The Diocese of Covington Family Life Ministry
Department of Catechesis and Formation

Programs to Build Strong Families and Individuals
Marriage Preparation
Among the programs offered are the popular Engaged Encounter, Evenings for the Engaged, Living Marriage as Sacrament (LMAS), and the Mentor Couple Program, offering the highly informative and interactive FOCCUS Pre-Marriage Inventory.

Programs for Engaged Couples

YOU’RE ENGAGED!

Congratulations! Because the Catholic Church and your diocesan community wants couples to form strong, lasting marriages, all engaged couples wishing to marry in the Diocese of Covington are required to:

  1. Contact the parish priest at least nine to twelve months before your wedding to set an initial appointment and to start your marriage preparations.
  2. Attend one of the three listed marriage preparation programs three to six months prior to your wedding. Since marriage preparation programs often fill quickly, it is wise to register two to three months before the program date. See course and registration information below.
  3. Attend a certified Natural Family Planning course. It is preferable to attend this course after attending your marriage preparation program, if possible. NFP courses require a three month commitment and fill quickly, so register early. See course and registration information below.

There are certain situations in which the Church believes engaged couples could benefit from more intensive preparation. These include pre-marital pregnancy and extreme youth (one or both partners age 19 or under). In such cases contact your pastor or Catholic Charities (859-581-8974) for individualized pre-marital counseling.

LIVING MARRIAGE AS SACRAMENT

This program is held on two consecutive Saturdays with large group presentation, private couple interaction, and small group discussion. The focus is on a couple’s relationship and the beauty and importance of the Sacrament of Matrimony.Time: 9:00 a.m.– 3:00 p.m.

Dates and locations:

2018
January – February, St. Timothy Parish – Brodnick Hall
April, St. Timothy Parish – Brodnick Hall
June, St. Timothy Parish – Brodnick Hall
September, St. Timothy Parish – Brodnick Hall

Cost per couple is $85.

For exact dates and to register, go to the Diocese of Covington registration site for Living Marriage as Sacrament.

EVENINGS FOR THE ENGAGED

A small group of engaged couples meet in the home of a marriage ministry couple one evening per week for five weeks. This combines sharing by the lead couple with small group discussions. You must be able to make all five sessions. Please call to check availability.Time: Usually 7:30–9:30p.m.

Dates: Dates vary
Cost: $50 per couple
Contact: For more information and dates of the program,
email George and Terri Brass.

COVINGTON-CINCINNATI CATHOLIC
ENGAGED ENCOUNTER

The two day, one night weekend retreat offered by the Diocese of Covington’s Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE) ministry offers couples a unique opportunity to look at their commitment to each other in a deeper way as they prepare for marriage. Free from the pressure and distractions of the outside world, couples are given 30 plus hours to honestly and intensively dialogue about their prospective lives together. Two married couples make up the presenting team and share brief stories about their marriages and the impact of the Sacrament of Matrimony on their lives, with the goal of encouraging participants to explore their own attitudes and expectations. The team also offers couples ideas on how to continue to love each other, even amid the pressures of the world. The engaged couples should anticipate discussing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, desires, and ambitions, as well as their attitudes about money, sex, children, family, and the role of the church and society in their future marriages. Our motto is “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” Most people spend huge amounts of money and many months planning for their wedding. CEE is about preparing for what most hope will last 50 or 60 years—your marriage.

Our partners, Cincinnati Engaged Encounter, offer 3 day-2 night retreat weekends.

2018 Dates for Engaged Encounter

Covington Diocese Cincinnati Diocese
January 13-14 February 16-18
March 17-18 April 6-8
September 8-9 June 1-3
October 5-7

2019 Dates for Engaged Encounter
TENTATIVE

Covington Diocese Cincinnati diocese
February 23-24 January 11-13
March 23-24 April 5-7
April 13-14 June 1-2
September 21-22 October 11-13

Covington Diocese Times: Saturday 8:00 a.m. – Sunday 3:00 p.m.
Cincinnati Diocese Times: Friday 7:30 p.m. – Sunday 2:00 p.m.

