Sometimes Jesus was not at the wedding.
We are here to help you invite Him into your marriage.

What is The Cana Project?  The Cana Project is the civil marriage initiative in the Diocese of Tyler to invite civilly married couples into the sacrament of Matrimony with Christ at the center. The St. Philip Institute Family Life Office partners with the Diocese of Tyler Tribunal to provide resources for couples who want to receive the sacraments. Your pastor will guide you through the formation process as you prepare to receive all of the grace that Christ brings to your relationship through the sacraments. We recognize that there are many different reasons why couples may not be sacramentally married, and we want to help you take the next step. 

The Cana Project

The Cana Project is for couples who are not sure where to begin their journey to the sacrament of Matrimony. If you have a previous marriage(s), or need to begin the annulment process, or simply need to discuss the details of your situation with someone who can help, visit the Tribunal website at the Diocese of Tyler.

You can view or download our brochures in English and Spanish for your own use or to distribute in your parish.

Learn more about the Tribunal Ministry and the different types of marriage cases that they can help you navigate.

Cana icon used with permission ©Vladimir Grygorenko, Dallas.
 For more information, email or call (903) 939-1037.

Marriage Formation for Civilly Married Couples

If you are a civilly married couple who is ready to begin the journey towards the sacrament of holy matrimony, or you are open to learning more about the process, these are the first steps that we would recommend:

Have a conversation with your pastor.

This is a very important first step. Each couple is unique, and your pastor needs to meet with you to understand your journey as a couple thus far. While engaged couples have a very specific formation timeline (9-12 months), the timeline for couples who have been civilly married for five or more years varies depending on their particular situation. Your pastor will determine what you need to complete for your formation (such as meetings with a mentor couple or a retreat) and how long that formation will take. The Family Life Office has recommended a timeframe of 3-6 months, but your pastor has the flexibility to change that as needed.

If you are seeking other sacraments in addition to marriage, remember that your marriage situation needs to be resolved first.

Some couples seeking the sacrament of Holy Matrimony also desire to complete their sacraments of Initiation (such as Confirmation or receive first Holy Communion) or they may have an interest in becoming Catholic. It is important to remember that before the other sacraments can be celebrated, the marriage needs to be resolved first. If you think you are in this situation, please see this video for more information.

If needed, contact The Cana Project.

If there are previous marriages for either one of you, you must address this before you are able to celebrate your marriage in the Church. The Cana Project can assist you in figuring out what needs to be done first and guide you through the process. Situations vary greatly between couples. The Tribunal will help you figure this part out. 

Learn more about marriage formation opportunities in the Diocese of Tyler.

Your pastor may ask you to attend a Three to Get Married retreat or to pick a mentor couple to accompany you through the Witness to Love Civil Marriage Initiative program. We invite you to learn more about those particular programs to see if those are formation resources that would benefit your relationship.

Stay connected to your parish community!

One of the more important steps to inviting Christ into your marriage is to attend Mass, to pray together, and to get connected with your parish community. Although you may not currently be able to receive Holy Communion (also called the Eucharist), your presence in the parish is very much needed and wanted. The parish is there to accompany and support you as you begin this journey towards an authentic, Christ-centered marriage.

Resources from the Institute

Civil Marriage Initiative Resources for Parishes

The Office of Family Life will continue to provide clergy and parish marriage formation teams with the resources and information needed to best serve couples in irregular situations who are seeking a sacramental marriage. We will continue to update this page with additional resources and formation materials for priests, parish leaders and couples.  For more information about these programs please contact Deanna Johnston at or (903) 630-5055 Ext. 120. 

Helpful Documents for Clergy and Marriage Formation Teams