The Sacrament of Marriage and the Family

Vatican City, Sep 8, 2015 / 07:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a reformed marriage annulment process, Pope Francis has made significant changes, giving more of a role to the local bishop, dropping automatic appeals, and declaring the process free of charge.

Announced Tuesday, the new process is aimed at streamlining the system for granting annulments out of concern “for the salvation of souls” while affirming the longstanding Catholic teaching on marriage indissolubility.   Read more >>

Rose Sweet - "All relationships suffer when at least one person fails to infuse his or her faith into the daily details of family, work, community, or ministry."  Rose Sweet, a highly sought-after speaker on this subject, shares with us how to learn practical ways for the divorced and their families to find healing and to learn how those who care for them can help. Let Rose help you put religion in your relationships!

Jason and Cristalina Evert are an amazing young Catholic couple that preach and model chastity before marriage to young people around the country.  Jason has written a beautiful book about John Paul II and His Five Loves.  This 10 minute interview gives much food for thought for young married couples who really want to raise their family Catholic.  They have six children!  Inspiring!

Family: Key To The Covenant

Torah Scroll

All civilizations, if they are to last, must be founded on the principle of corporate life. That is, individuals must mature to the point of being able to live for others,i.e., beyond themselves. In this sense, the modern west has become an aberration. This is especially true in regards to the family. Whereas fathers and mothers should be living in service to each other and to lay down their lives for their children and the family as a whole, we see just the opposite.   The driving force in western societies is the desire to secure individual rights and personal autonomy.   This has made us self-centered rather than other-centered; a shift which has had a pernicious effect as it has distorted both society and the individual.  Read more >>

family of four

Why the New Evangelization Needs a Focus on Fathers

by Steve Wood

The New Evangelization may be a disappointment when it comes to evangelizing families if it neglects a focus on fathers. The call for a New Evangelization is a desperately needed initiative especially when it is directed at baptized Catholics who are secularized and distant from the Faith. A serious hemorrhage of Catholics, especially youth and young adults, is due to what St. John Paul II termed an “invasive secularism.”

Key to the long-term success of an evangelistic effort that results in widespread cultural transformation is the targeting of specific “people-groups” (a term used in missions and in evangelistic planning) that are keys for the conversion of others. In other words, instead of trying to evangelize everyone, the focus is put upon those who in turn will be instrumental in the conversions and reversions of others. As far as I can tell, the key “people-group” for the New Evangelization of families has yet to be identified, namely fathers.  


In This Section


Contact Information


Steve Patton

Dept. of Evangelization & Catechesis

2110 Broadway

Sacramento,  CA  95818

(916) 733-0133





Instruction in Natural Family Planning (NFP) is required of all couples preparing for the Sacramento of Marriage. The minimum requirement is a one-hour overview of information and discussion provided by persons with specific training and expertise in NFP. 


Please refer to Marriage Preparation Guidelines.


What is Natural Family Planning? 


arrowNatural Family Planning Brochure in English (PDF)

arrowNatural Family Planning Brochure in Spanish (PDF)


Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. When couples understand NFP methods and are motivated to follow them, NFP is up to 99 percent successful in spacing or limiting births.  These methods are not the old methods of the 1940s and 1950s.


Natural Family Planning reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child.  The best way to learn NFP is from a qualified instructor, who is certified through a NFP teacher-training program.

Consult with your pastor to learn about NFP opportunities nearby.  The Office of Family Life can also provide information and materials on Natural Family Planning.

Redding and Chico instructors:    

                                                                         Jenni Schaeffer 

(530) 893-5474
Creighton Method

Erika Watkins

(530) 275-5672
Billings Ovulation Method                                
Jackie Hollcraft, PAC, FCP

(530) 519-5081

Chico Fertility Care Center
Creighton Method


This will be a great way to celebrate with your valentine and loved ones. Perfect for any Marriage Preparation Program, Renewal of Vows Retreat, rehearsal dinner, or date night for discovering and deepening in the vision God has for marriage.

