Catholic Weddings

trouble finding a priest (anyone in San Antonio?)

Hi, I am newly engaged, and quite honestly pretty lost as to where to begin with planning my Catholic wedding to my non-Catholic fiance.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  I'm in San Antonio, TX, so I also welcome any words of wisdom pertaining particularly to this diocese.

The situation: My fiance and I both live in San Antonio, but neither of us grew up here (thus no home church that I feel a great connection to).  We want to have the wedding here though.  I am a registered parishioner at a church near my home, but for various reasons I would like to have the wedding at my university's (Christian but not Catholic) chapel.  I know I'll have to get permission from the bishop to have my wedding there, and I don't think it will be an issue.  However, I'm running into problems finding a priest to do marriage preparation and the wedding.  The pastor at my home parish told me he couldn't/wouldn't do a wedding there, and that I need to find a different priest.  He suggested contacting a church near the university.  I contacted the new church, and their pastor recently passed away and they will not be appointed a new pastor until August.  They have 2 priests saying mass, but they are kind of temporary; neither one has an office at the church and the secretary didn't think either would be able to commit to marrying us and doing the preparation.  The secretary at the university's chapel office told me that Catholic weddings are performed there, but you have to find your own priest.  The priest who does student masses there is not affiliated with the university and the secretary wasn't able to give me his name/number.  I'm not sure what to do at this point - do I keep calling churches until I find a priest willing to marry us?  Do I wait until the church near the university gets a new pastor, and try again?  Are there any other options?  I don't really know any priests and I really don't want to wait until August to get started on this; I want to get married next March or April and am itching to set a date.  

And then a few other questions...
Has anyone had issues with getting married during Lent?
Has anyone been married by a deacon?  With my fiance not being Catholic, I would consider not having a full mass.  If you're married by a deacon, does he do your marriage preparation also?

Re: trouble finding a priest (anyone in San Antonio?)

  • Maybe check with the diocese of San Antonio?  You might also look up the university's Catholic Student Center, as it will probably have info on the priest.  You would also probably be able to find that info through the diocesan website -- I know that the priest who married us (who was the priest at my husband's university) was listed as "Priest in Residence" at the closest parish.

    I can't remember, but I know we had quite a lull in weddings on this board during Lent, so it would make sense that most churches don't do weddings at that time.  However, that doesn't completely rule out an early March or late April wedding -- you just need to check the dates of Lent/Easter.

    Deacons can perform ceremonies.  I think the issue of who does your marriage prep varies from parish to parish.  We met with a pastoral associate, a sponsor couple, and then did Engaged Encounter for our marriage prep.  We had dinner with our priest, but didn't talk about the wedding.
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  • Deacons are a good idea. Ask you current church for any ideas on them.
    As for priests (and I suppose also deacons,) keep in mind that they are BUSY. And for them, time is priceless. If they don't "know" you, and see that you are committed to their church, they have no reason to go out of their way to marry you, no matter how much you pay them! 

    Lent weddings are permitted but discouraged - some churches will allow them and some won't.

    August is not too late to find a priest; I understand that you are anxious, but some things are what they are. Check and make sure your diocese's policy of how long you have to be engaged for - in most dioceses it is 6 months (which means you would be fine looking for a priest in August for a April wedding), but in some it is 9. (If it's 9, then you might want to be a bit more assertive.) 

    oh... whoa, whoa, whoa....just re-reading your post... the chapel you want to get married in is Christian but NOT Catholic? It is almost impossible to get married in a non-Catholic church. You basically need the permission of the bishop, which is not normally given except in very rare circumstances like your FI's father is a protestant pastor... NOT just b/c you "have a connection" with a certain location. I assume this would fall in that category. Good luck, but I think you're going to want to start thinking of alternatives... 
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  • Lala, this chapel might be a lot like the chapel where H attended mass during school -- a chapel at a Methodist university, but held weekly masses for the Catholic students.  We actually considered getting married there.
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  • Really? hm... did you actually seriously investigate getting married there, like to the point of knowing that there was priest willing to do it? I mean, cuz just cuz a chapel holds masses doesn't mean that it has gone through the actual ceremony of being made into a Catholic church,  like there is a special dedication and everything... I dont know for certain, but I am *pretty* sure that is what is required for a marriage to take place.
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  • Well, we attended a Catholic wedding there, performed by the same priest who married us, so I assume it was okay.  ;)

    It's certainly worth it to check out, though.
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  • Tami87Tami87
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
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    I actually think many University chapels are like this. I know at Maryland it is nondenominational chapel but the priest from the Catholic student center holds daily mass there as well as Sunday and you can get married there.

