Catholic Weddings

Church wedding without pre cana?

My fiance and I are both Catholic, however we do not actively go to church. His mother would like us to get married in church, but we are both uncomfortable with the thought of having to go through with pre cana.

I read a few different places that it depends on the diocese and everything, but cannot find any information on locations. Does anyone know of locations in NY that offer the ceremony with no pre cana? 

Re: Church wedding without pre cana?

  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    My fiance and I are both Catholic, however we do not actively go to church. His mother would like us to get married in church, but we are both uncomfortable with the thought of having to go through with pre cana.

    I read a few different places that it depends on the diocese and everything, but cannot find any information on locations. Does anyone know of locations in NY that offer the ceremony with no pre cana? 
    If this is something that his mother wants and neither of you are interested in, he needs to be honest with her and you two need to do what's right for you regarding the kind of wedding you'll have.

    However, if you do want a Catholic wedding for yourself, you are 95% likely to have to do marriage prep of some sort.  You'll need to look at the parish where you want to marry and see what their requirements are.  Are you and/or your FI registered parishioners?  If not, that may make things more difficult for you.

    If I may ask .... what about the marriage prep makes you uncomfortable?  They offer good, practical advice.




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    MesmrEwedoclago
  • Uhm... I think we are? I'm honestly not sure what registered means. I've been going to the same church since I'm 3 and him, a church in Brooklyn.... But aside from holidays we never go to church. We tried talking to his mom but she's convinced "if we don't receive the sacrament of matrimony, we can't receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick because the church wont recognize us and we also can't receive the Eucharist anymore" We're uncomfortable because we're both really introverted and we're not fans of discussing our relationship to someone we don't know, nor do we want their "permission" to get married. Also the thought of counseling, makes us extremely uncomfortable
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    Uhm... I think we are? I'm honestly not sure what registered means. I've been going to the same church since I'm 3 and him, a church in Brooklyn.... But aside from holidays we never go to church. We tried talking to his mom but she's convinced "if we don't receive the sacrament of matrimony, we can't receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick because the church wont recognize us and we also can't receive the Eucharist anymore" We're uncomfortable because we're both really introverted and we're not fans of discussing our relationship to someone we don't know, nor do we want their "permission" to get married. Also the thought of counseling, makes us extremely uncomfortable
    Do you (or your parents) receive envelopes for donations?  If so, then you are registered parishioners.  I've heard one story where a church required a couple to be registered parishioners for 6 months prior to beginning their marriage prep.  However, I've never heard of that otherwise (and I've been to & know a lot of couples who have gotten married in the Catholic church).  However, I know that for several parishes, the fees for use of the church for marriage (outside of a regular Sunday Mass) are a bit higher if you're not a parishioner.  That's why I ask.  Normally when you start attending a church regularly, they will encourage you to register so they can better serve you (helps them with numbers and helps distribute communication).

    Your FMIL is partially right.  If you & your FI do not marry in the Catholic church, you will no longer be in communion with the church and would not be in a state to receive the Eucharist.  However, I have never heard of someone being denied the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick because they weren't Catholic.  I had a surgery a few years ago and requested to be anointed at a hospital down the road from the hospital shortly after my pre-op.  I was not a parishioner at that church and the priest did not know me.  He didn't flinch.  Something else to keep in mind is that the Eucharist & Anointing are two very different sacraments.  The Church "obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.  But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily." - CCC 1389.  There is no such obligation to receive the sacrament of Anointing of the sick (fun fact ... you don't have to be dying to receive it.  I'm 36 and have been anointed 4 times and have never been deathly ill).

    However, this is a decision that you & your FI need to make for yourselves.  This is for you two, not for her.  If you & your FI decide to not marry in the Catholic church, you need to tell her that and tell her that it is not up for discussion.  Be aware, though, that she may decide not to attend your wedding (some Catholics are super hard-core and believe that it is scandalous to attend the wedding of a Catholic who decides to marry outside the church).  Obviously, I wouldn't bring it up to her, but be prepared that she may decide that.

    Regarding marriage prep, my experience from talking to different couples is that each parish has different programs.  When my husband & I got married, we met with a deacon as well as with a sponsor couple.  I also know a couple who went to an all-day class and had a 30-minute meeting with the priest.  It simply depends on the pastor. 

