Catholic Family Services
“No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed;
families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love.”  
~ Pope Francis
The Catholic Family Services office provides resources and support to parishes and families to promote and celebrate happy and holy marriages and families. The office provides programs in the areas of marriage preparation, marriage enrichment and support, natural family planning, chastity for teens and serves as a resource for various diocesan support groups.   


Mary-Jo McLaughlin
Address: Bishop Flanagan Ministry Center
199 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360
Phone: 860-848-2237, ext. 306

We will help you:

Fulfill marriage preparation requirements
Navigate the challenges of a troubled marriage
Cope with a family loss
Discover the beauty and blessings of Natural Family Planning

Programs Offered
(Click on link to view page)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first steps to take in planning a Catholic wedding?

  • Call the parish where you intend to get married at least six months to a year before the date of your wedding to meet with a priest or deacon to begin your marriage preparations and to set a date. This should be done before booking a venue for your reception.
  • If one or both of you is Catholic, you will need a recently obtained copy of your baptismal certificate from the church where you were baptized. The certificate should have notations on the second side about the date and place of your First Communion and Confirmation, since that information is also needed. If one of you is a baptized non-Catholic, a baptismal certificate alone is needed.
  • If this is a second marriage for either one of you, additional documents will be needed such as a Decree of Nullity, indicating an annulment of the previous marriage, or a death certificate of the former spouse.

Does a Catholic wedding have to take place in a church?

As marriage is a Sacrament, it takes place in a church within the context of a faith community to signify the sacredness of the action between the couple and the sacramental nature of the occasion. While there are instances when a local bishop can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place, the couple would have to show why getting married in a church would present grave difficulties.


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