Marriage is a blessing from the hand of God. He brings together a man and woman to love and support each other. The love between the spouses symbolizes Christ’s love for the church. It becomes visible in the children they bring into the world and in their acts of generous service. In Catholic teaching, the valid marriage between two baptized Christians is also a sacrament. It is permanently binding and cannot be broken by any human power. Married love requires a lifelong commitment.
The period of engagement is a special time of excitement, shared memories and intense preparation. But more importantly, it also gives the couple opportunity for greater trust, as well as reflection, prayer and deeper dialogue about their most personal values, hopes and desires.
The Church actively seeks to do all it can to assist you in preparing for your marriage and lifetime commitment to each other. With sufficient time to begin making arrangements, the engaged couple has better opportunity to prepare seriously for marriage and its beginning in the Marriage Liturgy. At St Julie’s, this begins with an initial meeting with the priest who will give you an overview of the requirements for marriage and the preparation required.
The requirements for marriage in the Catholic Church include the following:
- Neither spouse can be married presently in the Catholic Church.
- Both spouses must be fully initiated into the Catholic Church (have celebrated all 3 sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist)
- The couple must attend either an Engagement Encounter or Marriage Encounter weekend, depending on the circumstances of your relationship.
- Some couples may attend a class on natural family planning.
- The couple must conduct a meeting with the priest prior to the celebration.
- The couple must designate two witnesses, one for each spouse, who has extensive knowledge of that person to be able to answer questions about them. This is usually a family member or a long-time family friend. These two witnesses must come to the parish office to fill out the required forms.
To schedule an appointment or to request more information, please call the parish office.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. How far in advance of our wedding should we contact the parish office?
A. You must contact the office at least 6 months prior to the desired wedding date. This provides sufficient time to complete the above requirements.
Q. Do both of us need to be Catholic?
A. Yes, the sacrament of marriage is celebrated between a man and woman, who are both fully initiated Catholics.
Q. What if either of us is not a fully initiated Catholic?
A. The uninitiated person will need to go through the RCIA process, therefore you would need to allow longer than the usual 6 month period. However, we usually approach this scenario on a case-by-case basis.
Q. Can I choose any date and time to be married?
A. Yes, you may choose your own date, but depending the availability of the church and the priest.
Q. What if I have been married before?
A. If either spouse has been married before but not in a Catholic Church, then you must only supply the certificate of divorce. If they were married in the Catholic Church, then you must first obtain an annulment. Refer to the page titled Frequently Asked Questions about Annulments which is located on the diocesan website.