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Preparation for Marriage

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"Marriage is like a treasured phonograph record - treat it kindly and it will last for years!" (what the priest told us when we got married in 1966, almost 40 years ago! - Gerry and Sue)

The Catholic church will help you prepare for your marriage through a process which is both spiritually enlightening and also helps the couple learn about each other.  This process generally takes 6 months in most dioceses.  One of the members of a couple should be Catholic and a member of the parish in which they wish to get married.

The first meeting is usually with the wedding coordinator (if the parish has one), or whomever is designated to meet with couples interested in getting married, and he/she will guide the couple through the steps they must take, answer questions, and give them all the necessary information in preparation for their wedding day.

Each individual will be asked to provide a copy of his/her baptismal certificate (issued no longer than six months), and a record of all the sacraments received. Each must also sign a statement that he/she was never married before either in the Catholic Church or in another denomination. If either individual has been married before,  they will be provided with the necessary information to initiate annulment or whatever is required. For those baptized in another Christian faith, a copy of the original certificate will suffice.

The next step is both members of the couple, taking the "Foccus" inventory (or something similar), a test asking questions about how each individual feels about various issues i.e. money, future, children, religion.  This helps the couple to better understand each other and to enter into greater communication as they approach the sacrament of matrimony. After this inventory test is analyzed, the couple meets with a priest or deacon to discuss points of concern or issues the couple may have which might cause problems later on.

Couples are required by the most dioceses to attend an Engaged Encounter and a class in Natural Family Planning. The certificates of completion of these classes as well as all of the necessary paperwork for their preparation is kept in the parish where the couple is planning to get married.  A month or two before the wedding, couples usually meet with the resident organist/liturgist, to plan their liturgies and music and also with the priest or deacon who is witnessing their wedding.

Before the wedding, the couple must obtain a civil marriage license from the state (in the USA) in which they live. No marriage can be performed without a license, and the priest or deacon signs the license as a minister of the church and of the state.

This 6 month process is well worth going through - a wonderful preparation for a lifetime together.

"What God has joined together, let no man cast asunder"