If you are planning to be married in the Catholic Church we request notice of your marriage 9 months in advance. In order to be validly married, a Catholic must be married before a priest and two witnesses. If either the bride or groom belongs to a non-Catholic church, permission may be requested from the bishop for the marriage to take place in that church but the required preparation described here remains the same.
It’s important to remember that the wedding ceremony is an event which takes place on a given day, but the marriage is a life-long vocation. Part of the marriage preparation is planning the wedding day, but the more important part is to assist the couple to commit themselves to each other, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death…”
The pre-marital programs of today offer a blend of faith and psychology, sociological research and lived experience.
To start with, marriage in the Catholic Church presumes that:
1. At least one party of the couple is affiliated with the Catholic community. Either the bride or the groom must be registered member of the parish.
2. The Catholic party practices the Catholic Faith and worships regularly at Mass.
3. Both parties are free to marry according the laws of the Catholic Church. (If either party was previously married this may delay your proposed wedding date. Please let the priest know this as soon as possible.)
At the time of engagement, (at least nine months before the proposed date of the wedding) the couple should contact Fr. Jake to begin the preparations for their wedding. Fr. Jake will fill out the basic pre-marital information forms and explain the various parts of the preparation.
Annulment Guidelines: It is the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church that marriage is a sacred, lifetime covenant. The Church also recognizes that sometimes marriages are entered invalidly due to a defect so radical that the sacred covenant was never established, even though by outward appearances it seemed to be a marriage. After the civil dissolution of a marriage, if such a defect is proved the Tribunal can declare that particular marriage invalid. A declaration of invalidity has no civil effects. It does not make offspring “illegitimate”, or affect any stipulation or assignment made by civil courts. If you have questions about annulments, please contact Fr. Jake at (641) 828-7050.