Pre-Cana Program and Classes

Preparing for Marriage

“Marriage is the most beautiful thing that God has created.”                     Pope Francis, Address, 1 October 2016

By now you have probably figured out the difference between preparing for the wedding and preparing for the marriage. Wedding preparations concern the details of the celebration of the wedding day—a special day marking the beginning of your sacramental life together.  Marriage preparation begins even before engagement and continues into your married years:  it is a look at life as a married couple.  Marriage preparation is really a formation or enrichment process that involves your whole self and is directed toward living a happy and holy life with your spouse.


Couples should contact their pastor, priest, or deacon as soon as possible to assist with marriage preparation.  If you are not parishioners in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, you should reach out to the pastor of the parish in which you are preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage.  The couple should communicate with their marrying clergy regularly to ensure that everything is in order concerning the sacrament.  Couples are encouraged to speak with their pastor, priest, or deacon to learn more about how to get involved in the parish community.  Marrying clergy can then connect the couple with the Diocesan Office for Marriage and Family Life to begin the process of registering for the Pre-Cana program in the Diocese of Wilmington.

The Diocese of Wilmington provides an excellent educational component, Life Skills for Couples, through Ascension Press, as the required marriage preparation course in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.  Life Skills for Couples is specifically designed to introduce the couple to the rich and engaging teachings of the Catholic faith and the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Throughout this process, the couple will gain insight into themselves as individuals and as part of a couple. Practical advice and spiritual resources will be shared with the couple that will support a life-long and joyful Catholic marriage.   Click here to register for Life Skills AFTER Step One.

The Church invites all Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually prior to their marriage by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The regular practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation keeps marriages healthy and strong.


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recognizes the importance of promoting holy and healthy marriages. On the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, you can find information on the Church’s teaching regarding marriage and family; resources for engaged couples and marriage at every stage; encouragement for living family life as a domestic church; and news of ongoing initiatives of the USCCB that support and promote marriage and family life. Click here for resources from the USCCB.

For your Marriage is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that provides resources for couples at all stages of life.  From dating to marriage, to family planning, information is available to help understand and live God’s plan for happy, holy marriages.   These pages provide resources for Engaged Couples.

Marriage Unique for a Reason is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that offers resources to educate Catholics on why marriage is unique and why it should be promoted and protected as the union of one man and one woman. Click here.

Nuptial Mass Readings – The readings at a Catholic wedding liturgy are a proclamation of God’s Word and of the Church’s faith about marriage. For this reason, they are limited to readings from the scriptures (the Bible). Learn more.

Convalidation: Bringing Your Marriage into The Church is intended to give a basic overview of the convalidation process. Because every couple’s situation is unique and because practices related to the implementation of the process may vary from diocese to diocese, persons interested in pursuing a convalidation and/or a declaration of nullity should speak with their parish priest or a professional at the local Tribunal.  Click here.


Sacrament of Marriage by Catholic Central – Marriage is one of the most common institutions across every time and culture.  But what do Catholics mean when they talk about Marriage?  Why are there so many rules around it?  Click Here – Marriage – Catholic Central

Sacrament of Marriage by Bishop Barron – Bishop Baron reflects on his niece’s wedding and how they have become living symbols of Christ the Bridegroom’s ecstatic love for his Bride, the Church. Click Here – Bishop Barron

Coffee Talk with Fr. Brad – Everything You Wanted to know about Marriage Prep – This video details many aspects of marriage preparation.  The requirements in the Diocese of Wilmington may differ; however, this resource does provide information that you may find helpful. Click Here – Coffee Talk with Fr. Brad

Looking Ahead – Pre-Cana Classes – 2024/2025

July – * No Pre-Cana classes in July January 7 – (6:30-8:00pm)
August 22 – (6:30-8:00pm) – FULL January 25 – (8:30-10:00am)
September 7 – (8:30-10:00am) February 5 – (6:30-8:00pm)
September 17 – (6:30-8:00pm) February 22 – (8:30-10:00am)
October 12 – (8:30-10:00am) March 8 – (8:30-10:00am)
October 22 – (6:30-8:00pm) March 19 – (6:30-8:00pm)
November 2 – (8:30-10:00am) April 5 – (8:30-10:00am)
November 12 – (6:30-8:00pm) April 29 – (6:30-8:00pm)
December 3 – (6:30-8:00pm) May 17 – (8:30-10:00am)

Friendly Reminder:  There are only 1-2 virtual Pre-Cana sessions per month with a limited number of participants per class. All course registrations are closed two weeks before the class OR once a course has 15 couples registered (Full).   Because of the self-completion part of the program, couples must register for the Pre-Cana courses at least 3-4 months before the date.