Marriage

If you are intending to marry in our Church then you will receive a warm welcome and we will be glad to give you every assistance. However, marriage is a serious matter and the following notes are designed to help you understand what ‘marrying in Church’ is about and answer some of your initial questions.

Understanding the sacrament of marriage
Marriage, a lifelong union between a man and a woman for procreation and mutual support, is a natural institution, but it is also one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It reflects the union of Jesus Christ and His Church. Providing proper preparation for marriage is seen as the community’s way of helping couples to make the very best start of their lives together.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Article 1601) states:
THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY 1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
“The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage.” The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. “The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”

Marriage outside of the Catholic Church

When a Catholic person wishes to be married in a Christian church, e.g. Anglican, they must first speak to their Parish Priest; the celebrant in the Christian church will ask if the person has received the permission of their Parish Priest.

For marriages that have taken place outside of the Catholic church, (where one or both parties are Catholic), and if permission had not been granted for the marriage by the Bishop, couples are encouraged to speak to their Parish Priest about “Convalidation”. Convalidation is a ceremony in which a  marriage, such a civil marriage or marriage in another church, is made recognised by the Catholic church. It is not a renewal of the previous intention to marry, but a new act of consent by each spouse.  

Initial enquiry to the parish
For very good pastoral reasons, the Bishop requires at least 1 year’s preparation before marriage takes place. At a very minimum, six-months’ notice must be given. This applies even if you are planning a wedding in another Catholic parish either in the UK or abroad.  The time starts from the date of the initial interview with the Parish Priest. The first step is therefore to meet the priest at the Parish Office. The Parish Secretary will NOT agree a date for the wedding or make a booking for the church until this initial interview has taken place.

First meeting
The priest and couple will complete the Diocesan Pre-Nuptial enquiry form. Both partners will be asked for various details and to give answers to questions concerning their freedom to marry, including whether either partner has ever been married before. We advise against couples making any wedding arrangements (eg. booking a Reception venue) until they have met the Parish Priest and he has positively agreed wedding plans. Both partners will need to provide copies of their Baptism Certificates (if Christian), which must be dated within six months of the wedding date and evidence that no previous marriage has taken place.

Instruction and Preparation
Normal practice is for couples to attend a Marriage Preparation Course; St. John’s is currently able to offer a course – please download the attached information or email stjohntadworthmarriageprep@gmail.com.

It is expected that couples attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation just before the wedding day.

Practical information
For further information about registration, what happens on the day and various practicalities, please download the attached guidance notes on Marriage Practical Arrangements.

What if I’ve been married before?
Individuals considering marriage who have been married before are strongly advised not to give up on having a church wedding because of their understanding of what ‘no divorce’ in the Catholic church means. Having a chat with the parish priest will provide couples with the facts and assist them in their plans. While there is an expectation that couples approaching the church for marriage have a degree of faith and practice (at least one partner), a warm welcome without a judgemental attitude can be expected.

 

 

St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church

59 The Avenue, Tadworth,

Surrey KT20 5DB

Office Contact Number:

01737 813102

Parish Office Opening Times:

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday  9:00 am-2:00 pm

Parish Secretary:

Maria Foster

tadworth@abdiocese.org.uk

 

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