The Church welcomes you to this sacrament of Marriage in the spirit of Jesus who said:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
The Marriage Preparation Process
The marriage preparation process is designed to guide engaged couples towards a sacramental marriage celebration and provide essential tools to live out this lifelong covenant. The Catholic Church believes that Christian Marriage is a sacred covenant, entered into by a man and a woman, who commit themselves to each other, through Christ, for a partnership of life and love.
The process can take anywhere from 6-12 months. This goes beyond choosing a date and church, reserving a place for the reception, and picking out dresses. It means using this time to delve more deeply into your relationship and approach this momentous day with prayer and reflection.
1. Preliminary Interview
Contact our church office to schedule a meeting with our Director of Evangelization. This should take place between six to twelve months prior to your anticipated wedding date and before any arrangements are made or a wedding date is set.
During your preliminary interview, the Director of Evangelization will explain to you the marriage preparation process, provide you with the diocesan Marriage Preparation Guidelines & Calendar, and request any necessary documents from you and your fiancé(e).
2. Required Documents
Before your wedding, your pre-nuptial file must be completed with the following documents:
Certificate of Baptism with all notations for each Catholic Party (within the last six months).
A Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire (Form A) is to be completed with the Director of Evangelization and signed by all parties.
A Letter of Freedom to Marry (Form B) is to be completed by two witnesses on behalf of each engaged person. Forms are available at the parish.
A Certificate of Completion from a diocesan approved marriage preparation program.
A valid Florida Marriage License. Visit your county’s website for more information.
Death Certificate of previous spouse or Annulment Decree, if you were previously married.
Canonical Dispensations and Permissions, if necessary.
3. "Fully Engaged" Pre-Marital Inventory
After your meeting with the Director of Evangelization, you will complete a pre-marital inventory to help identify and work through any issues that need to be addressed with a mentor couple prior to your wedding date. While pre-marital inventories are not predictors of marital success, they can be a helpful tool for growth and preparation.
4. Instruction & Diocesan Pre-Cana
In addition to a pre-marital inventory, you will receive formation to help you grow in your understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage and practical skills, such as communication, parenting, financial management, natural family planning, and couple prayer through formation meetings at the parish and a day-long diocesan Pre-Cana Retreat.
5. Wedding Date
A wedding date may be noted during the preliminary interview for the sake of wedding planning and arrangements, but the final date for the wedding is not to be set until proper paperwork is received, the entire formation process is completed, and the decision to proceed is made.
6. Wedding Liturgy
You will plan your wedding liturgy with the help of the Director of Evangelization, the Liturgical Wedding Planner, and the Director of Music and Liturgy. Areas for liturgical planning include the selection of the scriptures, music, liturgical ministries, and other related issues.
Annulments / Declarations of Nullity
What is often referred to as a “marriage annulment” in the Church is actually a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic Church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.
If you are seeking an annulment or have questions regarding the annulment process,
contact our Director of Evangelization at
email@example.com or call our office at (386)-767-6111.
Church Teaching on Divorce FAQ
Bringing Your Marriage into the Church
For various reasons, Catholics may find themselves in a civil marriage, in a marriage that took place before a non-Catholic minister without the knowledge or permission of the Catholic Church or in a common-law marriage. In time, some seek to have their marriages approved or “blessed” by the Catholic Church. When this can be accomplished, the ceremony that constitutes the marriage as a true sacramental union is called a "convalidation."
A convalidation involves the willingness of both husband and wife to make a new act of the will to enter into a valid Catholic marriage. Because of the number of variables involved in convalidation situations, such as possible previous marriages to other parties, the length of time married civilly, and the reasons which led to the choice to marry outside of the church the first time, each convalidation case is unique. You will find more information about seeking a convalidation below.
Process for Convalidation
The first step is to get in contact with our Director of Evangelization to discuss your particular situation and help you through the process. He will provide you with information about what documents need to be gathered prior to convalidating a civil marriage. If either party has a previous marriage, He will also provide some information about the annulment process and, if you wish, help you get started.