Sacrament of Marriage
1) Marriage is a great vocation, and is the call of most people in the Lord’s Church. This beautiful relationship and covenant, and scripture regularly uses the analogy of a marriage to the relationship of the Lord to his people. This sacred event involves preparation as well as prayer.
Those who become engaged are asked to see the pastor as soon as reasonably possible to discuss the formation and preparation for this sacrament. The bare minimum time between first visitation with the priest, and the actual wedding, is no less than six months (generally longer). Therefore, it is essential not to delay in beginning this preparation. Failure to do so will jeopardize the ability of a couple to have their wedding in the church at the time that they wish to have it.
3) The general requirements for marriage in the Catholic Church are as follows:
a) Meeting with the pastor, or his delegate, typically about 4 times
b) Taking the Prepare-Enrich Test, and meeting with the pastor to analyze the results of this test. This is a test that asks numerous questions, and gives an assessment about your compatibility with one another, the areas where you are strong and those which present challenges.
c) Getting a sponsor couple. The engaged couple will meet with the sponsor couple several times, and act as guides and mentors for the engaged Couple.
NOTE: In some cases, this requirement may be replaced by taking a retreat, offered by the Diocese, in which couples meet with guides and other engaged couples for a weekend of prayer, discernment and learning.
They are to meet with someone to learn about Natural Family Planning. This God-centered Catholic alternative to artificial birth control is a way of approaching the future birth of children, which falls in line with the plan that God has for marital intimacy. Age of the couple will be taken into account in regard to this requirement.
The planning of the specific wedding liturgy will be done only after the rest of the planning has taken place. But this planning for this special day will be done with the pastor and anyone else who plays a significant role in the wedding.
Those who have been previously married will have to see the pastor to check whether an annulment will be needed before being able to marry in the Catholic Church. This will involve further requirements for marriage.