More than any other human relationship, matrimony most clearly reflects the unity and fruitful love between Christ and his Church.
Congratulations on your engagement! The clergy and staff of St. James take seriously the Sacrament of Matrimony and strive to offer in-depth marriage formation in order to provide a solid foundation with which to begin your lifelong partnership.
Steps for getting married in the Church
These steps are a general guide to support and prepare you for your marriage and are normally customized to best serve the couple. For couples already civilly married (outside of the Church) the priest may use his discretion in determining the length and nature of the marriage preparation if they demonstrate a stable relationship, as long as the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life is effectively presented.
1. Schedule a meeting with the pastor at Least Six Months prior to Anticipated Wedding Date (Contact us)
To schedule a wedding, the bishop requires at least 6 months of marriage preparation before the actual wedding. The purpose of this period is to support you in discerning your readiness to marry, and to assist in your ability to communicate on vital issues. During this period you will come to a deeper knowledge of one another and of the Sacrament of Matrimony through regular monthly meetings with the priest.
When contemplating a wedding date please note that Holy Matrimony is permitted, but discouraged during Advent, Lent, Ember Days or other days of penance. Weddings are not allowed on the days leading up to Easter: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday. Please note that wedding dates can only be determined in consultation with the parish in order to assure that the date is available.
2. Complete the Necessary Paperwork
- Parish Registration: If not already registered, please print and bring completed form with you to your first meeting with the pastor.
- Ordinariate membership: either the bride or the groom will need to be an Ordinariate member by completing this form and including a copy of your confirmation certificate or permission must be obtained from your canonical pastor (normally the pastor of the Catholic parish you live nearest).
- Marriage License: obtained within sixty days of the marriage and given to the priest
- Sacramental Certificates: An updated baptismal certificate obtained within the last six months from the parish of baptism (if either the man or the woman is not Catholic an older baptismal certificate will do).
3. Take a Relationship Inventory (Recommended)
The inventory helps engaged couples identify and address key issues to work through prior to marriage so that you can strengthen your relationship through discussions about important aspects of married life. It is highly recommended that you take the FOCCUS Inventory as soon as possible. The results will be sent to your Priest for discussion with you.
4. Attend a Marriage Preparation Course (Recommended)
There are 2 primary marriage preparation courses in the Diocese of St. Augustine: Pre Cana and Engaged Encounter. These courses differ in format but are each designed to help engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage by covering topics such as sexuality, family, and their role in the Church.
5. Attend a Course in Natural Family Planning (Recommended)
NFP is a low cost, modern method of achieving or avoiding pregnancy in which a couple learns to observe and chart the woman’s naturally-occurring, biological indicators of fertility (this is not the much-criticized “rhythm” method of yesteryear). NFP is at least as effective in avoiding pregnancy as the most effective modern methods of contraception, although it is not contraceptive. Instead, through NFP, a couple works with the sacredness, beauty, and goodness of their fertility resulting in a healthier, stronger, and happier marriage than those who use contraception. Because the course requires monthly meetings spread over several months; couples are urged to sign up as soon as possible.
6. Plan the Liturgy/Wedding
Your wedding within the Church is a sacramental event, a transformative grace, and so the planning of the liturgical celebration reflects this. The Priest will provide you the resources you need to prepare for your wedding celebration and will guide you according to the norms of the Church.
7. Become One!
Profess your vows to one another before the altar of God and, with the exchange of the rings, unite yourselves as husband and wife, to have and to hold until death do you part.
Then celebrate with friends and family this new Sacrament that you have become!
What is the cost for a wedding?
There is no charge for the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals. However the amount of $1,000 is normally requested as an offering upon the completion of a wedding. However, no one may be deprived of this assistance because of financial inability.