs. Wedding Dates:

  • Couples started the course about 3.4 months before their wedding date.

Time Spent On Course:

  • The average amount of time spent on the course was just over 1 month.

Note: This is an increase from the previous averages of 21 days / 3 weeks

This is interesting because it can be concluded that today’s engaged couples desire a more intentional approach to marriage preparation, rather than a one-day, “drink from the firehose” experience.

Slowing down allows more focus on the actual content and removes the thought that marriage preparation is just another hoop to jump through.

Based on this information, we can assume that couples do not wish to complete their Pre-Cana as fast as possible.

How They Found Us:

  • Their Parish: 71.7%
  • Search Engine: 18.2%
  • From a Friend: 5.1%
  • Their Diocese: 2.4%
  • Family: 0.6%
  • Facebook/Instagram: 0.4%
  • Other: 2.0%

Note: Many couples mentioned they heard about us from the parish, diocese, or their gathered event coordinator who originally organized the event but had to cancel due to COVID.

The 2.4% mentioned above is over 100 couples who were looking to their diocese for Pre-Cana options outside of what their parish offered.

Together vs. Separate Location:

  • Same Location: 82%
  • Different Locations: 6%
  • Combination of Both: 12%

Note: This is a bit of change from previous years. Looking at 2018 it was 69%, 11,% and 19% respectively.

This data could be attributed to couples staying in their COVID “bubble” with their fiancé(e).

Primary Reason:

  • COVID: 38%
  • Convenience: 37%
  • Last resort: 13%
  • Geography: 7%
  • Privacy: 3%
  • Other: 4%

Note: THIS data point is interesting.

In 2018, 69% of couples said they took the course for convenience. COVID and Convenience combined in 2020 is 75% couples.

With those combined, more than half of the couples who chose our online Pre-Cana program did so due to a cancelled event or an event in which their schedules made it difficult to attend.

“I think it was an excellent resource for us since our in person Pre-Cana day had been cancelled due to COVID-19. It took a little bit of weight off of our shoulders knowing we could complete it on our own time and not have to stress about fitting in a new date before our wedding.” – Laina and Daniel from New York

Given the global pandemic of last year, we can also assume that couples prefer the safety and security of virtual learning.

This eliminates the risk of exposure to the virus while attending a gathered event.

In Conclusion…

2020 was a very difficult year for all of us. We understand how difficult it is to have to cancel a gathered event for any number of reasons, but especially through the lens of the COVID pandemic. Unfortunately, it seems like it is still going to take a long time to “get back to normal,” and even then, it will most likely look vastly different than the “normal” we were used to.

Pre-Cana in 2020 was not an exception to this case.

The good news is — we have the resources to reach a global audience and continue to deliver a comprehensive, sacramental and modern Pre-Cana experience. Our unique benefit is that our programs are the perfect solution to every current COVID restriction in place.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your ministry, and we continue to keep you all in our prayers as we all navigate through difficult times.

You have decided to get married in the Catholic Church — now what? You might have heard by now that you need to go through an approved marriage preparation program, otherwise known as “Pre-Cana.” The next step is for you to determine whether you will complete online or in person Pre-Cana.

The intent of this article is not to say either way which one is better — that would be subjective, so deciding which option is “better” is all about personal preference.

In this article, we will discuss both options and the experiences that can be included with both.

The Online Option

Thanks to the internet, information is readily available for the plucking. Some of our phones now are more powerful than our computers! The idea that we can connect with loved ones on the other side of the earth in a matter of seconds is incredible and sounds like something out of Star Trek.

Side note, we might actually have Star Trek to thank for most of our modern marvels.

Moving on…

For more than a decade, we have offered Pre-Cana as an option to conquer online and on-demand Catholic marriage preparation. The obvious, initial benefit for this is that couples are able to navigate through the course whenever and wherever.

From the feedback given to us by the thousands of couples who choose our program each year, here are other reasons they have enjoyed the online option:

  • Convenience: Life is busy now. It is difficult, and in a lot of cases, impossible, to be able to be off work and free for an entire day, weekend, or the same evenings for multiple weeks. This can often make it challenging for couples to attend their Parishes schedule Pre-Cana events.
  • Privacy: These are serious and often intimate topics. Being able to take the time and have focused, in-depth, conversations with privacy will make sure that you are both on the same page with them. Often with group sessions you won’t be able to take the time to have these conversations so discreetly.
  • Long Distance Couples: You may be currently living in different locations whether for work, school or several other factors. This can make it physically impossible to attend Pre-Cana at the same time and location. Online courses allow you to work on them anytime, whether just a few hours apart or half the world apart.

This data has helped us to develop and deliver a more impactful and meaningful online Pre-Cana experience.

