Marriage as for the good of each other and the good of society … The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that marriage by its very nature is “ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children” (CCC 1660). Marriage is the foundation on which our society has its foundations. The future of society and its relationship to the one true good that is God depends on the concept marriage and family life.
The first important decision is deciding the date of your wedding. When this is done you should immediately contact one of the priests and check if this date is free and set an appropriate time for the wedding celebration.
BEFORE THE MARRIAGE CAN TAKE PLACE
The Priest will wish to see you on a number of occasions; these meetings should take place well in advance of your wedding. The priest will discuss the following points:-
- why you want a Catholic Church wedding
- what is special about a Christian marriage
- the importance of prayer
- to plan and discuss the format of the Nuptial Mass or Service.
Please note that the scripture readings must be from the Jerusalem Bible.
IF YOU WERE MARRIED BEFORE
You MUST speak with your Priest to establish if it is possible for you to celebrate your Wedding in the Catholic Church.
No arrangements can be made prior to this meeting with the Priest.
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE PARISH
If you want to marry in St Mary’s Church you will need written permission from your own Parish Priest. He will prepare with you the necessary “paper work” for the Wedding.
WHAT IF MY FIANCÉ(E) IS NOT A CATHOLIC?
A non-Catholic who is either baptised or not baptised is very welcome to marry a baptised Catholic in the Catholic Church. They are also welcome to invite their Vicar/Minister to assist the Priest with the Wedding Ceremony. If you wish to marry your non-Catholic partner in their Church/Chapel, you require a Special Dispensation, which can be arranged by your priest.
When the date for the marriage has been set, arrangement must be made with the Registrar’s Office to register the forthcoming marriage and when the certificates or licences have been obtained they should be given to the officiating priest. No marriage can take place without these documents.
All couples are expected to take a Marriage Preparation Course; this will be arranged by contacting Marriage Care
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO DO THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS
(1) Make an appointment with your local Registrar
(2) Undertake a marriage preparation course.
- To do this, please contact Marriage Care who will book you in for a preparation course. Please book early as it can be difficult to find a place at short notice
- Marriage Care Appointment Service: 08003893801 (Freephone) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DOCUMENTS YOU ARE REQUIRED TO OBTAINED ARE
- A recent baptism certificate from the church where you were baptised. This certificate should give details of confirmation and should also state that there is no record of any marriage having taken place
- A written declaration (Letter of Freedom) from each parish you have lived in for more than six months since the age of 16
For the non-Catholic:-
- If baptised a copy of the baptism certificate.
- A letter from the parents, or a statuary Declaration of Freedom confirming that s/he has never been married (or, details of any previous marriage – civil or religious)
A Useful Resource: St. John’s Cathedral Portsmouth Marriage Readings
The church honours and treasures the married love between husband and wife. For Christians marriage mirrors the relationship between Christ and the Church. Thus married love was described by St. Paul as a “great mystery” (Ephesians 5.32) and came to be recognised as one of the sacraments.
Marriage like other vocations calls us to reflect God’s love to the world in a particular way. Married people in their exclusive and lifelong commitment to each other witness to and draw strength from how Christ has loved us.
The wedding vows that couples exchange express what is at the heart of Christian marriage. The words “for better or for worse” point to the truth that life together will have its challenges as well as its rewards. The grace of the sacrament inspires couples to turn to the Lord not just in days of happiness but also in times of sorrow to seek the strength to transform any situation with love and indeed forgiveness. It is important to state that while upholding the value of perseverance and the hope of reconciliation, the Church does not demand that anyone remain in a situation that has become impossible.
In the Catholic tradition, marriage requires a willingness on behalf of the couple to welcome the children with whom they may be blessed. At the same time, the church holds that married life is fruitful and life-giving of itself.
Marriage is a profound commitment. It is a commitment that each party must choose freely, giving their full consent without reservation. For this reason, appropriate preparation is essential both at a personal level and in regard to establishing that all is in order for the marriage to proceed happily and joyfully.
In becoming husband and wife you give yourselves to each other for life. You promise to be true and faithful, to support and cherish each other until death, so that your years together will be the living out in love of the pledge you now make. May your love for each other reflect the enduring love of Christ for his Church.
Have you:- Registered the marriage at the Registry Office?
Made a booking for the marriage preparation course?
Collected the Certificates or Licences from the registrar’s Office?
Obtained Baptismal Certificates and Letters of Freedom?
Given the documents to the Priest?
Contacted the Organist?
Contacted the Florist?
Made provision for payments?
Made provision for a rehearsal?
The Sacrament of Marriage joins a man and woman together in a loving covenant with God. A marriage in the Catholic Church is permanent, exclusive, open to the possibility of having children and raising them within the Church. Catholics believe that marriage is a gift from God, as Jesus was united with his bride, the Church, and therefore husband and wife should grow together in love and trust.
What if my partner is not a Catholic?
A Baptised Catholic is free to marry a baptised Christian of another denomination, with a dispensation from his or her priest. The Catholic partner is asked to commit themselves to do their best to maintain their catholic faith, and to pass on the faith to their children.
What if my partner is not a Christian?
With a dispensation from the Bishop, a Baptised Catholic is free to marry a person who has not been baptised or belongs to anther religion. The Catholic partner is asked to commit themselves to do their best to maintain their catholic faith, and to pass on the faith to their children. The priest who prepares you for marriage can arrange the dispensation.
What happens if I am divorced?
The Church recognises that despite best efforts, some marriages fail. The reasons for this are often very complex and the Church appreciates the pain and anguish the ending of a marriage can cause. Please approach one of the clergy if you are in this situation who can offer pastoral support and guidance.
You may decide to apply to the Church for an ‘annulment’ of your marriage. After investigation of the circumstances of the marriage and what happened in the breakdown of the relationship, the Church can declare a marriage ‘null’. This means it was not a true marriage with full freedom and commitment on both sides at the time of the wedding. When this is given, the person may then marry in the Catholic Church.
How can I arrange to be married?
Please speak with one of the clergy before or after Mass, who will begin making arrangements with you.
How much does it cost to be married in Church?
Sacraments are celebrations of the love of God in our lives, which is always a free gift we can never earn or buy.
However the Church building needs to be maintained, lit, and heated for the ceremony, and all year round to be there for when you want it for your wedding.
Also the people who make the wedding, musicians, florists, Registrar, and the priest or deacon all give of their time, talents and qualifications, at the service and before. Some, such as the Registrar or the organist, have their regular scale of charges of which they will inform you.
If you would like to find out more about being Married at St Mary’s then contact us
Taken from The Faith Of The Catholic Church a CTS Publication
214.What is the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage?
The Sacrament of Marriage is a sign of the union between Christ and the Church. Spouses are given the grace to love each other with the love by which Christ has loved the Church. The grace of the Sacrament is intended to perfect the couple’s love to strengthen their insoluble union and to sanctify them in their journey to God.