WEDDING GUIDELINES FOR ST. EMYDIUS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
On behalf of the Parish community of Saint Emydius, we congratulate you on your decision to give yourselves to one another in Christian Marriage. In the Gospels, Jesus tells us that the greater commandment of the law is to Love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is in the Christian Marriage that this Good News
of Jesus is enfleshed and made real.
PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE PREPARATION
When a man and woman make a commitment to marry each other in the Catholic Church that decision is not only joyful but very serious and sacred. Through the Sacrament of Matrimony, Jesus calls the couple to draw closer to each other, to God and to God’s people, the Church. Because marriage is a permanent commitment to a partnership of life, it requires careful thought, much prayer, and intense preparation. As a parish, we are pleased to journey with you during this special time.
After your engagement, please contact the office as soon as possible. There is at least a six-month preparation time required for marriage.
Certain documents are required to establish your sacramental status within the Church, your freedom from any previous unions, as well as sworn statements attesting to your clear understanding of the nature and responsibilities of Christian Marriage.
The following are the required documents:
1) Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire
This takes place with the priest and is for the purposes of determining the freedom and appropriate intentions of the couple in their preparation of marriage.
2) Baptismal Certificate
A recently issued copy (within 6 months) of your baptismal certificate is required for those who are Catholic. This can be obtained by contacting the Church of Baptism and requesting a new certificate. A new Baptismal certificate for the Catholic party without notations is consequently verification that there has not been a previous marriage in the Catholic Church. For those baptized in another Christian faith, a copy of the original is sufficient.
3) First Communion and Confirmation Certificates (do not need to be recent)
These can be obtained by contacting the Church where the sacrament occurred, or if you have a copy of the original certificate, a photocopy is sufficient.
4) Testimony of Freedom/Prenuptial Witness Form
This is a sworn statement, witnessed by a priest/deacon or notary public, attesting that you have never been married before, in either a Church or civil ceremony, and that there is no known impediment to the marriage. This is normally filled out by parents or it may be completed by two others who have known you for most of their lives.
5) Matrimonial Dispensation (only applies between a Catholic and a non-Catholic party)
When a Catholic prepares to marry from another faith tradition, a specific document or “dispensation” is also required. Some couples may need to obtain dispensations for certain conditions in order to marry. The most common dispensation is that required of couples entering an interfaith marriage, that is, where one party is Catholic and the other is from another faith tradition.
6) Archdiocesan Pre-Marriage Preparation Programs
Preparation for Christian Marriage is far more than just the gathering of the required documents. At the heart of responsible marriage preparation stands the opportunity for you to seriously reflect in a comprehensive and challenging way on the meaning of this important step in your lives. While reflection and in-depth sharing of your future together has undoubtedly already begun, the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offers further opportunities for you to reflect on your life long journey with each other.
There are Pre-Marriage Preparation Programs that are sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office for Family Life.
It is a required part of the preparation for marriage in the Catholic Church.
We request all couples to attend Engagement Encounter Weekend. Upon completion of the program, you will receive a certificate, which must be presented to the priest as part of the documents that will be collected.
7) Civil License
You need a MARRIAGE LICENSE. The County Court registers all civil documents. Therefore, any questions you have regarding the procurement of the civil license, taking blood tests, or other civil concerns should be addressed to the court.
The License must be given to the priest/deacon no later than the day of the rehearsal. You can apply for the civil license at any county courthouse.
If you are civilly married, please bring your marriage certificate instead of the marriage license.
Sacraments, as external signs of the inner life of God’s grace active in our lives, are cherished by the Church. In preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony, as in the other sacraments, reflection and preparation are essential. One does not celebrate in initiation Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist without having first prayerfully and conscientiously reflected on their meaning, with hope of coming to a deeper understanding of their significance.
Marriage, as the special bond between man and woman and the mirror of God’s Divine Love, requires time and reflection to fully appreciate its truly sacred and life-giving character.
SETTING THE DATE AND TIME FOR YOUR CELEBRATION
While the schedule of the date and time of your marriage is obviously a very important part of your preparations, it is the serious responsibility of the priest or deacon to discern mature readiness on the part of the couple wishing to take the important set up in the Church. Consequently, no date and time may be set by anyone other than the priest and deacon of the parish.
SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION
The celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is highly recommended for all couples as part of your spiritual preparation.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! We are glad that you have chosen to marry in the Catholic Church.