Online learning is a great option for those who prefer to tackle the more complex talking points in the privacy of their home. It’s also great for folks who desire to work at their own pace — taking as much time as they need to dive into a given topic. The video segments in our program can be paused to help give enough of a break for you and your significant other to really connect with each other.

Our online course is accepted in parishes and dioceses all over, so it’s up to you and your significant other if this option is the right option.

That being said, although the online option has several obvious benefits, it might not be for everyone. There might not be the fatigue of an all-day or all-weekend event, but you definitely have to stay motivated.

There may not be the distractions of a crowd, but there still are distractions. “Those mines aren’t going to sweep themselves.” — Jim Halpert, The Office.

The In-Person Option

Most churches offer a flurry of options for in-person Pre-Cana. Whether it’s meeting with your Priest a required number of times before getting married, a one-day event, a weekend retreat — either way, your church is positioned to offer you something that fits your learning style.

A few benefits of an in-person gathering are:

  1. There is a potential for fellowship with like-minded peers — all in the same boat of preparing for marriage.
  2. You might be able to hear from several subject matter experts over the course of the program. This helps to make each topic more exciting and the event a little more interesting!
  3. When taking a course with instructors or sponsor couples, you will be able to ask questions and get feedback in real time, allowing you for greater clarity in the moment.

The challenge can be that an in-person option might not be available in enough time before the wedding day. In-person events might even be cancelled from time to time, and a reschedule might just put you too close to your wedding day — or worse — might not be available until after your wedding day.

The Decision

Regardless of which option you choose — online vs in person Pre-Cana — the most important thing to remember is to be transparent with your significant other and the ministry leader helping you to prepare for marriage. Please make sure that you are scheduling plenty of meetings with your Priest or Deacon for this important step towards your wedding day.

Interested in Online Pre-Cana?

Living Our Faith in Love - Online Pre-Cana

Have you ever wondered who instituted the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church? Have you asked yourself where is Marriage in the Bible?

This might be a question that is important to you and your fiance, especially now that you are preparing for marriage. Let us take a look at what the Bible tells us.

Marriage in the Bible

The Bible tells us that God created man and woman and after creating them, the first thing He does is to bless them.

“God blessed them…” (Gn. 1, 28)

This tells us that right from the beginning the union of man and woman is blessed by their creator God. God looks with favor this new union.  Marriage was what God had planned for man and woman.

This union of man and woman has also other implications; God tells them to “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gn. 1:28) Here we can clearly see the connection between marriage and establishing a family. Man and woman are called to create together, this union is to be the foundation of society.

Christ Instituted The Sacrament of Marriage

In the New Testament we see that Jesus reminds us the same truths that were previously stated in the book of Genesis.

Jesus says: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt: 19:4-6)

It is in these words of Jesus that we find the essence of the Sacrament of Marriage: a sacred union, instituted by Christ, between a man and a woman.

In the words of the Catholic Bishops of the United States in their letter “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan”, “Marriage is a lifelong partnership of the whole of life, of mutual and exclusive fidelity, established by mutual consent between a man and a woman, and ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation of offspring.”

God is Bigger than a Pandemic

By now, we probably do not want to hear anything else about COVID-19 and its effects on our lives. The whole world has changed because of this pandemic. There are many adaptations, changes, and new ways of doing things.

We might feel stressed, afraid, and impatient.

That is when we need to remember Saint Teresa of Avila, the founder of the Discalced Carmelite nuns from Spain, words:

“Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things are passing away;
God never changes,
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing,
God alone suffices.”

In the midst of all these changes, we need to remember that some things never change! If you just got engaged during this difficult time, do not get stressed and do not get disappointed. The wonderful news is that the love that brought you two together has not changed. The desire to start a family together has not changed and certainly God has not changed!

Here is some practical advice to help you keep the focus on what is important. You will realize that these essential aspects of life have not been affected by the pandemic.

Focus On God

Keep your focus on God, your faith and in the sacrament of Marriage. Let God be the center of attention during this time of preparation for your wedding day and for your new life as a married couple. Make it a habit to spend some time in prayer, both individually and as a couple. Let God be the point of encounter between you and your fiancé(e). Share prayer time together, pray for each other, pray for your future life as a married couple.

Be intentional about starting marriage preparation classes early. Even though live/traditional events are rarely occurring at the church, marriage preparation is still happening. There are many options to complete your preparation for marriage. Online Pre-Cana is a great option, now that meeting in-person with a sponsor couple or a priest/deacon might be more challenging.

Small, Intimate Wedding Celebration

The wedding Mass must be the center of your attention. Check with the church where you will celebrate your marriage and ask for the protocols they are observing for celebrations of weddings. Ask about the number of people allowed in the church and then plan your guests list according to that number.

