All couples getting married in the Church at Mary Mother of Mercy Parish are required to take a FOCCUS survey and attend a Pre-Cana retreat day.
The FOCCUS Pre-Marriage inventory is a 156-item marriage preparation tool, which includes additional, optional items for interfaith couples, cohabiting couples and couples in which one or both partners are remarrying. FOCCUS stands for "Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study". Couples take the survey independently at the home of a host couple from the parish, and then return a week or so later to review the results together, facilitated by the host couple. This process ensures that the couple has a firm understanding of their future spouse's background, beliefs, concerns and desires, and it fosters more open communication in the future.
The one day Pre-Cana retreat takes place on a Saturday. Engaged couples are presented with talks by host couples and the priest on topics that include the Sacrament of Marriage, Sex and Sexuality, Communication, Adjustments and Morality/Stewardship. Some of the topics have small group discussion and private workbook exercises. The day concludes with an opportunity for confession and then Mass. The Pre-Cana retreat fosters growth and understanding to support a marriage that is faithful, fruitful and will last a lifetime.