The Sacrament of Matrimony (Marriage) is the natural way in which man and woman freely express their innate desire to give completely of self to the other. The Catechism of the Scripture describes marriage as “the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church.” Just as Christ gives of Himself freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully to the Church, so husband and wife are to imitate that model of selfless self-donation.
In order to make a free, total, faithful and fruitful commitment to each other, the Catholic Church asks couples to enter into the period of marriage preparation with a spirit of discernment: is God calling me to marriage, and if so, is He calling me to be married to this person? It is critical that an engaged couple see marriage prep through this lens and not as “requirements to satisfy” or “hoops to jump through” before getting married in the Catholic Church. We ask each couple to contact the parish at least six months prior to the marriage.
Steps for Marriage Preparation:
1.) Contact the parish (254) 547-3735 to make an appointment or email Deacon Tim Dorsey at firstname.lastname@example.org
2.) At the initial meeting the deacon will discuss the requirements for marriage preparation.
At Holy Family parish, we ask each engaged couple to participate in the following:
- PREPARE/ENRICH - this is a survey that covers many areas of the couple’s relationship and helps them to gauge their communication in those areas.
- Together in God’s Love - "Together in God’s Love” is a marriage preparation program based on the Catholic understanding of marriage as sacrament. In Catholic theology, marriage is a sign of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. God created us, male and female, in His image and the married couple is a communion of persons, as the Holy Trinity is a communion of persons. Marriage is also a visible sign of Christ’s relationship with the Church. This program presents an overview of this sacramental understanding of marriage and then presents practical ways in which the married couple can live as a sign of the Holy Trinity and of Jesus and the Church in the areas of communication, sexuality, and stewardship. The retreat begins on a Friday evening and concludes with the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening at 5:30 pm.
- Natural Family Planning (NFP) – Part of the “Together in God’s Love” retreat will cover Natural Family Planning. NFP is a way of following God’s plan for achieving and/or avoiding pregnancy. It consists of ways to achieve or to avoid pregnancy using the physical means that God has built into human nature. It is important for all couples to understand that artificial contraception is, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “intrinsically evil”, meaning that it is never acceptable under any condition at any time. This is because it completely inverts God’s plan for marriage and sexuality, and takes a selfless act and makes it selfish. For more information on the harmful effects of artificial contraception, please visit: http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/ Please call the office for NFP class dates.
- Updated baptismal certificate (not the original) to be issued within six months of the wedding. This is done by contacting the parish in which you were baptized and requesting it. For non-Catholic Christians, if possible, obtain a copy of your original baptismal certificate.
- Prenuptial questionnaire
- Affidavit of Free Status to marry in the Catholic Church
- If either party has been previously married in or outside the Roman Catholic Church, a decree of nullity must have been issued by a diocesan tribunal. No definite wedding plans will be made until an annulment is granted. The priest or deacon will gladly assist you in preparation if this is needed.
- For mixed marriages (between a Catholic and non-Catholic), permission/dispensation needs to be granted by the Bishop.
- State Marriage License - A marriage license must be obtained from any county in Texas. The license expires if the marriage does not take place within 30 days from the date of issue. The license is not valid if the marriage takes place less than 72 hours after the license has been issued. The officiating priest or deacon must have the license in hand before the ceremony can begin on the day of the wedding. Therefore, it is necessary to bring the marriage license to the wedding rehearsal.
- For the wedding ceremony itself and all the logistics regarding flowers, music, photography, etc., please ask your priest or deacon for the “Guidelines for Marriage Preparation and Weddings” handbook.