Sacramental & Family Life

For the Engaged

Preparing for Marriage in the Diocese of Buffalo


The Church joyfully anticipates the opportunity to celebrate with you this life-changing Sacrament that, as St. Paul tells us, is the image of Christ’s love for His Church!


In accord with the custom of the Diocese of Buffalo, Catholic weddings are to be celebrated primarily in parish churches. Since the parish church is the “spiritual home” of the family of God, where life-giving sacraments are normally celebrated and since the parish is the heart of sacramental life and ministry, weddings in gardens, parks, beaches, and hotels are prohibited. Also, weddings in high school chapels, religious houses and oratories that are not attached to a parish are not permitted.

Your first step is to contact your local parish priest or deacon at least 8 to 12 months before the wedding to work out a plan to prepare for your marriage in the Church. Your parish priest or deacon will know which resources are available to you and will recommend the best possible marriage preparation given your particular circumstances. Once you have spoken with your Priest or Deacon, you can use the links below to register for a program.

Marriage Preparation experiences provide the opportunity to grow together in understanding of the sacramental nature of grace in marriage through interactions with trained team couples on topics such as communication, intimacy, everyday living, finances in daily life, while engaging you in sharing privately with your future spouse around these topics. Each marriage preparation experience offers unique aspects all designed to provide you and your future spouse with an affirming and enriching program. You will receive your Marriage Preparation Certificate at the conclusion of your program.
Any ONE of the following marriage preparation programs satisfies the requirements for marriage preparation for the Diocese of Buffalo.

Parish/Vicariate Programs

Individual parishes or groups of parishes in particular regions may have a marriage preparation process utilizing a variety of resources and different formats. This is generally the most preferred model for preparation for marriage. Your parish priest or deacon will be able to connect you with this option if it is available in your parish/area.


Marriage Preparation

  • Deacon Mark & Linda Hooper, Lake View
    (716) 627-4566 or (716) 474-9509
  • Deacon Chris & Caroline Privitera – St. Vincent de Paul, Niagara Falls (716) 283-2715 X200 Monday-Thursday 9am-3pm
  • Online course “Living Our Faith in Love”  Catholic Marriage Preparation 
  • Spanish online course (curso en línea en Español) Preparación Matrimonial Católica


Living our Faith in Love, online Marriage Preparation Program approved by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
This online program includes a premarital inventory (Catholic Couple Checkup), NFP Life – an introduction to Natural Family Planning, His and Hers downloadable discussion guides, and more.  To register and receive immediate access, go to:
Spanish Course – Español Preparación Matrimonial Católica  Marriage Preparation:
This version of the course provides the same engaging marriage prep experience to those whose primary language is Spanish. Esta versión del curso brinda la misma experiencia de una atractiva preparación matrimonial para aquellos cuyo idioma principal es el español


The Diocese has certified facilitators and trainers for these marriage preparation and marriage enrichment systems.
FOCCUS (Facilitated Open Couple Communication for Understanding and Study) is a customized and comprehensive pre-marriage inventory. This research-based tool assesses couples’ preparation on such important issues as personality/compatibility, communication, problem-solving, religion, family and friends, careers, cohabitation, parenting, sexuality, finances, and more.  It is valuable in its capacity to help you to get to the most essential aspects of your relationship, discover your individual approaches, as well as learn communication and conflict resolution skills that will enhance your lifelong union.  The advantage of FOCCUS in marriage preparation is that it “focuses” on those particular topics and issues which you identify as needing consideration or conversation.

REFOCCUS is designed to be used by a couple multiple times throughout their marriage. Growth and change are ongoing with marriage. Each time a couple uses REFOCCUS, their responses are a snap shot of that point in time.  Their current responses indicate: 

a) what needs discussing today 
b) what the couple has achieved that can be celebrated
c) what would benefit from further discussion.

REFOCCUS is ultimately about bringing awareness to major aspects of marriage.  Further, it is about the discussion that happens between the couple after taking the Inventory and the communication and problem solving that is utilized and developed.

To learn more about FOCCUS or REFOCCUS visit, or to register directly with a local Buffalo FOCCUS trained facilitator fill out the form below.


For Your Marriage:  The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provides helpful articles and resources for engaged couples planning for their marriage and their wedding day.
Together for Life Getting married and staying married can be quite a challenge! Together for Life Online was developed as a community of engaged couples, married couples, and ministers to help build strong, life-long marriages with God.

Questions? Contact Us.

For further information or if you have questions or concerns please fill out the form below or call our office at (716) 847-5510.