Kentucky Location:
Saint Anne Retreat Center
5275 St. Anne Drive
Melbourne, Kentucky 41059

Cincinnati Location: Sessions are held at the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood, OH.

Covington Diocese Cost: $210 per couple
Cincinnati Diocese Cost: $245 per couple

Registration: To register, go to the Covington-Cincinnati Engaged Encounter website. For more information contact Al or Melinda Kovacic by e-mail, or 859-757-6808. Sessions are listed for both Covington and Cincinnati.

NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING

Natural Family Planning courses consist of three classes spaced one month apart. The date given for each course below indicates the first class. The listed schedule may not be complete as new courses are frequently added.

To register for a course, and for an up-to-date schedule, visit www.ccli.org or call the Couple to Couple League, (513) 471-2000. The cost is $140 per couple. NOTE: CCL’s online course is not approved under any circumstances for couples being married in the Diocese of Covington.

The Couple to Couple League offers three programs. Not all of these programs are approved by the Diocese of Covington. Please read the diocesan regulations before you register for an NFP course.
Diocesan regulations for Natural Family Planning are explained here on our website.

2018 Schedule

January 15 Monday Immaculate Heart of Mary Church 6:30 p.m.
February 10 Saturday  St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Ft. Thomas 10:00 a.m.
February 11 Sunday St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood 6:30 p.m.
March 5 Monday Immaculate Heart of Mary 6:30 p.m.
April 24 Tuesday Mother of God Church 6:30 p.m.
May 12 Saturday St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Ft. Thomas 10:00 a.m.
May 20 Sunday St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood 6:30 p.m.
July 17 Tuesday Mother of God Church 6:30 p.m.
August 12 Sunday St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood 6:30 p.m.
September 8 Saturday St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Ft. Thomas 10:00 a.m.
October 16 Tuesday Mother of God Church 6:30 p.m.
November 11 Sunday St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood 6:30 p.m.

The Couple to Couple League offers instruction in Spanish. For information or to register for a class (in Spanish only), contact:

Silvia Schmidt, CCL Teacher
513-471-2000, ext. 1031
859-380-2814, cell
Or by email, sschmidt@ccli.org

Miss Schmidt does not have information regarding classes in English.

NOTE: If you are divorced or widowed, discuss with your priest/deacon what preparation program would be best for you.

Scholarships, based on need, are available for all programs. A letter of request and/or a financial aid application may be required.


DIRECTIONS

St. Anne ConventEngaged Encounter

St. Anne Retreat Center
5275 St. Anne Drive
Melbourne, KY 41059
(859)441-2003

Take I-275 East in Kentucky to the Alexandria Exit (US 27 South/I-471 South.) Drive south on US 27 to Rt. 1998. Turn left on Rt. 1998. Turn right on Rt. 8. Turn right into St. Anne Drive. At the end of a long, tree-lined drive, the retreat center is the second building on the right.

Mary Queen of Heaven ParishLMAS

Mary Queen of Heaven Parish
1150 Donaldson Road
Erlanger, KY 41018-1048
859-525-6909

I-75 to Erlanger Exit (184). West on Donaldson Rd. Mary Queen is on the right.

St. Pius X Parish – LMAS

St. Pius X Church
348 Dudley Road
Edgewood, KY 41017-2698
859-341-4900

I-75 to I-275 East. I-275 to Turkeyfoot Rd. Exit (82). South on Turkeyfoot Rd. Left on Dudley Rd. St. Pius X is on the left.

St. Timothy ParishLMAS

St. Timothy Church
10272 Highway 42
Union, KY 41091-0120
859-384-1100

I-75 to Florence/Union Exit (180). South on US 42 approximately 4.4 miles. St. Timothy is on the left, across from Ryle High School.

