Catholic Marriage Preparation
Congratulations to both of you! What an exciting time! In helping you to prepare for your Catholic wedding, the Church emphasizes that marriage is so much more than a wedding. It is a lived reality embedded in the mystery of God’s love for us and our love for one another. As a result, it is important for the Church to act as a resource in helping you to plan for your marriage.
Catholic preparation for marriage includes the following:
A prenuptial meeting with the priest in the parish where you will be married.
At that time you will discuss what the parish’s timelines and requirements are. The Catholic Church requires that this be done at least six months in advance.
Marriage to a non-Catholic may be celebrated by a non-Catholic Minister or Rabbi. Requests for this are handled through your parish priest who will help you apply for a dispensation so that the marriage can be recognized by the Catholic Church.
If you or your future spouse have been married before, then an annulment may be required, even if the marriage was not a Catholic ceremony. Your priest needs to know this immediately, since some annulments take longer than six months.
The completion of pre-marital inventory (usually FOCCUS) which helps you to assess your strengths and weaknesses as a couple.
Check with the parish of your wedding to see what they wish you to do.
The completion of required forms such as freedom to marry and witness forms, and the submission of baptismal documents.
For Catholics, you are asked to request a newly issued copy of your baptismal certificate from the church of your baptism; non-Catholic Christians may submit a photocopy. If you are marrying a non-Catholic then a dispensation is required; apply through your parish priest. Check with the parish of your wedding to see what they wish you to do. Click here for more about paperwork
Attendance at a Pre-Cana workshop or a weekend retreat.
For pre-marriage preparation Vallombrosa Center hosts the Engaged Encounter weekends provided by both the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of San Jose. These are excellent and comprehensive programs for marriage preparation for couples contemplating marriage. When couples find it difficult to devote an entire weekend to preparation, the alternatives are Evenings for Engaged, (4 or 5 week meetings with a married couple), or we offer our own alternative one-day program entitled “Engaging the Heart“. These programs are intended to supplement any pre-Cana (or marriage prep) programs offered by your local parish.
Attendance at a natural family planning (NFP) class.
NFP is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally-occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.
Classes are offered at locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including: O’Connor Hospital, Fertility Care Services, 2105 Forest Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128, 408.947.2847. Both the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of San Jose maintain lists of locations offering this service. For more information, follow the links below:
Planning Your wedding liturgy with your celebrant.
See our upcoming schedule, click here.
We suggest you discuss with your celebrant the options provided in the booklet “Together For Life” which includes readings, prayers and other options for a Catholic wedding.
For more information please contact “Engaging the Heart” or phone 650.325.5614.