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 complete the following three steps:

  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 at least three to six months prior to your wedding. Since marriage preparation programs often fill quickly, it is best to register two to three months before the program date. See course and registration information below.
  3. Attend a certified Natural Family Planning (NFP) course. It is preferable to attend this course after attending your marriage preparation program, if possible. Natural Family Planning courses fill up quickly, so register early.

Please Note: 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.

Marriage Preparation Programs – Programs to build strong families and individuals

Engaged couples in the Diocese of Covington can choose Catholic Engaged Encounter, Living Marriage as a Sacrament or Three to get Married for their marriage prep program; as well as a course on Natural Family Planning.


This program is held at St. Timothy Parish, Union, 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.

Cost per couple is $85.

For exact dates and to register for Living Marriage as Sacrament, Click Here

For any questions, please contact Eric and Lauri Nienaber at [email protected].


St. Timothy Parish

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

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.


The weekend retreat offered by the Cincinnati-Covington 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. Please note: Covington couples are welcome to attend the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend at any location in Ohio and Kentucky.

2022 CEE Dates:

Sept. 17 – 18, Our Lady Holy Spirit Center (Cincinnati)

Oct. 22 – 23, St. Antoninus Parish (Cincinnati)

Kentucky Location:

St. Anne Retreat Center
5275 St. Anne Drive
Melbourne, Kentucky 41059

Cincinnati Location:
Holy Spirit Center
5440 Moeller Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio 45212

Registration: Visit the Covington-Cincinnati Catholic Engaged Encounter website.

For more information: e-mail the Cincinnati-Covington CEE Local Community at [email protected] or call Ashley Altenau at (513) 479-1700.

Three to get Married

Date:  October 21-23, 2022

Times:  Starts Friday at 6:30 PM ends Sunday at 3:00 PM

Location:  Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center

Who can attend?  Engaged couples who are preparing for marriage.
Prior to the retreat, all couples must complete the Catholic Couple Checkup as a preparatory tool.


  • $275 per couple. This includes individual bedrooms for Friday and Saturday night, wine/cheese event, all meals, and materials for the retreat.
  • $35 per couple for the Catholic Couple Checkup – paid separately  (Group number  25519 – 2022)

Contact person for additional questions?
Vicki Jung at 513-260-2373 or [email protected]

What will the retreat cover?

  • Identifying and deepening God’s role in your future marriage.
  • Managing finances as a couple.
  • Living God’s mission and communicating expectations.
  • Exploring the beauty of Natural Family Planning and Theology of the Body.
  • Setting healthy boundaries with your family of origin.
  • Planning for better or for worse.
  • Creating healthy emotional and psychological attachments.
  • Your relationship to God as a couple.

Who runs the retreat?   This retreat is sponsored by the Regnum Christi Movement of Greater Cincinnati. Mentoring couples include Regnum Christi members who are in different stages of their marriage. Spiritual accompaniment and talks will be led by Fr. Thomas Flynn, LC.

Featured speakers include family practitioners Amber and Paul Day M.D., and Emily Lewis, Licensed Professional Counselor.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati Office of Marriage and Family Evangelization will recognize the certificate of attendance as satisfactory for the retreat portion of marriage preparation.

What to bring?  Results from your Catholic Couple Checkup questionnaire and personal items for the weekend.

Here is the registration link:

Regnum Christi Ohio Valley – Three to Get Married:  Marriage Prep Retreat – Cincinnati, OH (

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 For information about other NFP methods, call the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization. Click below to see more details.

Sympto-Thermal Method

Couple to Couple League: (513) 471-2000 –

Creighton Method

Rita Johnson: +1 (517) 775-7229 –

Marquette Method

Jenna Bernardo: (513) 658-0444 – [email protected]

The approved Natural Family Planning course consists 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 or find an up-to-date schedule, visit or call the Couple to Couple League at (513) 471-2000. The cost is $140 per couple.

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.

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.

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, [email protected]

***Miss Schmidt does not have information regarding classes in English.

More 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.

Visit the Couple to Couple League website.

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 two of these programs are 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 – In Light of Covid-19 this program is approved for all

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 David Cooley, Co-Director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization, 859-392-1500, or by e-mail. He will connect you with a CCL representative.

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

Please click here.

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

Learn More about the World Meeting of Families

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.

Register online at the Worldwide Marriage Encounter website.


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 for 2022:

January 7, 8, 9, 2022, Cincinnati, Ohio

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

Results of Survey for Parishes
Results are available to read here listing the results of a diocesan survey to determine programs by parish for family ministry.