Marriage Preparation

“The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament. –  Catechism of the Catholic Church 1660

What Every Couple Should Know About Marriage and Prayer
by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

“How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church…? How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service…undivided in spirit and flesh” – Tertullian


Engaged couples wishing to be married at St. Gregory’s complete a four-step marriage preparation program. The four steps are: FOCCUS, God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage, Natural Family Planning and Lead Couple Sessions/Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend. While completing this program, the couple also begins to work with the parish Wedding Coordinator who helps organize the ceremony itself.

Step 1: FOCCUS

FOCCUS (Facilitate Open, Caring Communication Understanding and Study) is a pre-marriage compatibility assessment. This program helps the engaged couple understand and communicate openly about important topics. By each taking an inventory of their backgrounds and beliefs, the couple can compare and contrast their results, which will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of their relationship. This helps facilitate discussions in order to build a strong foundation for their marriage. FOCCUS completes step one of the four-step diocesan marriage preparation process.

Meetings: FOCCUS consists of two meetings, both of which are held at St. Gregory’s. During the first meeting, the engaged couple completes an assessment inventory form, which takes an hour. During the second meeting, which takes two or more hours, they compare and discuss the results. Engaged couples can register by calling the Parish Office.

Volunteers: St. Gregory’s is looking for 2 or 3 FOCCUS counselors to share the responsibility of assisting engaged couples at this important stage in their relationship. FOCCUS counselors must be licensed, professional, experienced counselors.

Step 2: God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage

The program is based on the vision of Pope Paul II’s Theology of the Body and its purpose is to meditate on God’s plan for married life. Theology of the Body is the study of God and the purpose of one’s existence, as discovered and revealed through one’s body. The program unveils how to understand oneself, the vocation of marriage and the call of God to be fruitful through the session’s two parts: “Catholic Faith and Your Marriage” and “Sacramental Sexuality.” The cost of $50/couple covers the workbooks, a resource book, and a light lunch. This class is the second of the four diocesan marriage preparation requirements.

Meetings: Currently, this one-day Program is offered only in St. Joseph and Kansas City on the second Saturday of the month from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration must take place in advance directly through the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph website.


Volunteers: St. Gregory’s is in need of one or two married couples from the Parish to attend a diocesan training that will enable them to teach this class to engaged couples in Maryville. Otherwise, all engaged couples must drive to St. Joseph or Kansas City for this required class.

Step 3: Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a reproductive health monitoring tool, which teaches couples how to achieve or to avoid pregnancy in marriage using natural means. The diocese requires engaged couples attend a one-hour introductory session of NFP; however, follow-up sessions are recommended in order to better understand the woman’s patterns and to discover any infertility signs.

This Program is also available to single women and other individuals interested in learning more about Natural Family Planning.

The introduction session costs $40 couple/individual participant. Some insurance companies cover this cost, and other financial assistance is available if needed. This introductory NFP class completes step three of the diocesan marriage preparation process.

Meetings: To register in Maryville please contact us at, e-mail: for the dates of upcoming classes at St. Francis Hospital. Registration must be completed at least one week prior to the class date or the class may be cancelled. To register in St. Joseph or Kansas City, contact the Fertility Care Center of Kansas City to check the class dates and to register (816-858-0198 /

Volunteers: Our Maryville community needs one or two women who are willing to become certified NFP teachers so that they can regularly teach the introductory class as well as any follow-up sessions for interested women and couples. For more information about being certified, contact the Fertility Care Center of Kansas City.

Step 4: Lead Couple's Session

There are two options for the fourth step of the Marriage Preparation Program. One option is to attend Lead Couples Sessions. At the two Lead Couples Sessions, engaged couples meet with local married lead couples. The program uses the When Families Marry workbooks, which reveal what each person brings to the relationship from their family of origin. The engaged couple learns about how their marriage will be the merging of two family histories, values and beliefs and will now begin as a “new creation.”

Sessions: Lead Couples Sessions are held three times a year: once in the spring, once in the summer, and once in the winter. Each session includes two Sunday classes held from 1-4 p.m. at St. Gregory’s. Engaged couples need to register by contacting the Parish Office at least one month prior to the sessions. Once couples have registered, the exact dates of the classes will be set. A $25/couple fee includes the cost for the workbooks. The sessions may be cancelled if not enough engaged couples register in advance.

Volunteers: Married couples, who have been married for five or more years, are needed to attend a diocesan training. With this training, they will be able to facilitate the sessions for couples in the Maryville area.

Marriage Prep: Divorce, Annulments, & RCIA

If you and/or your fiancé or spouse has had a divorce and are now seeking to be married again in the Catholic Church, please read contact our Annulment Advocate and visit the diocesan website.

Visit Diocesan Website
The annulment must be completed before beginning the marriage prep process or RCIA process.

Marriage Validations

Are you and/or your current spouse Catholic? And were you married outside the Catholic Church but now wish to have your marriage validated (or blessed) by the Church in order to receive the sacraments? If so, please contact us and a priest or Marriage Prep Coordinator will be glad to assist you.