Information Brochure

A brochure listing the programs for engaged couples is available for download. This brochure does not list specific dates. To select a date for your program, go to the indicated website, or call the person/s listed.

Why do Engaged Couples Need Marriage Preparation?

Why Do Engaged Couples Need Marriage Preparation?

With the guidance and shared experiences of married facilitators, engaged couples:

  • Explore their strengths and weaknesses
  • Discuss compromises, and
  • Develop tools they can use to work through areas of difficulty before they become threats to the marriage relationship.

The time to discuss and reflect on the potential for a relationship is before the wedding. While marriage preparation may be just one step in the lifelong commitment to a relationship, it is a crucial one that can greatly benefit the couple throughout their marriage.

What the Catholic Church Believes about Marriage

What the Catholic Church Believes About Marriage

Old Testament

According to Sacred Scripture, God instituted marriage as the pinnacle of creation. On the sixth day, in the first creation story, the Book of Genesis tells us: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it'” (Genesis 1: 27-28). In the second creation story, God says that “it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” (Genesis 2:18). This suitable helpmate was formed from the very rib of man and thus woman was “flesh of his flesh” (Genesis 2:22-23). Woman, then, is man’s equal in dignity and the one closest to his heart. Because man and woman were created for one another, “a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh” (Genesis 2: 24). Scripture teaches that marriage is not a mere human institution, but something God established from the foundation of world. Sin not only brought about a break with God, but it also ruptured the original communion between man and woman. Adam and Eve blamed each another for what had happened and were now embarrassed by their nakedness (Genesis 3:7-13). The Old Testament shows how sin affected the goodness of marriage. There is the polygamy of the patriarchs and kings. Moses allowed divorce because of the people’s “hardness of heart” (see Deuteronomy 24:1 and Matthew 19:8). Men and women did not treat one another with integrity, honor and love as God had intended. Nonetheless, while sin marred the goodness of marriage, it did not destroy it.

New Testament

Christians are new creations in Christ, healed of sin and its effects. Marriage is also recreated and made new in Christ. Jesus tells us that in the Kingdom of God the permanent union of husband and wife that God originally intended can once more be realized (see Matthew 19:6-11). By the grace of the Holy Spirit, husbands and wives can now truly love and honor one another. St. Paul tells us that marriage bears witness to the indissoluble love of Christ for his Church. Thus, husbands should love their wives, “even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her” (Ephesians 5:25-26). Wives, too, are called to love their husbands as the Church loves Christ (see Ephesians 5:22-23). The Old Testament also shows how God taught his people to revere once more the institution of marriage. God’s covenant with his people was an image of the exclusive and faithful love of husband and wife. The prophets helped the people see that God had not intended husband and wife to be separated (See Hosea 1-3; Isaiah 54 and 62; Jeremiah 2-3 and 31; Ezekiel 16 and 23; Malachi 2:13-17). The books of Ruth and Tobit bear witness to fidelity and tenderness within marriage. The Song of Solomon shows how the love of a man and a woman mirrors God’s love for his people. Because marriage is placed within the saving mystery of Jesus Christ, Catholics recognize it as a sacrament. It is a means through which husbands and wives grow in love for one another and for their children, become holy and obtain eternal life.

For further reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1602-1617.

Natural Family Planning
Engaged and married couples learn the safe and highly effective Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning (NFP) taught by the Couple to Couple League. For information, class schedules, and registration, visit ccli.org. For information about other NFP methods, call the Department of Catechesis and Formation.

Natural Family Planning - What is it?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the practice of achieving or avoiding pregnancies according to an informed awareness of a women’s fertility. In our diocese, NFP courses are presented by the Couple to Couple League.

Frequently Asked Questions
about Natural Family Planning

What is Natural Family Planning?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the practice of avoiding or achieving pregnancy according to an informed awareness of a woman’s fertility. It can also refer to the spacing of pregnancies through Exclusive Breastfeeding.

What is involved in “fertility awareness”?

