Congratulations! To become married is one of, if not, the most important endeavor of a couple’s life. The Catholic Church considers this so important that we want couples well-prepared and ready for this vocation. For a Catholic to get married, even when it occurs with a non-Catholic and/or at a non-Catholic church, there are three basic requirements:
1. PAPER WORK This includes filling out forms and obtaining recent baptismal certificates. Did you know that individual Catholic parishes always retain the original baptismal certificate and then dispenses copies as needed? The use of these copies expire, hence “fresh” copies always need to be obtained for each new sacrament.
Additional paperwork may include “dissolving” any previous marriages, hence an annulment is needed. Couples who need an annulment should allow 12-18 months before continuing any wedding plans. Annulments are always required for any Church wedding, even when a non-Catholic was married to another non-Catholic . . . for the Catholic Church holds that all church weddings are binding and sacramental.
2. WORKSHOP/RETREAT Attending a Pre-Marriage Workshop or Pre-Marriage Retreat (e.g. Engaged Encounter). Both options are offered through the St. Cloud Diocese but couples may attend those offered through other Dioceses. In my opinion, the retreat option is preferred to the workshop option.
3. PRE-MARITAL INVENTORY The bride and groom separately fill out a Pre-Marital Inventory Survey and the results are discussed with a sponsor couple from the parish. This aspect is commonly referred to as “the test.” It’s not a test, it’s a compatibility survey. It’s an instrument to gauge where the couple’s strengths and weaknesses lay. At Christ Our Light, we use the FULLY ENGAGED inventory and the results are discussed with a married couple from the parish who meet with the engaged couple privately for three evenings.
IN ADDITION Because we think that wedding preparation is so important, here at Christ Our Light, we require a fourth component. Couples are expected to attend three Saturday Pre-Marriage Seminars led by Fr. Kevin Anderson. The next seminars are held on March 10, 17, and 24, 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon, at COL-South in the Conference Room. These seminars do not replace the Diocesan workshop/retreat, they are additional. At these seminars, all the marriage requirements are explained, forms and inventories filled out ... and we have couples take the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory; explain how to plan a wedding; and provide talks on spirituality and sexuality.
- Setting a wedding date needs to allow adequate time for all this preparation. The Diocesan minimum is three months. At Christ Our Light’s we require at least nine months, but our recommendation is at least one year.
- Living together prior to marriage is never encouraged but each situation is addressed on an individual basis.
-The cost for Christ Our Light’s Saturday pre-marriage seminars is $40. Completing the seminar entitles a couple to receive a $50 voucher toward the cost of a wedding license, hence the cost of the seminar becomes “a wash.”
-In addition, the parish donation/fee for a wedding is $150 for current members and/or their children; $300 for non-members.
For any questions and/or to get started in the preparation process contact Fr. Kevin Anderson at 763-389-2115