    It's not a matter of someone giving "permission" for you to marry.  What they are doing is preparing you for the sacrament.  Our deacon told us that there were several couples he's worked with where he did not feel comfortable witnessing the wedding.  He said that during the prep, the couple realized that for themselves (knowing him the way I do, I seriously doubt he tried to trick them).  I only know of one time where a priest told a couple that he could not, in good conscience, witness their wedding due to something grave that had just happened between them.  They postponed the wedding and married later once they were all in a better place.  The couple divorced within a year.

    Honestly, the marriage prep was helpful for us.  It helped us identify things that we know may be challenging (for us it was dealing with in-laws and finances).  We didn't get into crazy personal details, and if we had a good reason to not disclose something, they respected that.  

    I strongly encourage you to sit with your FI and have a serious heart-to-heart regarding what you both want for your marriage.  



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    MesmrEwedoclago
  • If anything - the Marriage Prep in the Catholic church is something that I've heard of many couples going through even though they had ZERO intentions of being married in the Catholic church because the prep is second to none out there based on how thorough it is!  In this state there's a significant discount on the cost of a marriage license if a couple goes through premarital counseling! 

    So you're spiritual life consists of being an "Easter Lily" and "Christmas Cactus" - it's a start and better than some.  If you absolutely have no desire to be married in the church, you two need to express that to your respective parents.  If you want to be married in the church, but concerned about the pre-cana, set up a meeting with a priest - you've got nothing to lose other than a couple hours of your time.  It's not unheard of that a priest will say "getting married in the church isn't the right thing for you" and advise you on how to handle the situation when it comes to informing your parents (unlikely but it happens).  But pre-cana is well worth it - nothing to fear!!! The primary focus is on the two of you discussing the harder issues that no one thinks to discuss before being married and "what happens when..." situations that one doesn't even think about until sometimes decades in..  For us it has paid dividends when things weren't sunshine, rainbows, and happy unicorn farts that we thought it'd be before we got married.  Right now it's a point where we're having little lightbulb moments from when we did our prep "oh yea, we talked about that never thinking it'd happen! - so glad we did talk about it!" (not getting into specifics).. 

    Also wholeheartedly agree with everything that @holyguacamole79 said!! 


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  • When FI and I first met, we were both "cultural Catholics", as my mom calls it. We both knew the "smells and bells" of Mass, were proud of our heritage, but didn't attend Mass regularly or follow the teachings very well. I always imagined that if we did get married, it would be in a Catholic ceremony, and that we would baptize our kids, but yeah, mostly because that's what was expected from our families (my parents are very religious). 

    Over the past year, completely independently, we both found ourselves going to church more and kind of drawn back to Catholicism (there are two Catholic churches in town -- I was going to one while FI was going to the other), but it's been a slow process. Hence, pre-cana was something that caused some awkward apprehension for us at first, too. Nevertheless, the rather unromantic, unplanned "proposal" FI made to me ("So, would you like to start Catholic wedding classes?") is something that warms my heart. Mostly because it was a bit uncomfortable for both of us at that time, but we knew we could make it through together and talk through whatever was uncomfortable on our own later. (In actuality, we've spent more time discussing what we felt was RIGHT, but that has been our personal experience).

    Turns out, pre-cana and being married Catholic has been incredibly rewarding, and has helped us really become proud to be Catholic. It has not been bad at all, and I agree with the PPs that it has actually been very, very helpful.  We started with a compatibility test which really just laid basic groundwork testing whether we had discussed things like finances, expectations about kids, how supportive we feel friends are about our relationship, and how involved we want our families to be, etc. There was no pass/fail grade; they just showed us one another's answers at the end, and wherever we didn't answer the same, we were encouraged to discuss. It's been pretty helpful -- even after being together 6 years, we found ourselves faced with some questions we hadn't thought about, and it was good to review.

    The church we are getting married in does require us to attend Natural Family Planning seminar in the Spring, but the other church in town offers a variety of seminars on different topics, and you can choose which one you want to go to if that might be something you're not comfortable with. So perhaps that might be something to scope out.

    Ultimately, it is up to you, not your families, and you should not feel "pressured" to get married through the Catholic church if you don't want to. But if you identify yourselves as Catholic, even just casually, then I recommend looking into it a bit further before making a final decision. I have not found the classes to be preachy or judgmental at all so far, and not even all that religious. Mostly common-sense advice about how to make a marriage work/ keep a strong relationship. 
                        


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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    Love your story, @tigerlily6 !



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