During each monthly cycle, a woman normally becomes fertile and then infertile. Her body provides certain signs to indicate her fertile and infertile times. Natural Family Planning’s Sympto-Thermal Method teaches you how to observe and interpret these signs enabling you to achieve or avoid pregnancy naturally by becoming aware of your body’s fertility cycle.

What is the Sympto-Thermal Method?

The Sympto-Thermal Method is NOT Calendar Rhythm! It was developed by leading obstetrician/gynecologists and has been taught for over 30 years by the Couple to Couple League. With this method, a woman observes two or three fertility signs which occur naturally within her monthly cycle. As the signs are observed and recorded, her fertile and infertile times are determined.

What are the fertility signs?

The two most commonly used signs of fertility that NFP’s SYMPTO-THERMAL METHOD teaches you to observe are a woman’s normal cervical mucus secretions and her waking temperature. A third and optional sign is the physical change that occurs in her cervix.

Does it take much time each day for fertility awareness?

Not at all. It takes just about a minute each morning for a woman to take her waking temperature with a digital thermometer. Then during the day she takes a moment while using the restroom to observe any signs of her cervical mucus. Once the information is recorded, she has a complete and cross-checking picture of her fertility . . . it’s very simple and non-intrusive.

How effective is Natural Family Planning?

A number of studies have shown that the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP can be used at the 99% level of effectiveness for avoiding or spacing pregnancies. It is interesting to note that throughout the history of modern “birth control,” the moral means of achieving this end that have been recommended by the Catholic Church were never less effective than the most effective immoral means available at the time. The Ogino-Knaus Rhythm Method, developed in the 1930s, was as effective in birth regulation as the most effective artificial method of the day — prophylactic condoms and diaphragms. By the time the Pill was developed in the late 1950s, the modern methods of NFP were also achieving similar rates of effectiveness in studies, though far less public and media attention was paid to that research.

What is the difference between the Rhythm Method and modern NFP?

Calendar Rhythm basically assumed that women would have 28-day cycles with ovulation around Day 14. It was ineffective if cycles were either shorter or longer. Modern NFP acknowledges that a woman can routinely have cycles that are shorter or longer than the “average” of 28 days, and that her cycle can even vary from month to month. NFP users make their interpretation choices based on the fertility symptoms they are currently experiencing this month, which is why it is still highly effective for women with irregular cycles, unlike Rhythm.

What are the advantages of Natural Family Planning?

  • Medically safe because NFP is 100% natural, there are no health risks from harmful drugs or devices.
  • Increased health awareness because NFP teaches you to become aware of your normal fertility pattern, changes in this pattern can alert you to medical problems.
  • Effective: As mentioned earlier, the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP is highly effective both for avoiding and achieving pregnancy.
  • Low cost: NFP costs significantly less than other forms of birth control. Once you learn it, there are no continuing costs.
  • More satisfying marriages: Most couples report that NFP has a positive effect on their marriages. They find that periodic abstinence helps keep their sexual relationship fresh, improves their communication, and gives them a deeper respect for each other. This results in a lower divorce rate among FNP users
  • All the major religions including the Catholic Church accept the use of Natural Family Planning for spacing pregnancies in the context of marriage and a “just” reason for family planning.
  • NFP users do not have to worry about the potentially abortifacient effects of many types of hormonal birth control (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 2368. Also, What Does the Bible Say about Birth Control?)
  • Immediately reversible: You just change your timing. There’s no damage to your fertility from drugs and medical procedures.

What effects will my medication have on my use of NFP?

NFP can be used effectively by women even when they are on prescription medications. It is important to realize that some drugs may affect fertility symptoms adversely and be aware of potential disturbances that they may cause in the menstrual cycle. There is an entire chapter that discusses the effects of many common medications on fertility symptoms in the CCL manual, The Art of Natural Family Planning.

Check out the Couple to Couple League website.

