Post # 1
I posted a link to this in the Houston forum as well, because it is specific to Houston Catholics. Please don’t delete it, admins – I don’t know how else to best reach my target question-answerers! 🙂
My FI and I are getting married out of state in his hometown, but we currently live here in Houston and need to find a place to do our required marriage prep. We travel too much to really have a certain parish we “belong” to yet – and who knows, we might be out of Houston again before we find one – but we need to pick one for this pretty soon.
However, I’ve heard horror stories of discouraging experiences. My FI is very much turned off from people (instructors very much included) that act preachy and holier-than-thou. Also, we both want to feel like we’re not just filling out worksheets and filling a quota; we want a meaningful experience that will teach us more about each other and really explore practical marriage issues.
Can anybody recommend specific parish programs you took part in in or are in currently that were in-depth, educational, positive experiences? Or any programs that weren’t for one reason or another?
My post in Houston is here – http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/houston-catholic-bees-looking-for-a-positive-marriage-prep-experience?replies=1#post-
Post # 3
Well, I think the marriage prep process is pretty standard diocese-wide. We did our marraige prep at a church in Cypress (a NW Houston suburb), but I think it’s similar everywhere. You’ll take the FOCCUS test (which was actually a fun conversation starter… DH and I answered the same on almost everything, but those few we didn’t brought up great discussions!) and meet with a priest. Some churches have you go over the FOCCUS test with a priest or counseler. We also went on the Engaged Encounter retreat that the dicoese hosts and really enjoyed it! I think most parishes let you choose between the Engaged Encounter retreat and a series of meetings with just the two of you and a sponsor couple, but I’d definitely recommend Engaged Encounter! Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. 🙂
Post # 4
I got married in Indiana, but my husband lived in the Woodlands when we were wedding planning and we did our prep all there. We did our FOCCUS and some meetings with a priest at his parish, and we did the Engaged Encounter retreat sponsored by the diocese. We did not especially get on with the priest who did the FOCCUS with us, but I still think that going through the process was helpful.
We had a great experience with the diocesan Engaged Encounters. We got a lot out of the weekend, and felt like the lead couples for our weekend were great. They did only a brief chat about NFP, nothing too preachy, and there were couples from all sorts of situations (some living together, some with kids, etc) and it never seemed judgy. The weekend was really all about you as a couple–I felt like we spent much more time journaling and sharing with each other than we spent in the group sessions.
Post # 5
Hey there! We are/were in the same boat. I am just here in Houston for a year, but I became a member at the parish I live in boundry for. They have been very accomodating with our situation (I can give you the exact name of the parish over PM).
My fiance does not live in Houston and was deployed for the majority of my time here, so we had to kind of do everything differently. The Houston/Galveston Archdiociese recognizes the online marriage prep http://www.catholicmarriageprep.com so that’s what we did. We are not doing FOCUS b/c my fiance will not come to Houston while I’m still living here, and he does not have a parish where he lives, since he just got home from overseas. Obviously, we aren’t doing an engaged encounter either. I wish we could have done both, but logistically it’s not going to happen. The online class was just okay (I felt like I did all the work; emailing your answers back and forth is not quite the same), but it at least checked the box for us. So, that probably doesn’t help you, based upon your post. I would have liked something more meaningful too, but it didn’t work out for us to do that.
I did the NFP class by myself here in Houston. I was skeptical but LOVED the instructors, and I learned a lot. I would honestly recccomend it, even if you are unsure if that’s the route you want to take. You learn a ton and it will be helpful info at least for when you want to conceive someday.
Hope that helps somewhat.