Plan a small and intimate wedding celebration, with only close friends and family. Think about those people in your life that have been instrumental for you and your fiancé(e). Think about those people in your life that you really want to be a part of your new life as a married couple. They are the ones who really need to be there with you at this important moment of your life.

 

We pray that your engagement is a blessed time of prayer, reflection, and preparation for a wonderful married life together. We pray that the Lord will give you His peace as you prepare to start a life together as a husband and wife. Remember to make Him the center of your life!

Your friends at The Marriage Group

When we ask couples who are preparing for marriage, “Why do you want to get married in the Catholic Church?” sometimes the answers include…. “It is a family tradition”, or … “it is the right thing to do”, or “our family expects it”.

But there are deeper and more important reasons why a Catholic should get married in the Catholic Church:

Helps Us Fulfill Our Baptismal Promises

Getting married in the Catholic Church helps us to fulfill our Baptismal Promises. These are those promises that our parents and godparents did for us before God in our Baptism and that later in our life were renewed by us when we celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation.

Gives Us Graces

Getting married in the Catholic Church gives us graces. First there is an increase in Sanctifying Grace, which makes the couple spiritually stronger. Also the couple receive Sacramental Grace of Matrimony, which:

    • Perfects the natural love of husband and wife;
    • Elevates this love to a supernatural level which far surpasses mere mental and physical compatibility.
    • Gives to marital love a sanctifying quality, making it an instrument for growth in holiness and marriage a path to sainthood.
    • Imparts conscientiousness in the begetting and rearing of children.
    • Gives prudence in the innumerable problems consequent upon family life.
    • Enables husband and wife to adjust to one another’s shortcomings and to bear with one another’s faults.

Creates A Bond Between the Spouses

Getting married in the church, creates a bond between the spouses, “From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” (CCC1638) So we can say that there is a special strength that is created when a couple gets married in the Catholic Church.

These are only a few of the many reasons why it is important for Catholics to get married in the Catholic Church. We hope that through the preparation for marriage and in your married life you will discover the great benefits that this Sacrament will bring to your union.

Aside from our wedding day, New Year’s Eve in 2018 was the best day of my life. Jake, my best friend and boyfriend of five years, proposed. We were elated, ringing in the new year bearing the excitement of becoming husband and wife. But after the lively FaceTime sessions, house calls, and champagne toasts, reality sat in — we were planning a wedding in eight months.

And so it began. My mother toiled away on her computer creating wedding-related spreadsheets. Jake and I spent countless evenings in our living room discussing tuxedos, invitations, and DJ playlists. Bridesmaids eagerly pinned updos and floral arrangements to my now-shamelessly public wedding Pinterest board. Everything was falling beautifully into place.

As we crossed things off our master list, one task that we didn’t manage to tackle early on was Pre-Cana. There are a few reasons why:

  • We both work full-time, so our schedules were booked solid.
  • Wedding planning was taking up all of our time, energy, and money.
  • Taking any hours-long class that includes group participation is daunting.

Weighing Our Pre-Cana Options

The first logical step for us was to meet with the priest, so we made an appointment at my childhood parish. During this first meeting, we were bombarded with paperwork, including a sheet of approved Pre-Cana classes. Later that night, I sat down to Google each parish-approved Pre-Cana course. While each couple hosting the classes seemed terrific, it was the little details that prevented me from booking. One class was 30 miles away. Another cost upwards of $200. And one was absurdly long. None of those Pre-Cana options were ideal.

Luckily, one of the options was an online Pre-Cana course. Since I grew up in a traditional Catholic family, the idea hadn’t even occurred to me. So we went online and learned about Living Our Faith in Love. After browsing their website, we knew this was the route we wanted to take.

Our Experience With Living Our Faith in Love

Opting for an online marriage prep course took a huge weight off our shoulders. Instead of setting aside an entire weekend for Pre-Cana, we could take the course at our own pace in the comfort of our own home.

And that’s exactly what we did. Over the next few weeks, Jake and I carved out time to get comfortable on the couch, curl up with our two beagles and cat, and watch marriage prep videos.

Our Top Three Favorite Things About This Pre-Cana:

1: The Content

We were pleasantly surprised that the content in this Pre-Cana course offers a modern take on traditional values. The people in the videos shared anecdotes that are relatable to younger generations living a modern lifestyle but still express the critical aspects of building a lasting marriage.

2: The Built-In Discussion Time

Each bit of the course includes prompts to discuss key takeaways with your partner, which was an excellent opportunity for us to dive into tough subjects like family and faith. Jake and I found the section on communication particularly helpful — we still cite our learnings from that part of the course to help us move past conflicts.