Information Brochure

A brochure listing the programs for engaged couples is available for download. This brochure does not list specific dates. To select a date for your program, go to the indicated website, or call the person/s listed.

Diocesan NFP Regulations

The Diocese of Covington endorses the Couple to Couple League’s (CCL) program on Natural Family Planning (NFP). This program incorporates faithful Catholic teaching on marriage and family life with instruction in the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP.

Recently the Couple to Couple League began offering three ways to learn Natural Family Planning: a live onsite course, a live online course, and a self-paced online course. Only one of these programs is approved in our diocese.

Diocesan Approved Program

The live on-site course is the approved method of instruction for engaged couples in our diocese. The CCL has an adequate number of teaching couples in the diocese to provide classes to the majority of engaged couples. Student couples benefit from the face-to-face witness of the teaching couple, immediate answers to their questions, interaction with other students, and the possibility of developing a relationship with the teaching couple and other NFP users. At the end of the class series, the local teaching couple provides each engaged couple with an attendance certificate to give to their parish priest for the permanent record in the Church. If it is truly impossible for a couple to attend the live on-site course here in the diocese, they may, in rare cases, attend the live on-site course in another diocese. They must produce the attendance certificate to their parish priest.

Requires Written Permission from Bishop

The proper pastor of the bride or the groom must seek written permission from the Bishop in order for a couple to take the live online course. The live online course can be for those engaged couples who are unable to attend a live on-site class due to military service, employment, or other serious family or physical constraints. For example, a couple who is separated by distance can simultaneously take classes with a live teaching couple in a virtual online class. Other student couples may be online with the same teachers as well, and the students have the ability to submit real-time questions to the teaching couple.

Not Approved

CCL’s new self-paced online course is not approved under any circumstances for couples being married in the Diocese of Covington. This class series involves pre-recorded videos with no live interaction with a teaching couple. Although a local teaching couple is appointed by CCL to answer any questions the student couple might have, there may be little personal witness or contact with the teaching couple.

For more information, contact Mr. Isaak Isaak, Director of the Department of Catechesis and Faith Formation, 859-392-1500, or by email. He will connect you with a CCL representative.

Schedule of Natural Family Planning Classes

NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING

Natural Family Planning courses consist of three classes spaced one month apart. The date given for each course below indicates the first class. The listed schedule may not be complete as new courses are frequently added. For an up-to-date schedule and to register for a course, visit the Couple to Couple League’s website or call the Couple to Couple League, (513) 471-2000. The cost is $130 per couple.

The Couple to Couple League offers instruction in Spanish. For information on Spanish only classes or to register for a class in Spanish, contact:

Silvia Schmidt, CCL Teacher

513-471-2000, ext. 1031

859-380-2814, cell

NOTE: Silvia Schmidt teaches classes in Spanish only. Please do not call her regarding NFP classes in English.

NOTE: If you are divorced or widowed, discuss with your priest/deacon what preparation program would be best for you.

Scholarships, based on need, are available for all programs. A letter of request and/or a financial aid application may be required.

Addresses of Locations
for NPF Classes

Immaculate Heart of Mary
5876 Veterans Way, Burlington KY 41005

Mother of God Church
119 West Sixth Street, Covington KY 41011

St. Elizabeth Healthcare – Edgewood
1 Medical Village Drive, Edgewood KY 41017

St. Elizabeth Healthcare – Ft. Thomas
85 N Grand Ave, Ft. Thomas KY 41075

St. Timothy Church
10272 US Hwy 42, Union KY 41042

St. Gertrude Church, Cincinnati
7630 Shawnee Run Rd, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243-3009

Ministry to Separated or Divorced
New Beginnings provides the opportunity to heal and move forward despite the loss of a spouse. Led by facilitators who have been through their own personal losses, this program invites participants to move toward their own new beginnings.

New Beginnings
Introductory Group for Separated and Divorced

In response to persons suffering the loss of a spouse due to divorce or separation, the Diocese of Covington offers the support of a faith-based community through New Beginnings, a ministry for separated or divorced men and women.

