Couples planning to marry should check first with the diocese where they plan to celebrate their wedding to familiarize themselves with the guidelines specific to that diocese. Generally, you should allow 8-12 months planning time.

Marriage Preparation

Marriage Preparation is offered to engaged couples desiring to base their relationship on Christ and His Church. Couples study and discuss the dynamics of Christian Marriage, Theology of the Body, relationships, finances, communication, and Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Couples wishing to enter into marriage preparation must email Heather Serena.

2024-2025 Marriage Prep Checklist (PDF)

Meet Katie Glaser and Michael Walerius, Married October 29, 2022

Our Story: “Michael and I are high school sweethearts who met in marching band, and little did we know at the age of 17 we were with our forever person! After a year of long distance, we both came to Duluth for college and immediately fell in love with the city and community. We got involved with the Newman center right away which allowed us to grow more than we could’ve imagined, in the end leading to our Vocation of marriage. Walking in authentic friendships with others who pushed and supported us to be the best form of ourselves while also striving for Christ prepared us to be able to commit to give ourselves fully to each other. We got engaged our second year in Duluth in January 2020, and have loved our season of engagement and growing closer to each other and Christ everyday!”

Impact of Marriage Prep: “With all of the hustle and bustle it takes to plan a wedding, oftentimes the most important part, the marriage preparation, is overlooked. Attending marriage prep was one of our favorite parts of preparing for our wedding, allowing us to slow down and keep our focus on laying the foundation for a lifelong companionship rooted in Christ. Not only did we learn more deeply about the sacramental aspect of the Vocation and what it means in today’s world to be one, but we were also provided concrete examples of how to live out this Vocation on a daily basis. Father Mike and the speakers at the Engaged Couples Retreat we attended through the Archdiocese encouraged us to begin practicing some of these teachings in our engagement, whether it’s praying together over the phone every night before bed, attending natural family planning courses, or showing forms of gratitude on a daily basis. It was so easy through the wedding planning process to get caught up in picking the right centerpieces or the perfect flowers, but entering fully into our marriage prep sessions allowed us to focus on the importance of the sacrament we are entering into and to practice the self-sacrificial love marriage takes. We now feel so prepared to enter into marriage together thanks to the conversations we had during marriage prep and were given many resources and lessons we will take with us many years into our marriage!”

Graduation: Michael graduated from The College of St. Scholastica in December 2021 and Katie graduated from UMD in May 2022.

Now: “We both work at UnitedHealth Group, with Katie in accounting and Michael in sales support, both just regular people striving for the Lord in ordinary life! Once we get married in October, we will be living in Eden Prairie, MN.”

Meet Haley and Joe Muehlbauer, Married July 2, 2022

Our Story: “We met in our welcome week group way back when we were freshmen at UMD! Our relationship hit its stride when we put God at the center of our lives and started attending mass together on campus with the Newman Center. Joe was raised Catholic, but Haley was new to the faith. This led to Alpha, RCIA, and ultimately Haley’s baptism, first communion, and confirmation at the Cathedral in Duluth in 2019, with Joe as her sponsor. Through ups and downs, and long distances apart at times due to career opportunities, God was always with us. We got engaged in April of 2021 and spent the following year planning and preparing for the big day when the two of us would become one in front of God, our family, and closest friends. Father Mike officiated our ceremony at St. Francis Catholic Church in Brainerd on July 2nd, 2022. It was a blessed day full of love, thanks be to God!”

Impact of Marriage Prep: “Marriage prep with Father Mike was enriching both for our relationship with one another and our relationship with God. We looked forward to our drives to Duluth because we knew we would be leaving with valuable information to discuss, reflect upon, and ultimately best prepare ourselves for the sacrament of marriage! Along with our personal meetings with Father Mike, marriage prep offered other great opportunities like “Engaged Couples Weekend”, where we learned great advice and lessons from Catholics with decades of marriage experience. Our preparation undoubtedly strengthened our understanding of one another, how to navigate challenges in modern-day society, and the church’s teachings in regards to marriage.”

