Pre-Cana: Online Marriage Prep with Agape Catholic Ministries

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Marriage, Marriage Prep

Why does the Catholic Church make us do marriage preparation?

If you’re getting married in the Catholic Church, you’ve likely heard about Pre-Cana, also known as, “Marriage Preparation!” I’ve known a lot of couples getting married in the Church. Some are both Catholic, or one is Catholic, or they’re getting a dispensation to be married outside of Mass. In any event, to some extent, a Catholic marriage will require extra work.

Where does the term Pre-Cana come from?

The Wedding Feast at Cana is where Jesus turned water into wine. This was His first public miracle, done at the need of His mother, Mary. By this miracle, Christ claimed marriage as a God-blessed union. “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Marriage is not simply a fun relationship step. Instead, it is a sacred union to be honored and cherished, between man and woman, under God. Pre-Cana is a term coined to recognize our marriages as weddings at Cana where Jesus was present and blessed the union.

But why do we have to do Marriage Preparation courses/retreats?

We have to do the preparation work because marriage is a big journey! Would you go on a long road trip without packing, checking a map, planning a route, filling up the gas? That would be ridiculous. Indeed, some of those issues could be solved along the way, however it would create a lot of strain on the journey. You’d have to stop and start and then stop and start, again. You would be forced to re-figure things out every few miles. Have you ever been driving to a new destination and gotten lost? It’s not exactly comfortable. Undoubtedly, it can ruin the trip, at least for a while.

What do we have to talk about in Pre-Cana?

In Pre-Cana, you pack information about each other’s families of origin. How will your families effect your marriage? For instance, what influence do your parents have on your decisions for careers, moving, and children? Speaking of, how will you decipher career priorities and living accommodations if you both work? Do you want to have children?  I sure hope you’re open to it, because in the Natural Family Planning course there might be some surprises!

Additionally, in Pre-Cana, you check the map of your finances. Particularly, does one of you have debt? How much? What for? Can we pay it off in a few years? In addition, you will check the route of your communication patterns. For example, what do I say that unconsciously hurts you? Likewise, what do you need from me to feel appreciated and valued in our marriage? If you haven’t been good at addressing conflict, how are you going to deal with living and sharing money together?

Furthermore, in Pre-Cana, you fill up your relationship with a spiritual arsenal. You learn about theology of the body, sexuality, and the value of marriage. Pre-Cana will help you understand the chaste intimacy of marriage, openness to life, and the grace of your sacrament.

Woah! That sounds great! Where can we do this?

Lucky for you, Agape Catholic Ministries offers online marriage preparation courses! ACM started the first national online Catholic Marriage Preparation courses in 2004. Some courses are designed for military couples, bilingual couples, con-validation, and even “rush” courses for rapidly approaching weddings. Twenty years later, ACM offers mentor-led courses, so you have an older, wiser couple to help navigate difficult topics.

Even knowing all this, Pre-Cana still feels like a chore to some couples. I would encourage you to take a step back and really think about your future marriage. People joke that you’ll wake up in ten years unable to stand each other’s voices. Well, some people do! Divorce happens left and right. Children vastly change the dynamic of marriage. Finances fail. Life happens! Why would you want to enter this life-long commitment without the help being offered? Besides… it’s a requirement!

Some couples elect to go on Engaged Encounter retreats rather than in person or online courses. The advantage of online is that you can do it as you want, when you want. You can turn Pre-Cana into date night. Cook a new dinner, do the course, go out for ice cream. Make it fun! You’re getting married after all. Enjoy it!  Find out more right here:

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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