Catholic Weddings
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6 month marriage prep?

Hi lovely ladies,

I am newly engaged (yay!) and my first priority is choosing a church. I'm new to New England (formerly from the Deep South) and have been going to a few churches in the area regularly. I want to make sure that I choose a priest and a church that suits both myself and my FI (who is not Catholic but respects my faith and wants to be a part of it).

One of the things about which I'm still somewhat confused is the length of time needed for marriage prep with a priest. I am fully aware that we will have to complete pre-cana at some point. Most people tell me that we need 6 months before the wedding to meet with the priest regularly, go through inventories, etc. Yet most stories I've read seem to include just a weekend or week of this preparation.

So is it one, the other, or both? I'm somewhat concerned because my FI will be deployed in August for a year, and I want to make sure our timeline is appropriate (we're waiting until after he comes back to get married). And I'd like to have a better understanding of Catholic marriage prep before choosing a priest.

Thanks in advance!
Hard as love can be, love is the only eternal reality." -George Weigel Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: 6 month marriage prep?

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    pjseabeepjseabee member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My brother did his in one weekend,  ours will take about 6 months due to FI's school schedule.  We can't meet with our priest during the week, so it's Saturdays only and then trying to find a weekend that works for us to do the 8 hour class our priest wants us to attend.  We can't do it till October.  However, if you let your priest know ASAP about your time constraints, maybe they can help you expedite the process.   It's all up to the priest you choose.
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    ring_popring_pop member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    The prep itself is short (ours was 3 weekends), but you should definitely get in touch with the church and priest as early as possible regarding setting a date and booking your wedding. Other than the pre-Cana itself, you'll need to have at least a couple of meetings with the priest and paperwork to get in order. You may even need to register as a parishioner at the church before they'll let you book a wedding.

    If you plan to get married as soon as your FI gets back from deployment, I would suggest meeting with the priest before he goes. If you're not comfortable choosing a priest yet, you can at least call the church secretary and inquire about the process of having a wedding there.
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    akg0053akg0053 member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Since we aren't getting married at our parish, we have to start our marriage prep... now. Nine months out, to be exact.

    We are doing the engaged encounter weekend, but they are all booked up until sometime this summer. Until then, we are taking the FOCCUS and going over that, etc. 

    Honestly, it really doesn't take long. The majority of these months are really basically trying to get on schedules it seems :o)
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    Theresa626Theresa626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    It's true that you only spend really one to three weekends doing the actual marriage prep yet every church I've ever seen has a waiting period of six months from the time you initially contact them until the time you actually have a wedding date.  Start contacting churches immediately.  YOu can probably get your pre-cana done before he even leaves for deployment.  However, having the wedding before then might be difficult. 
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    meltoinemeltoine member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment
    edited December 2011
    The timeline varies by parish. Each priest/parish has different requirements for Pre-Cana. My priest required us to complete the course offered by the diocese which took about 2 months. We also had to attend NFP class which took 3 months. Some priests meet with you multiple times to discuss various things and others have other requirements. Another priest I know meets with his couples weekly for about 3 months before marrying them. 

    I suggest finding a parish and priest first and figuring out what their requirements are. 
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    edited December 2011
    It all depends on the priest and his requirements and the dioceses you are in. My FI and I just finished our last mtg with the priest today. We started back in the fall, so I guess it has been about 6 months come to think of it. We were required to do the pre-cana (which was several meetings), Engaged Encounter weekend and take the FOCCUS test and discuss it.

    I ditto what other knotties said, just make sure you communicate your needs to your priest once you decide. Good Luck and congrats on your engagement!
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    edited December 2011
    Obviously from the variety of responses, it varies.  For our pre-cana we had to go to an orientation night, come back to take the FOCCUS and personality tests, have two meetings with a counselor to go over this tests/discuss any discrepancies, attend two "nights of engagement" where we meet with the other engaged couples and attend seminars, write autobiographies which we go over with the priest, meet with him another three times to discuss specific topics, and attend an 3 day engaged encounter weekend.

    I think ours was much more than what many on here are required to do.
    Married February 26th, 2011 TTC #1 since May 2011
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    edited December 2011
    Thanks ladies! Your responses have helped me come to peace with everyone's varied advice. I've just contacted a church about their process, so I'm hoping to hear back very soon.

    I'm very grateful! And I'm sure I'll be back with more Q&A! :)
    Hard as love can be, love is the only eternal reality." -George Weigel Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    edited December 2011
    Most parishes do require 6 month to a year lead time. However, the church we are getting married in is super lenient. We called and booked the church over the phone, then had to meet the priest once, for about half and hour while we went over details and certified we were coming into this willingly. I was shocked when he ASSUMED we lived together. I was expecting to at least get some disaproval for that. After this, all we have to do is precana of our choice (1 weekend for the one we chose) and bring our paperwork to the rehearsal.

    I know you are in New England. This church is on Cape Cod if you are interested. The priest was really nice. Oh, and we are non-parishoners.
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    edited December 2011
    Hi have you heard back from the church yet? I have not been able to discuss this with my priest yet. But very soon. I am in a somewhat similar situation as you with time constraints here is my question below-Also update us.

    I am engaged my fiancee lives in another country. I am in the process of doing the church annulment. It will be finished in a few weeks. I will be doing a K1 Fiancee visa. However we must marry within 90 days per immigration rules within him coming here (US). I have read on my archdiocese website that pre-marriage/pre-cana is a min of 6 mths. I know that we must take pre-cana classes but can we be given dispenstation of the 6 mth wait? If were to take as many classes as possible during the 90 days could we get married in the church? That is what I want so much! We are only restricted by immigration rules.
    Thanks!
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    Theresa626Theresa626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Karen, I am jealous of you.
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    edited December 2011

    Yeah, I walked out of that meeting like, that's it? I was really nervous about the living together thing but he was just like, ok same address?


    Shanell-- would you consider a court house wedding to get around the immigration stuff then plan and prepare for the church wedding? In either case, this seems like the sort of situation the church would be willing to bend on, assuming it is clear you aren't getting married just for the immigration. I'd talk to the priest asap.

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