Graduation: Both Haley and Joe graduated from UMD with their undergrad degrees in May of 2016, Haley with a BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Joe with a BA in Secondary Education. Joe accepted a teaching position at Hermantown Middle School and worked towards a Master’s degree in Special Education. Haley went on to pharmacy school at UMD and graduated with her Doctorate of Pharmacy in May of 2020.

Now: “We recently bought our first home together and live in Baxter, MN. Haley is a pharmacist at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, and Joe is a special education teacher at Brainerd’s middle school. We joined the St. Francis Catholic Church parish and are loving where we decided to plant our roots!”

Meet Josh and Megan Muhich,
Married September 7, 2019

Our Story: “We met at the UMD Newman center when I was a FOCUS missionary and Josh was an active member of Newman who had just graduated. Our time with Newman allowed us to form a good friendship that was rooted in Christ and in our faith. It provided us with a rich community that was supportive of our pursuit of marriage in the Catholic Church. The various talks and events through Newman formed our view of what healthy relationships and marriages look like. This environment helped us to connect with other couples who were married or engaged in the area.”

Graduation: Megan graduated from Drake University in 2016 with a degree in Health Sciences. Josh graduated from UMD in 2016 with a degree in Computer Sciences.

Now: “We currently live in Duluth. I work as an Administrative Assistant at the Diocese of Duluth Pastoral Center. Josh currently works in the ITSS department at UMD.”

Meet Donny and Katlyn Wurdock, Married December 29th, 2018

Our Story: “We met at the Newman Appreciation banquet in May of 2015. This was an event held at Greysolon Ballroom to celebrate all of the people who served the Newman community.

Newman helped both of us develop a faith life that was grounded in a relationship with God above all else. We were both student missionaries and prayer team members, and these smaller communities within Newman helped us to grow in prayer. The Newman community creates an environment that supports authentic friendship, and the authentic friendship we have been supported in lead us to become husband and wife. We also had FOCUS missionaries that challenged us to will the good of the other in ways we would not have without Newman.”

Graduation: They both graduated from UMD in May 2018. Katlyn with her BAS in Teaching Mathematics. Donny with his BS in Statistics and BA in Computer Science.

Now: “We recently bought a house in the West Duluth neighborhood. I (Katlyn) am working as a PreK Assistant Teacher and Academic Support Specialist at the St. James campus of Stella Maris Academy. Donny is working as a database manager for HealthPartners insurance company in downtown Duluth. We participate in a couples Bible study weekly and enjoy ballroom dancing in our free time.”

Meet Bailey and Ben Berning,
Married October 1, 2016

Our Story: “We met when we were both serving at UMD as FOCUS missionaries for the Bulldog Catholic college community. I (Bailey) was a Campus Missionary and Ben, my husband, was a Team Director with FOCUS.”

“Our days at Newman shaped us into marry-able versions of ourselves. Each day didn’t always feel transformative, but it added up to be the difference between being able to love Jesus and each other forever or not. And knowing how to do that in the ordinary daily life. Our happily ever after would have already crumbled if we wouldn’t have learned how to pray and live out authentically Catholic and faithful daily life during our single years at Newman. Every day spent well there has paid dividends in marriage and beyond college in “normal” jobs.”

Graduation: Bailey graduated from NDSU in 2013 with her degree in English. Ben graduated from Loras in 2014 with a degree in Philosophy and Finance.

Currently Live: Greenbush, MN

Meet Sarah and Jon Harvey,
Married June 30, 2012

Our Story: “We went to Mass at UMD and Jon did RCIA through Newman with Father Mike. He was confirmed at the Cathedral in Duluth. We also did our marriage preparation with Father Mike and he performed our ceremony.”

Graduation: Both of us got our Medical degrees from the University of Minnesota with our first two years spent at the Duluth campus.

Currently Live:  Daytona Beach, FL for residency training and military commitment. We look forward to returning to Minnesota in a few years!