So Great A Mystery - Preparing for Marriage in the Catholic Church

The marriage preparation programme in the Diocese of East Anglia is an extensive and comprehensive preparation to Catholic marriage. You will be given:

  1. Four parish sessions in your local area, using the diocese’ own So Great A Mystery booklet, delivered by a local Priest, Deacon or lay person. This booklet offers a catechetical introduction to the sacramental nature of Catholic marriage. For these four sessions you need to register both with the parish priest and also with the Diocese - click here.
  2. A full Saturday on the Smart Loving programme. This Saturday session includes lunch and tea/coffee and offers a range of detailed exercises that you as a couple will work through, addressing: communication, household management, expectations, ways of loving, addressing the past, sacramentality, prayer, sexuality and more. The Smart Loving programme has been developed over two decades and draws on relationship psychology, Catholic doctrine and Theologies of the Body. The Smart Loving Saturday sessions are offered throughout the diocese – feel free to choose the date/venue which works best for you from the list below and then register here.

Once you have completed both parts of this preparation, you will be given a certificate that you can take to the Priest who is arranging your paperwork. If you are getting married in another diocese, either here or outside the UK, you will need to follow an additional administrative process overseen by the diocesan Chancellor, so please make sure you register for marriage preparation in good time before your planned wedding date.

The cost for the whole programme is £95 per couple, which covers all of the above sessions, and also enables the diocesan Marriage and Family Life Commission to support couples and families in crisis, to offer marriage enrichment courses to you once you are married and our annual Marriage and Family Celebration Mass at the Cathedral, where significant anniversaries are recognised. However, if you find the £95 fee to be a financial hardship, please speak to your parish priest or the person leading the course.

Smart Loving Saturday Session - Dates for 2022

Our Lady Immaculate and St Ethelreda, Newmarket Feb 19th 2022 10am-4pm

St John the Baptist Cathedral, Norwich Mar 5th 2022 10am-4pm

St Oswald's, Peterborough Apr 30th 2022 10am-4pm

Our Lady Immaculate and St Etheldreda, Newmarket Nov 19th 2022 10am-4pm


Please register for marriage preparation online: - here

Cost of Marriage Preparation - £95 per couple

Please pay either by cheque: made out to East Anglia Roman Catholic Trustee (and give to your parish priest for forwarding)


by bank transfer East Anglia Roman Catholic Trustee

Natwest, City Branch, Norwich
Sort Code: 60-15-31
Account No: 08741697

*please make sure you include the reference ‘MFL PREP’ and your name*

For more information, please contact the Marriage and Family Life Commission