The celebration of marriage is a liturgical act, and a form of public worship of the Church. The couple, even if one of them is unbaptized, shares in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love of Christ and the Church symbolized both in their union and in the liturgical celebration in the parish church. This celebration, particularly in the homily, should highlight this mystery.
The Church teaches that the Sacrament of Marriage is a commitment of life and love which stretches through the lifetime of the couple and which must grow and develop every day. In order to prepare for this sacrament, anyone seeking to be married in the Church must contact the Parish Office at least six (6) months prior to the wedding. Interviews with the priest, special classes and other preparations are necessary before a couple can celebrate their marriage in Church. Requirements are as follows:
- Couples are to approach the Church at least six (6) months in advance of the anticipated liturgical celebration of their marriage.
- The preparing minister is to assist the couple in the completion and collection of all the necessary documents for marriage in the Church.
- A pre-marriage inventory is to be administered and thoroughly reviewed with the couple. Normally, this will be the FOCCUS; but for those who have been married outside the Church and are seeking to marry in the Church and have been married at least three years, the REFOCCUS may be used.
- The couple is to participate in a Natural Family Planning Class, which may be done either with the accredited instructors or with accredited online program.
- Marriage preparation is a time to develop a relationship with couples, to accompany them, and assist them in becoming active members of the parish family.
Mixed Marriage: Parties in a mixed marriage (where one party is not Catholic) should discuss the raising of their children in the Catholic faith, prior to planning the wedding. The Catholic party is required to sign a promise that he or she will do all in their power to see to it that the children will be baptized and raised as Catholics.
Previous Marriages: Individuals who have previously been married may be required to obtain an annulment. In the annulment process, the Church is evaluating the validity of a previous marriage to determine whether that relationship was a true sacramental marriage, as understood by the Church. This must be granted before you reserve the church for a wedding date. Please visit the Diocesan Tribunal or contact the Parish Office for more information.
Premarital Pregnancy/Underage Party: In addition, there are special steps required when one of the parties is under nineteen years of age or when there is a premarital pregnancy.
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (Catechism 1601)