MarriagePreparing for marriage is much more than just selecting the right attire, beautiful flowers and planning a wedding reception. Considering the fact that most of us spend 12 to 20 years preparing for our jobs, it makes sense to spend a suitable amount of time preparing for the life long commitment of marriage.
Catholic Understanding of Marriage
A wedding in the Catholic Church is a religious event, requiring a public act of faith by a couple asking the Church to witness their marriage. The sacrament of Matrimony is a matter that concerns the whole Church and is not a private or family affair. The priest, with the assembled community, witnesses the couple’s exchange of vows and pray that this new covenant of mutual life and love will continue to be an enduring sign to others of Jesus’s intimate and faithful covenant with the People of God.
Marriage Preparation Requirements at St. Catherine's
Depending on the circumstances, some aspects of marriage preparation can be quite involved, and so couples are highly encouraged to begin the process at least six (6) months before the proposed wedding date.
1. Get the proposed wedding date on the Church Calendar. If the wedding is to be held at St. Catherine’s, speak to Judi Belew at 359-6066 to check the Church calendar for available dates.
2. Initial Meeting with Priest. At this initial meeting the priest will explain the process for marriage preparation, obtain the relevant information from you to begin the process, and administer the FOCCUS inventory. FOCCUS stands for “Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study,” and is a widely-used tool for marriage preparation.
3. Meet with FOCCUS couple. You would then be meeting with a married couple from our parish to discuss under their guidance the nature of the marriage commitment, areas where open communication is necessary, and any other issues that the FOCCUS scores indicate need some further dialogue.
4. Attend Engaged Encounter weekend. Meanwhile, you need to attend an Engaged Encounter weekend retreat. You may find details at www.engagedencounterutah.homestead.com.
5. Attend at least one session on Natural Family Planning. For information on NFP classes, contact Veola Burchett at the diocesan Family Life Office at 801-328-8641, or email@example.com.
6. Submit Baptismal Certificates. Both of you will need to give the priest who is preparing you for marriage a Baptismal Certificate issued within the last 6 months.
7. Establish freedom to marry; obtain any dispensations required by Church law. A relative or close friend who has known you long enough to know your history will need to provide sworn testimony for an Affidavit of Marriage Freedom for each of you. (This only takes a few minutes.) Dispensations from the Diocesan Tribunal Office need to be obtained for mixed marriages. Also, if there are any previous marriages involved, the wedding cannot proceed until annulments have been granted; an annulment case may take 6-8 months to complete.
8. Follow-up discussion(s) with priest. In follow-up meetings, the priest preparing you will address any important issues arising from the FOCCUS discussions, as well as help you plan the wedding liturgy.