Catholic Weddings
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What to expect...?

I probably should have posted this earlier but... My FI and I are meeting with the priest at our church for the first time tonight.  I converted to Catholicism  5 yrs ago, and FI is not baptized.  Since my family isn't Catholic I don't know anyone personally that has gone through marriage prep.  On top of this, we recently moved, and eventhough we will be married where we lived before, all our preparation will be done in our new location. So it's a church we are not familiar with since we are new parishoners.  So I am looking for any insight on what to expect from the process, and how our first meeting will go.  Any insight you can give would be greatly apperciated.

Re: What to expect...?

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    edited December 2011
    I also recently converted, and I have no Catholic family except for one great-aunt who converted and died when I was very young. We had out first meeting exactly two weeks ago today, and we completed out FOCCUS test one week ago. We met with our Priest, and he asked us a couple of relationship details like when he proposed, ect. He asked us if we had any questions. We requested a date, and he told us that the deacons would be handling the process from here on out. We had a FOCCUS test a week later. It was around 160 questions about our relationship. They have sample questions on their website. We are still waiting to hear back to see how we scored. Depending on that score we will be meeting with our deacon either more or less often to talk through some of those issues. We also signed up for Pre-Cana in November. Until our scores come back though, we are just waiting it out. Since we both converted, the Deacon's wife is going to be helping us plan the ceremony, and she offered to do this because I am friends with her daughter. But you could maybe ask if there was someone who could help out?
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    mica178mica178 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011

    A lot is different from church to church, priest to priest.  I have heard of some churches not marrying interfaith couples, others welcome them as long as both are willing to do the Catholic marriage prep and are committed to having a Catholic family.

    If your FI isn't baptised, you'll need to apply for a dispensation to get married.  The length of time for that to happen depends on how quickly you can do the paperwork and on your parish/diocese.

    You'll also need to do the marriage prep as required by your local diocese.  For me, that was the Engaged Encounter, which is a weekend with a bunch of other engaged couples that is led by married couples.  It covered everything from communication and finances to conflict resolution and some family planning.  I found that there were very few "Catholic-specific" parts to the EE, so my non-Catholic FI felt comfortable there.  We thought it was a very pleasant experience that made us feel even more strongly about our compatibility as a couple.

    But our first meeting was very basic.  Our priest congratulated us.  The parish secretary made sure there weren't conflicting things with our wedding date.  We talked a little about marriage prep.  The priest gave us a book to read and told us that he was there to support the marriage in the long run, not just the months leading to the wedding.  Easy peasy.  In this day and age with more people having destination weddings and JOP weddings, I think a lot of priests are thrilled when couples express an interest to get married in the church and go through the process of examining the relationship before the wedding and building a strong foundation.

    Congratulations and good luck!

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    edited December 2011
    The first meeting is generally just information gathering.  Since you don't know the priest that well, he will probably start off with chit chat to learn about the two of you, such as where you are from, how you met, how long you've been together.  Then he'll probably explain the marriage process and the types of paperwork you'll need to do.  If you have a date in mind, you might be able to book it then.  You may set up future dates for meeting with the priest and he may give you some wedding guidelines for the church.

    This website can give you a lot of info on Catholic weddings, including how it works when marrying a non-Catholic.  http://catholicweddinghelp.com/

    Marriage prep varies slightly from diocese to diocese, but generally you can expect to attend Pre-Cana classes (either as a series of 1-2 hour classes, an all day class, or a weekend retreat).  I know a lot of people are apprehensive about Pre-Cana, especially if one of the couple isn't Catholic, but they are mostly focused on pratical matters like communications skills, being on the same page with finances, talking about how many kids you want to have and how you want to raise them.  At some point you'll also each take a FOCCUS survey that helps identify problem areas that you and your FI might need to work on and discuss the results with the priest. 

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    edited December 2011
    mica178 summed it up perfectly. That is precisely what we did as well.
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