3: The Flexibility

One of the best things about using Living Our Faith in Love for marriage prep was the flexibility of the course. We never felt pressured by time restraints typical in a classroom setting, and we took all the time we needed to hash out complex discussions. Plus, we were able to get our Certification of Completion on our own schedule.

At the end of the course, we felt accomplished, fulfilled, and happy with our decision to take Pre-Cana online — and Living Our Faith in Love made the whole process easy.

Living Our Faith in Love - Online Pre-Cana

Lent is a time of preparation for the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has established this time as a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving so we can be spiritually ready to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.

This time of preparation lasts 40 days. The number 40 is used in the Bible many times as a time of preparation for something else that is to come: in the story of the flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7: 4-12); Moses was in the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28); the people of Israel wondered in the desert for 40 years (Joshua 5:6) and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry (Matthew 4: 1-2).

Lent and Engaged Couples

If you are engaged to be married, Lent is a great time of prayer and reflection and a time of preparation. If you are wondering if you can be married in the Catholic Church during lent, click here to access a great blog that explains that.

Since Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, it is also an invitation for you and your fiancé to prepare for the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony.

Preparation takes different forms: you can attend a retreat organized by your parish or your diocese, you can attend marriage preparation classes either as a group or one on one with a sponsor couple, and you can also attend online marriage preparation classes here. All these forms of marriage preparation are accepted by the church and are available to you.

Lent and Married Couples

If you recently got married in the Catholic Church and you are starting to build your own family and your own family traditions, Lent is a great time to establish some practices that are spiritually important for both of you.

Start by telling each other how each of your families of origin prepared for Easter during this time of Lent.

Did you attend reconciliation as a family? Did you practice fasting and almsgiving in a special way? Once you have shared all these stories with each other, establish your own Lenten practices.

What do you want to do during Lent now that you are married? Make sure to include time for prayer, both as a couple and individually, fasting and almsgiving.

Lent and Families

Lent gives families an opportunity to come together for prayer and to reflect on the things we want to change. It is important to highlight the aspects of forgiving, reconciliation, and accepting one another in the family. Family prayer before meals is a special time to be thankful for what we have and to ask God to help us be aware of those around us who are less fortunate. Nighttime prayers are also a good moment to stop and reflect on what we did wrong and who did we offend during the day.

Practicing the corporal works of mercy as a family is also a good Lenten practice, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc., are all activities that the whole family can practice.

Lent is an invitation to all of us to change our ways (convert) and start a new life with the Risen Lord in the Resurrection at Easter. Let us make good use of these 40 days and really make a change in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Many blessings on this Lenten Season

There are many beautiful places where a couple may want to celebrate their wedding. Some of these places may even have a special meaning to that couple. Maybe that’s the place where they met, or maybe that’s the place where they dreamed of going together as a married couple. Whatever the reasons why the couple may want to celebrate their wedding at a place that is not a Catholic church, it is important for the couple to know the Church’s position on the celebration of weddings at places that are not a Catholic church.

The Wedding and The Marriage

In order to address this question properly, we need to remember that a wedding ceremony has so many spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical implications that tend to be forgotten when we focus our attention in the beauty of the physical space, such as the floral arrangements or the decorations of the “wedding.” In other words, a couple needs to maintain focus on the Sacrament of Marriage, not just the physical details of the wedding ceremony.

Let us remember that a Catholic wedding is the ritual through which a Sacrament takes place; the Sacrament of Marriage. This is the reason why the Church requires that the ceremony be held in a proper space; a Catholic parish. Christ, who honored the wedding at Cana with his presence, is also present in the Eucharist when the wedding ceremony takes place inside the church.

Outside Wedding

The Code of Canon Law says, “Marriages are to be celebrated in a parish where either of the contracting parties has a domicile… With the permission of the proper ordinary or proper pastor, marriages can be celebrated elsewhere.” (Canon 1115)

It looks like the Code of Canon Law may allow the wedding to be celebrated “elsewhere,” with the authorization of the local bishop, but it is almost impossible to obtain such authorization. Bishops are very reluctant to grant authorization for outdoor weddings by a Catholic parish, because they are concerned with maintaining a sense of the sacred, which is precisely what happens at a Catholic wedding ceremony — it is a sacred sacramental occasion.

The reasons why a local bishop may grant authorization for a catholic wedding to be celebrated elsewhere include political, cultural or even for safety reasons. One example may be when a church building planned for hosting the wedding ceremony has suffered structural damage, due to earthquakes or other natural disasters. As we stated previously, these circumstances are highly unusual.

A wedding is a special moment in the life of the new family that is beginning. We encourage you to focus all of your attention and efforts in making it a memorable event that will emphasize the sacredness of the occasion through the exchange of the promises that will make this an everlasting covenant.