Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pre-Cana Weekend

Last post to catch you all up on the process: 

Being Catholic, and planning to get married in the Catholic church, we are required to complete pre-cana. This was the most recent thing we completed in our preparations, so you'll be all up to date on the wedding planning at the end of this post.

The "when" and "how": I've heard and read about several different ways the course is set up. Some churches have pre-cana set up as a one day marathon of talks and discussions. Other churches treat it as a real course in which you go for 1 hour once a week for 6 weeks. Ours was a weekend in which we were to attend a 5 hour session Saturday and a 4 hour session Sunday, including a mass. Villanova offers only 3 weekends a year to choose from and they book up fast. We opted for April this year instead of waiting until November '12 or February '13 because I'll be new to the workforce, have no idea where I'll be working, what my schedule will look like, or how much time off I'll be allowed. The weekend was technically booked, but the coordinator sneaked us in because of our situation.

A word of advice: If you are Catholic and need to do pre-cana (I don't know if other christian religions have the same thing or something similar... anyone know?), look into this immediately after booking your date so you can plan accordingly. Every parish has different requirements and regardless of the length of your engagement you will want to at least have an idea of where and how pre-cana will fall into your timeline.

The "who" and "what": We were one of 35 couples to attend out pre-cana weekend. It was hosted by Villanova's wedding coordinator and the "pre-cana team." This team consisted of an individual who I'll call the moderator, 3 married couples, and a priest. The moderator guided us through the talks and introduced the speakers, and the priest offered an opportunity for reconciliation and gave the mass on Sunday. The couples spoke on 4 topics, communication, finances, sexuality, and spirituality. These topics were chosen because, as the moderator put it, "The three biggest things couples fight about or divorce over is money, sex, and God, in that order. And its all usually related to a lack of communication." After each presentation, we took 10 minutes to write our feelings about the topic, and then 10 minutes to talk to our fiance about what we wrote.

There were no discussions about pre-marital sex, or living together before getting married, or any of the things you might fear to come up at pre-cana. It was a weekend to reflect on the issues of marriage, as opposed to the issues of getting married. Most of the topics and questions were issues Howie and I have already talked about, or have tip-toed around, so it was a good opportunity to reflect on what we already agreed on, or decide how we would progress together if we disagreed.  All in all, it was a stepping stone and something we were able to check off the list.

Side note: Because the couples usually come from far away, Villanova was crafty and set up a 2 hour music session at the church Saturday night in which we got to hear samples of the musical selections to be played/sung during the ceremony for us to choose what music we want to play. We were required to choose musicians, instruments and cantors provided by Villanova. It was really a nice treat to do some planning as just the two of us.  This will probably vary depending by church so another thing to keep in mind is who provides the music during the ceremony. 

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