Marriage Preparation

Knowing that marriage and the family constitute one of the most precious of human values, the Church wishes to speak and offer her help to those who are already aware of the value of marriage and the family and seek to live it faithfully, to those who are uncertain and anxious and searching for the truth, and to those who are unjustly impeded from living freely their family lives.

Pope John Paul II - On the Family

Hello, my name is Barbara Lishko and I coordinate marriage preparation and marriage enrichment here at St. Andrew the Apostle.

St. Andrew the Apostle invites couples who are engaged or married to join us as we celebrate the beauty of married life. Below you will find listed some helpful information to get you started and provide you with a brief overview of the diocesan marriage preparation programs. I am here at St. Andrew to assist you with your marriage preparation, convalidation, and wedding. Please contact me to the right to request an appointment.

"Dear Engaged Couples" article by Barb Lishko

General Information

We welcome the engaged to contact us as they begin preparations for their wedding day.
Contact: Barbara Lishko Marriage and Family Life

What is Marriage?

Why a 9 month preparation process?
To prepare couples adequately to live their call to holiness through the Sacrament of Marriage. The Catholic Church wants your marriage to succeed and has outlined a process to help you both grow in love, and a deeper understanding of one another through a better understanding of the Sacrament.

Where do we begin?
After you are engaged and before you set the wedding date: Contact Barbara Lishko or call; 480-899-1990 x 142 to set up an appointment for an interview.

What can we expect at the interview?
The interview will be an opportunity for us to get to know one another, collect basic information and go over the whole preparation process in greater detail.

Then what happens next?
You will both complete a FOCCUS Inventory (no fee).The FOCCUS Inventory is a marriage preparation inventory, which is a series of questions designed to assist dialogue with your fiancé regarding goals, habits, expectations and values. Your answers are scored, assessed. The inventory is an important starting place for couple discussion and a map of what issues need affirmation, time and attention, and/or problem solving. Once completed you are contacted by mentor couple to go over the results. ($50 fee)

Gathering Documents

For all Catholics: Baptism Certificate issued within 9 months of the wedding date. Request the Church of Baptism to forward a baptism certificate "with notations". We can help locate churches of Baptism if you do not know how to contact them.

If possible, Catholics are also requested to submit photocopies of their 1st Communion and Confirmation certificates.

For non-Catholics: If the non-Catholic is a baptized Christian, we will need a certificate or letter from the Church of Baptism verifying the date. If this is not possible, we will use another means to verify baptismal status. If the non-Catholic is not a baptized Christian, no documents are required.

You may also be given "Affidavits of Free Status" which are to be completed by people who have known you for all or most of your life (i.e., parents, siblings, aunts or uncles)and signed in the presence of a priest or Church employee.

Marriage Prep Courses

Life Skills Class- There are a variety of opportunities available to satisfy this requirement and I will be able to tell you about them in our meeting. These classes focus on many useful sessions from communication and conflict management to finances and family of origin.

The God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage is a awesome class based on Scripture and Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body." It helps couples understand not only what the Church teaches about marriage and sexuality, but why she teaches it. It presents a beautiful vision of the meaning of marriage.

Natural Family Planning- To ensure you have the tools to plan your family effectively and in accord with God’s plan for marriage, you will have the opportunity to learn about Natural Family Planning by taking a full course in an approved NFP method. The diocese has classes scheduled in over 30 locations. To search for classes by city, parish or NFP method and to register for classes on-line, please visit the Office of NFP website:

There are also on-line options available for some of these courses if that works better for your circumstances.

Wedding Planning Time - No Fee

Once you have your documents together, and have completed the marriage preparation course, the theology course, and Natural Family Planning course, call the parish to schedule a final “planning meeting” with Barb. You will be given a planning book that contains choices for prayers, vows, and readings. Music for the wedding will be planned separately with our Music and Liturgy staff. After meeting with the pastor or his representative, it’s time to begin to plan other areas of your wedding.

Call our parish to schedule a meeting with one of our Music and Liturgy persons. They will help choose appropriate wedding music and assist in the hiring of musicians for your wedding. You may choose to bring in musicians of your own rather than use our musicians, but your music plan needs to be approved.

Wedding Planning Part Three (Wedding Coordinator) - A wedding coordinator is assigned to each couple to review your wedding preparations. The Wedding Coordinator will be at the rehearsal and will conduct it if the priest is not present to do sol. Her responsibilities include opening the Church for you one hour before your wedding, to be present before, during and after the wedding to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Why so many preparatory steps?

  • The preparation policy is set by the Diocese of Phoenix.
  • The emphasis is on facilitating the deepening of the relationship of the couple so that our people enter into marriage with a strong, loving, wise foundation.
  • We also emphasize the couple's relationship to God and through that hope to deepen their appreciation of God's role in a successful and enduring marriage.

Marriage is the “most intimate of human friendships. Marriage calls for a mutual self surrender so intimate and complete that the two spouses become “one” yet without losing their uniqueness as persons”

Christopher West