Marriage Resources

Marriage preparation

A list of marriage preparation programs approved by the Archdiocese, and the dates they are offered, is listed on the website, www.sfarchdiocese.org/marriage, under the heading 'Marriage Preparation.' There is also an excellent online program available, approved by the Archdiocese as well and offered in both English and Spanish, at www.catholicmarriageprep.com. (If you are interested, they also offer Baptismal preparation, and Quinceañera preparation.)

The USCCB website www.foryourmarriage.org is part of the Bishop's National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. It is a treasure trove of resources, both educational and practical, for dating, engaged, and married couples.

Marriage Enrichment

Our Holy Father Francis has emphasized the need for the Church to 'walk with' couples after their wedding, much as RCIA sponsors continue to 'walk with' those they help bring into the Church. Marriage is the most important of all vocations, since it is the seedbed for everything else, and married couples need ongoing vocational formation ('marriage enrichment'), just as those in other vocations need it. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a tremendous growth in the number of resources for married couples. Some of the best are listed here.

Humanum Outstanding set of video clips on marriage, family and society from the November, 2014 Humanum conference, initiated by Pope Francis. http://humanum.it/en/videos/ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8_0_ZbhhYk

Covenant of Love/Date Night This is an initiative by the Alexander House apostolate, to offer couples a monthly opportunity for fellowship, prayer, education, and formation in marriage, led by couples in the parish. http://thealexanderhouse.org/our-outreach/ Contact Ed Hopfner at the Archdiocese for more information.

Agape Marriage Ministries This group also does the online marriage preparation program. They offer communication skills programs for couples, and a mentor program for the newly married. Both are at http://www.agapecatholicministries.com/enrichment

For Your Marriage This site, previously mentioned, has a wealth of educational and formational resources for couples, including the topic of parenting. www.foryourmarriage.org

6 dates for Catholic couples This is a program for couples to deepen and strengthen their marriage, available in English and Spanish. It can be used as a parish-level program, or by individual couples. http://www.happy-together.net/

Faith Finances Offers resources for couples to order their financial life in line with Catholic principles of stewardship. http://faithfinances.net/

Discovering our Deepest Desires New marriage enrichment program (also marriage prep resources) from the Cincinnati diocese. http://ourdeepestdesire.com/

World Wide Marriage Encounter This is the original Catholic program for married couples. It offers a weekend format, focused on deepening the couple's relationship and improving their communication skills. Weekends around the Bay Area are offered almost every month. See http://sanfranciscowwme.org/ for more information.

Christian Family Movement This is a small-group formation program in the Catholic faith for couples and families. The most active groups in the Bay Area are in the Spanish-speaking community (Movimiento Familiar Catolico Cristiano). Contact the regional coordinators.

Couples for Christ This is a small-group formation program in the Catholic faith for couples and families (also singles). Started in the Philippines, its most active expression remains in the Pilipino community. Contact the regional coordinators.

Pastoral Familiar Under the direction of Fr Moises Agudo, this is a small-group formation program for Spanish-speaking couples and families in the Archdiocese. Contact Cuauhtemoc or Sonia Alvarado for more information.

Teams of our Lady This is a small-group formation program in the Catholic faith for couples and families, which started in NY and CA. For more information, go to http://www.teamsofourlady.org/.

Family Planning

The archdiocesan website www.sfarchdiocese.org/marriage offers information on family planning, particularly using natural family planning, a modern method of fertility regulation which is science-based and medically tested. There is also information on coping with infertility (which affects 1 couple in 6), including resources that have helped many couples overcome this difficulty.

Marriage Difficulties

Retrouvaille is a weekend program, modeled on the Marriage Encounter model and in line with Catholic teaching, for couples with serious marital difficulties. It is led by couples who have been through the program previously, and have successfully 'turned around' their own marriage. Couples learn communications skills and other tools to improve their own marriages; there is a series of follow-up meetings to help them practice and improve those skills. Here http://www.retrouvaille.org/ and here http://www.retrouvaille.org/pages.php?page=14 is more information, and here http://www.retroca.com/locations--weekend-dates.html are the dates of local weekends.

Divorced and widowed

Father Al Grosskopf, SJ, leads a group for those who have lost a spouse through divorce or death. He can be contacted at Grosskopf@usfca.edu or (415) 422-6698.

While not directly related, Sister Toni Lynn Gallagher does workshops and leads groups for Grief and Consolation ministry. She can be contacted at tonilyng@aol.com or (415) 317-4436.

The Archdiocesan website also has information on ongoing grief support groups, all under the heading of Ministries.