    I second looking for the Universities student center website and see if you can find contact info for the priest there. Also while I know you are anxious to set a date August may still be enough time. Good luck!
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  • TXKristan said:
    lalaith50 said:
    Really? hm... did you actually seriously investigate getting married there, like to the point of knowing that there was priest willing to do it? I mean, cuz just cuz a chapel holds masses doesn't mean that it has gone through the actual ceremony of being made into a Catholic church,  like there is a special dedication and everything... I dont know for certain, but I am *pretty* sure that is what is required for a marriage to take place.

    If OP is referring to Trinity University in San Antonio, I can attest that the Archdiocese DOES allow Catholic weddings to be held there, despite the fact it is not a Catholic Church. There is some sort of dispensation .... One of my friends got married there and had to go through a long process bc she was baptized Maronite and the chapel is approved for the Roman rite.
    Yes, Trinity!  I've seen fb pictures floating around of a few acquaintances who had Catholic weddings there (unfortunately no one I'm familiar enough with to ask them about it), and my mom's (deceased) aunt was also married there.  That's why I don't think it will be an issue, other than actually finding a priest to do it.
  • Everyone I know who has gone to Trinity has been Catholic.  I had no idea it isn't a Catholic university.
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  • Tami87 said:
     I second looking for the Universities student center website and see if you can find contact info for the priest there. Also while I know you are anxious to set a date August may still be enough time. Good luck!
    My concern with waiting til August is that I won't be able to find an available reception venue that late...I had originally wanted to get married in November but was talked out of it by my mom and fiance because it would be such a time crunch with trying to get everything booked and planned in 6 months.  I would hate to have a date set and venue booked and then have the priest tell me that he can't do it for whatever reason.  But!  I did find the Catholic Student Group's website, got the name of the priest who does their campus masses, and was able to find his contact info through the campus ministry page on the archdiocese website.  So I will explore that route.
  • Everyone I know who has gone to Trinity has been Catholic.  I had no idea it isn't a Catholic university.
    It was actually originally Presbyterian, but is no longer affiliated with any church.
  • Tami87 said:
     I second looking for the Universities student center website and see if you can find contact info for the priest there. Also while I know you are anxious to set a date August may still be enough time. Good luck!
    My concern with waiting til August is that I won't be able to find an available reception venue that late...I had originally wanted to get married in November but was talked out of it by my mom and fiance because it would be such a time crunch with trying to get everything booked and planned in 6 months.  I would hate to have a date set and venue booked and then have the priest tell me that he can't do it for whatever reason.  But!  I did find the Catholic Student Group's website, got the name of the priest who does their campus masses, and was able to find his contact info through the campus ministry page on the archdiocese website.  So I will explore that route.
    I totally get what you mean.  It's definitely best to nail down a date with the church/priest before booking venues.  I also understand not wanting to get married any later than April in San Antonio (and your guests will thank you)!  While it's not ideal, is it possible to wait until next Fall?  I only ask because it might end up being an option you need to consider (also I am biased toward Fall weddings).
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  • I'm biased toward fall weddings too, but my fiance didn't propose til mid-April...I just couldn't get him and my mom on board with this fall (and considering the trouble I'm having finding a priest, I guess it's good to have the extra time).  I'm pretty dead set on no later than next April.  We dated 4.5 years before he proposed, and I am ready to do this!  I mean, if it doesn't work out it doesn't work out, but I feel like there's still plenty I can do to make next spring a reality.
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