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Catholic Weddings

Pre-Marriage Classes

My family really wants us to get married in a catholic church. I was raised Catholic but don't go to church much any more. My fiance isn't Catholic. We are now researching taking the pre-marital classes that are requied. What should we expect? Will they not marry us since we live together...I don't know if that sounds silly but I'm not sure!Thanks!

Re: Pre-Marriage Classes

  • meltoinemeltoine member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    edited December 2011
    It all really depends on your diocese, parish, and priest. No matter where you are married, you will have to take the pre-marital classes. Different diocese have different requirement for these - for example, we had to go through Pre-Cana and NFP classes in the Archdiocese of NY. As for the Pre-Cana itself, the are a few options. We did ours online since my FI is stationed half-way across the country from where I live. Some people do what's called an Engaged Encounter Weekend- where you basically have a retreat-type experience for a weekend, usually Friday night/Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. In this option, you will be there with a bunch of other engaged couples and you will hear talks from married couples and a priest or two about important issues you should discuss before marriage. In between, you will have time to discuss these things and there will probably be some group activities. Some of the programmes are really cheesy, but most people I know who've chosen this option got a lot out of it. The other option for Pre-Cana is an individual programme where you and FI meet with a priest one night a week for a few weeks/months (depending on his particular programme and what he feels he needs to discuss with you). This can be more time consuming, but it works well for people who work / are otherwise busy on the weekends. As for not marrying you because you live together, most priests will still marry you, but they may have more extensive requirements for Pre-Cana. Some of the more conservative priests won't marry you until you have a "separation of residence" for a certain period of time, but these priests are rare nowadays. My advice- pick a church (maybe the one your parents go to, if they go and are near where you are getting married - or any other church for that matter) and make an appointment to talk to the pastor. Ask him if he will marrying despite your living together and ask him about the diocese/parish requirements for pre-marital counseling. Sorry to have written you a book, but I hope it helps!
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  • edited December 2011
    I think the first thing you need to do is to figure out if YOU want to get married in the Catholic Church; this shouldn't be a choice that your parents make for you. If the Church no longer means anything to you, you probably shouldn't be having a Catholic ceremony. If it does, than you and your FI should talk about it together. This is a choice for both of you. Most priests won't refuse to marry you just because you're living together; how concerned they are about the situation depends on the priest. Our priest said next to nothing about us living together and is completely fine with FI not being Catholic. If you do marry in the Church, you need to ask your parish and your priest about required pre-Cana classes; most will reccommend one or two to you. Our priest wanted us to go to a day-long workshop about marriage in the Church, and it actually was not that bad. Other parishes have different requirements.
  • bmberendsenbmberendsen member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for all your help!
  • edited December 2011
    It really depends on the priest.  The priest at our church doesn't allow people to have a Mass at their wedding ceremony if they are living together, but does allow them to have a wedding ceremony without mass.  Just start asking around!Either way, you need to take Pre-Cana if you decide to get married in the church.  We had 3 options: Engaged Encounter, classes, or sponsor couple.  I did the Engaged Encounter last weekend and would definitely recommend it.  The format was: presenting married couples give a talk on a topic, we separately write answers to questions related to that topic, and then we (fiance and I) discuss our answers alone.  Sounds boring but they tried hard to make it a special weekend and we actually had a great time!Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    we r getting married in a catholic church and i only tell them what they need to know..thats all...in the end..does it really m ake a difference?
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  • edited December 2011
    does it really m ake a difference?If you are ok with lying to a priest, that's between you and God.  A lie of ommission is still a lie.OP, you can find a priest that will marry you even though you live together.  Some of the conservative priests won't, but the majority will.  Your bigger issue is deciding whether you want to marry in the church for you or for your parents.  You should have a ceremony that is meaningful to you and your FI and reflects your beliefs, not those of your parents.
  • tnspighttnspight member
    edited December 2011
    I agree with pp's in that if being Cath isn't important to you any more, you shouldn't feel pressured to get married in the church. I suppose if your parents are paying for everything you might feel more obligated, but your fam should understand it's about what you two are comfortable with doing. If getting married in the church is not a problem, then go for it! The church might ask that you attend/belong for six months prior to the wedding though. Fi and I loved our pre Cana (Archdiocese of Detroit)! We thought that we had talked about everything but had some very meaningful discussions. If you decide to get married in the Church, you'll take a test (FOCCUS/PREPARE are the two I know of) and then discuss the answers with your priest (or whomever's responsible for that at your church, we are a small parish). The test consists of statements on finances, kids/parenting, sex, etc. and you select agree, disagree or unsure. We only talked about the statements where our answers disagreed. The FOCCUS test had a section on living together. My co-worker was married last month and the priest knew they lived together. We also had to take a class at a local community college on marriage - Before you say I do. It was one night for three hours with other engaged couples. Even if you decide to get married outside the church, you can do marriage prep w/ a counselor/therapist. My g'friend did that for her wedding. GL! HTH
  • bmberendsenbmberendsen member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks everybody! I really have to sit down and think about weather or not I really want to be married in the catholic church...its important to me because it seems like such a huge part of my upbirnging. I don't know if I'm doing it just to save myself from a fight with my stepmother though! But thanks for all the thoughts!
  • edited December 2011
    You've gotten some great advice so far.  I just wanted to say that getting married in the Catholic Church is definitely a labor intensive process and not something to be taken lightly.  You really should not be making this decision to make your parents happy, you should only do this if you and your FI want to do it.  GL!
  • lineallowsforlineallowsfor member
    edited December 2011
    Also, since you are 6 months from your date, it could be slightly more difficult to get married in the Church.  Most want at least a year notice, and have very specific times when you can get married (at my parish, it's 9am, 11am and 2pm).  The limited time frame can also make it more hectic for you to get all the required paperwork and classes completed.  Just another thing to consider!  For me, it is 100% worth it to get married in the Church.
  • edited December 2011
    As a few girls have already suggested, find the church in your area and set up a meeting with the deacon.  I was scared at first myself, as my fiance and I both live together and share a son.  I don't know what I thought, that I'd be looked down on or told I should have acted better in the Church's eyes or something but it was NOTHING like that.  The deacon was very welcoming, very friendly, was able to answer all my questions and.... doesn't seem to have an issue with us living together or sharing a child.

    In fact, beyond what normal couples have to do, the only difference is that my fiance has to go through RCIA classes since he was not baptized at all.  That's our only regulation.  Good luck with your planning!
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