The office for Marriage and Family Life seeks to promote the vocation of marriage and to support families in the variety of circumstances in which they find themselves today.

Couples seeking to enter into marriage in the Catholic Church must take part in a process of marriage preparation. In this diocese such preparation can take a variety of forms.

The Holy Family Project is a diocesan initiative aimed at offering support to married couples and families to grow in love of God and for one another.  Further information can be found on or by contacting Father Bryan Cunningham on

Marriage Preparation Courses 

Marriage Preparation courses which present aspects of the vision of Christian married life today: expectations, communication, the Sacrament and the power of love.

Upcoming Marriage Preparation Dates in our Diocese

For details about Marriage Preparation in your locality, please explore the drop downs below, or contact your Parish Priest.

‘Preparing Together’ our 1-day group experience, explores key relationship skills, expectations, sacrament and the importance of your marriage vows. Courses are available throughout England & Wales. Local venues include Blackburn, Oldham, Sale, Stockport and Altrincham. Click on this link and enter your postcode to find the next available dates.

In addition to the group courses we also offer a tailored one-to-one experience called FOCCUS. With increased flexibility around meeting times and dates and the opportunity for a deeper personal experience, this can be the preferred option for some couples.

Choose ‘FOCCUS’ for a more private couple experience, tailored to your unique relationship, exploring together relationship strengths and development opportunities.

To find out more about Marriage Care or book a programme near you, visit Marriage Care’s website or call the Appointments team on 0800 389 3801

Fr Bryan Cunningham and the Marriage Preparation Team invite you to join them in their Marriage Preparation Course. Although this course will take place in the Bolton Deanery, it is open to couples preparing for marriage from other deaneries. The course is taking place over two Saturday afternoon seminars and is at St John Fisher’s.

Details of the Course

This course ‘We build the house of our Marriage’, is made up of four units and is run by the Marriage Preparation team.

1  Foundations that can carry for a lifetime
2  A wedding of the stories of two families
3  Our Vision of Marriage
4  God in our married life

The two day seminar runs from 2.00pm until 5.00pm on two consecutive Saturdays

Saturday 10th and 17th February 2024

Saturday 7th and 14th September 2024

All sessions will take place at: St John Fisher, Manchester Road, Kearsley, Bolton BL4 8QQ.

For more information please email:

The Sisters of Saint Michael the Archangel (SSMA), Ashton – Under – Lyne are offering Marriage Preparatory Course to couples intending to marry in the Catholic Church.

It is a four-week programme aimed at suggesting ideas for building a solid Catholic home.  It is an interactive session between 1 and 2pm on Saturdays (subject to change).

If interested, kindly give us a call on 0161 339 3434.

Our address is: St. Christopher’s Presbytery, Lees Road, Ashton – Under – Lyne, OL6 8BA

The next marriage preparation course at the CHC will run over two consecutive Saturdays: 27 January and 3 February.

The course offers a testimony to the sacramental married life, an overview of the key themes underpinning the Church’s vision of marriage, relational exercises for the couples, time for discussion as couples and in groups.

For more information and to book:

Relationship Counselling

Need to talk? Need Someone to Listen?

We all aspire to harmony at home but inevitably couples experience relationship difficulties that they may struggle to resolve. When it’s hard to talk things through and challenges seem insurmountable, engaging a skilled relationship counsellor can make all the difference.

Whether things are not quite right or you are faced with a more serious relationship issue, Marriage Care is here to help. We listen carefully, help you to share with each other, feel more connected as a couple and support you towards finding a peaceful resolution.

To find out more about Marriage Care services or book an appointment near you, visit our website or call our appointments team on 0800 389 3801

The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church…. “The desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and this is an inspiration to the Church”. As a response to that desire, “the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed”.

Pope Francis, Amoria Laetitia

Silhouette of a family enjoying the outdoors at sunset