As always, this Retreat Guide can be watched, listened to, or read, at your convenience. It will help you strengthen your marriage and families as it opens your heart to receive new graces from God.   Read more>>

Introduction - Meditation 1  Meditation 2  Conference

THE SEVEN BIG MYTHS ABOUT MARRIAGE speaks the truth about the reality of marriage which is quite contrary to myths the media and the world promote.  This trailer will give a good idea about this book which can be purchased if anyone has the interest.  

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March 10, 2014 

Editor’s Note:  Today, we are pleased to introduce Greg and Julie Alexander.  Greg and Julie are co-founders and co-directors of The Alexander House Apostolate, a Catholic, lay apostolate – based in San Antonio – dedicated to proclaiming the beauty, goodness and truth of God’s plan for marriage.  They’ve helped thousands of couples heal and restore […]

Guard Your Mouth to a Happier Marriage
Aug 27, 2014 03:35 am | Patti Maguire Armstrong

Guard Your Mouth to a Happier Marriage When we say I do we should also say, I won’t—I won’t use my words to hurt my spouse. Infidelity, addictions, and other major destructive behaviors can inflict mortal wounds on a marriage.  But perhaps the greatest sources of damage on relationships are the seemingly less harmful ones, […]

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Must Catholics Marry in Catholic Ceremonies?

FEBRUARY 17, 2014 BY    


Q:  Many of my friends’ children that insist they are Catholic got married in Episcopal, Lutheran (on a beach with uncle presiding) etc. type of ceremony. Are they still free to receive at Mass? Are they considered married in the Catholic Church? This is “no big deal” now a days? Would appreciate the Church’s view on this matter.

A: The situations you allude to are more complicated than you might think.  Unfortunately, I can’t give a general answer that would clarify things for each case.  But I can offer a few initial reflections that may help you navigate these treacherous waters.  If you want to dig deeper into some of the implications, I can recommend a book by Jim Blackburn, Catholic apologist, called “101 Quick Questions with Catholic Answers: Marriage, Divorce, and Annulment.”  If you want to reflect and pray about God’s vision for marriage, I can recommend an online, do-it-yourself retreat that I recently recorded called “Three Hearts: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Marriage.”  You can find it here:  Now, a few reflections about the cases you refer to.


Deacon James Keating's newest book, Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness affirms that the sharing of hearts is a necessary commitment in both marriage and prayer. If we can learn what the key elements to sharing the heart are and equally what the key elements to receiving the heart of another are, then we will know the greatest of intimacy in both prayer and marriage. The mingling of the love of spouse with and in the love of God is and has always been the foundation for a life of peace, creativity, and vibrancy, not to mention sanctity. In fact, we cannot even understand what marriage is unless we look at how Christ loved His Bride, the Church, till the end (Jn 13:1). For the baptized, Christ has joined His love for the Church to the Sacrament of Marriage and Marriage, to His love for the Church. Each couple is called to allow Jesus to bring them into this great love of His. The couple is not supposed to do all the work of love; they are called to let Jesus gift them with His own spousal love. In other words, couples should let Jesus live His spousal love for the Church over again in their own love for one another. They do this by simply asking Him in prayer to do so and by sharing their needs and desires with Him. Marriage is not a self-help relationship; it is a deep partnership with Christ.

How to Relate to a Family Member Who Says He or She has a Same-sex Attraction:  

This video gives very practical suggestions that reflect both Church teaching and Christian charity. This priest has had 50 years of experience of working with those who choose the homosexual lifestyle and their families.

COURAGE is an international apostolate of the Catholic Church which ministers to persons with same-sex attractions.




12 Hours to a Great Marriage
A guide for lasting love
Thriving Marriages
A guide to happiness
Marriage As Gift
A Catholic appproach


The Five Languages
of Love

Head of the Family
Christian fatherhood in the modern world
First Comes Love
Find your family in the Church and the Trinity
Three to Get Married If Only He Knew:
What No Woman Can Resist
For Better, for Worse, for God:
Exploring the Holy Mystery of Marriage
If anyone would like to read one of the above books, request the title mentioned above and- See more at:

Why a Catholic Marriage?  This video explains the value and importance of a solid marriage preparation before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony.

July 5
July 5


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