New Beginnings provides opportunities for healing and personal ongoing growth. Led by a team of persons who themselves have experienced the loss of a spouse, our program invites participants to move toward a new beginning in life.

Each new group consists of 10 weekly sessions from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. This is a beginning group for those who are experiencing divorce or separation. Participants focus on such questions as:

  • What does this crisis mean for me?
  • What can I expect of myself and others?
  • How can I best survive?

Facilitators for the group are sensitive, caring people who have also experienced the loss and trauma of separation or divorce. Persons completing this group find a new understanding of themselves and their relationships and gain the courage to discover new life. There is no charge to participate in these groups.

New Beginnings has sessions starting in September, November, February, and March.

Click here for a brochure on the New Beginnings program.

To register for any group, call
The Diocese of Covington
Dept. of Catechesis and Faith Formation
(859) 392-1500 ext. 1529
All group sessions are held at Catholic Charities
3629 Church Street, Covington, KY.
(859) 581-8974

Marriage Enrichment
Refresh your marriage with a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend retreat, observe a milestone anniversary at the annual diocesan Wedding Anniversary Celebration, or heal a troubled marriage through Retrouvaille. For information about Familia, a program to strengthen families by helping men and women live their vocation to marriage and parenthood, see familiausa.net.

Wedding Anniversary Vespers

 Wedding Anniversary Vespers 2017

The annual Wedding Anniversary Vespers are on Sunday, September 10, 2017. The vesper service, presided over by Most Reverend Roger Foys, D.D., Bishop of Covington, is at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption at 3:00 p.m. Following is a reception at Covington Latin School.

This is a celebration for couples who are observing 1, 25, 50, or 50 plus years of marriage during the 2017 year. Couples and family members are welcome, but registration is required.

Reserved seating is available for anniversary couples only. Seating for their guests is on a first come, first served basis.

Invitations have been mailed for this event. If you are celebrating an anniversary for the years listed above and would like to attend the vespers, but have not received an invitation, contact the Department of Catechesis and Formation, 859-392-1500, extension 1533, or contact us by email. Responses must be returned by August 10, 2017.

World Meeting of Families

 

Learn More about the World Meeting of Families

Worldwide Marriage Encounter/Retrouvaille

Worldwide Marriage Encounter

The Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend offers married couples an opportunity to learn a technique of loving communication. It is a chance to look deeply into their relationship with each other and with God. Presentations are made by a team of couples and a priest. There is no group sharing. Rather couples return to their rooms after the talks and discuss how the topic relates to them and their marriage personally. It is a time for couples to be alone together, to rediscover each other and together focus on their relationship.

2018 Dates

DATE
LOCATION
February 9-11 Holiday Inn Eastgate
Cincinnati, OH
April 20-22
Non-residential*
Ascension Parish
Dayton, OH
June 8-10
Non-residential*
St. Patrick Church
Taylor Mill, KY
September 21-23
Non-residential*
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
Lexington,KY
October 29-21 Holy Spirit Center
Norwood, OH
November 2-4 Maria Stein Retreat Center
Maria Stein, OH

*NOTE: “Non-residential” means no overnight stays. At the end of the day, the couples go home and come back the next day.

Register online at the Worldwide Marriage Encounter website.

Retrouvaille

For couples in troubled marriages Retrouvaille is a program of healing and renewal, consisting of one weekend and six follow-up sessions over the course of three months.

Dates 2017-2018
Louisville, KY 9/15/2017
Owensboro, KY 1/12/2018
8/17/2018

To register, or for more information go to the Retrouvaille website, or call 513-922-6045.

COURAGE
Confidential faithful Catholic spiritual direction for persons experiencing same-sex attraction is available by contacting Rev. Phillip W. DeVous at St. Joseph Church, Crescent Springs, Ky. Phone the parish office at (859) 341•6609 or the rectory at (859) 578-2751 or email Father DeVous.