Beginning a marriage is perhaps the most important step that people take in their lives. It is an event for which life often prepares us poorly. While love is the foundation of marriage, love alone cannot be our only preparation for marriage, for married life may be difficult and may feel "less-than-loving" at times. The church cares deeply for couples entering the sacrament of marriage and offers these Pre-Cana sessions as part of the preparation for your life together. These marriage preparation sessions will assist you in discovering within your relationship those significant areas of strength and uniqueness upon which to build a lasting, loving marriage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why must we attend these sessions? Are they mandatory?
In view of the many stresses which affect marriage in today's society, the Catholic Church wants to help engaged couples to think and communicate more fully about areas of married life which may or may not have been discussed before. As you may be aware, matrimony is a sacrament and in the Catholic Church, all sacraments (with the exception of anointing of the sick) require some form of preparation on the part of the adult, parent, or child. Participation in a marriage preparation process/program prior to the sacrament of matrimony is the policy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
What will take place at these sessions?
Pre-Cana Conference is 12 hours in length; group size is limited according to space restrictions on campus. Loyola employees and spouses present on topics of communication, family of origin/roles, faith and spirituality, conflict resolution, family and parenting, and finance and decision making based on their own life experiences. You'll be asked to listen to presentations on these topics and engage in personal sharing with your future spouse. Couples will be able to discuss topic areas not discussed in depth during the dating process. Couples will have the opportunity to ask other couples "best" practices and strategies for preparing and enduring a healthy marriage. Couples will receive access to the FOCCUS online assessment information to complete and discuss with their priest and/or deacon in the preparation process.
When should we register?
The Archdiocesan policy "Marriage in the Lord" requests that you both, as an engaged couple, contact the priest or deacon to witness your wedding at least six months before your proposed wedding day. The priest or deacon will act as principal advisor in your formal marriage preparation process. You should discuss with your presider which form of formal Marriage Preparation is best for your situation. Since each Pre-Cana series fills quickly, please register for the marriage preparation program immediately after that first interview with your clergy advisor.
Our next Pre-Cana Conference: 2021 dates and format TBD (may be in person, online, or hybrid)
Campus Ministry offers Pre-Cana classes for couples who are associated with the University. Classes are held once a year in the spring, and generally take place over the course of a weekend. The cost is $200 including a meal for each day of the conference. When filling out the application, please indicate if you have any dietary needs. We do not provide accommodations on campus for out of town guests as school is generally in session when our Pre-Cana classes are offered. If needed, we will provide a list of hotels in the local area. As you may know, these conferences are designed to meet the diocesan requirement for engaged couples. The certificate showing that you have participated in these conferences will be part of your permanent wedding record file and sent to you via email afterwards.
First priority for registrations will be for couples who are celebrating their wedding ceremony in the Loyola Alumni Chapel. Second priority is for Loyola Alumnus celebrating their wedding ceremony at another parish. If there is available space, we will open registrations to non-Loyola affiliates. If you are not celebrating your marriage in the Loyola Alumni Chapel you MUST have a conversation with the Loyola Wedding Coordinator before registering online. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The classes will run each day from approximately 10 a.m. - 4 pm in Cohn Hall (located underneath the chapel). Final details will be confirmed closer to the weekend.
If either of you has been married before or has children, Loyola's program is not the best option for you. The Archdiocese of Baltimore offers a Remarriage Program that better suits your needs. Please contact the Archdiocese of Baltimore at 410-547-5406 about the possibility of enrolling in their Remarriage Program. Another option is Remarriage Programs offered through parishes. You may contact your parish to see if one is available.
Our registration forms are found on our Forms and Documents page. Please do not register until dates for our 2021 session are published.
If you are no longer able to attend the conference after registering, the following refund policy is in place:
More than 1 month prior to the conference: full refund
Less than 1 month prior to the conference: $150 refund
Archdiocese of Baltimore Pre-Cana Conferences
The Archdiocese of Baltimore offers Pre-Cana classes for Baltimore couples at a variety of locations throughout the year. Please contact the marriage preparation and enrichment office to inquire about class availability, ask questions, or to register for their classes. Contact information:
Marriage Preparation and Enrichment
Archdiocese of Baltimore
320 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Baltimore Catholic Engaged Encounter Conferences
The Engaged Encounter weekend utilizes a dynamic process based on listening, writing, and dialogue. The process encourages the engaged couple to concentrate on building a relationship. The weekend extends from 7:30 p.m. Friday evening to approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Free from the pressures and distractions of daily living, the engaged couple has the opportunity to concentrate exclusively on each other, while examining the essential issues they will encounter within the marriage relationship.
The design of the Weekend encourages the couple to explore mutual strengths and weaknesses, goals, aspirations and attitudes concerning family life, children, sexuality, finances, the church, and society. The couples are encouraged to communicate in terms of planning their marriage, not only a wedding day celebration.
All weekends are held at Holy Trinity Spiritual Center in Pikesville. Please direct any questions or inquiries regarding these weekends to the Engaged Encounter office at the address and telephone number below:
Baltimore Catholic Engaged Encounter
P.O. Box 255
Joppa, MD 21085 -0255
Also, we strongly recommend viewing the For Your Marriage website prior to your wedding preparation program and throughout your marriage.