Always ask for an appointment with the priest or deacon before booking the church or function hall for the wedding.
Preparing For a Catholic Wedding
Give at least six months’ notice to the officiating priest. One month’s notice is obligatory by law, but the longer notice requested allows for a calm and serious preparation for marriage. Couples will be urged to attend a Marriage Preparation Program. Sometimes people who have not been to Church for a while can be apprehensive about approaching the Church for a wedding. Since marriage can be a time of rediscovering one’s faith and making a new start, you should not hesitate to discuss your situation with the priest.
Documents Required For Marriage in the Catholic Church
The Notification of Intention to Marry Form must be signed no less than one month prior to the wedding day. Each person must obtain the following documents: (originals are required)
1. Birth Certificate – Available from Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages
2. Baptism Certificate – A copy issued within the previous six months, available from the parish priest where you were baptised. Send him your full name, estimated date of baptism and a stamped self-addressed envelope.
3. If either party has been married before:
3.1 Death certificate of former spouse or
3.2 Decree of Nullity (from the Catholic Marriage tribunal) AND a Civil Divorce Decree.
Marrying a Non-Catholic
Permission can be given for a Catholic to marry someone who is not a Catholic, provided that the Catholic promises to safeguard his/her own Catholic faith and to do all in his/her power to have the children of the marriage baptised and brought up as Catholic. The partner who is not a Catholic is not required to make any promises but is informed of the expectations the Church has of the Catholic partner.
Prayer of the Couple
Father of life and love, you created us in your image – woman and man. We rejoice and thank you for the gift of each other. Sustain us in our love and lead us to a deeper understanding of your love. Jesus, we come before you, seeking your guidance and direction in our relationship. In marriage you call and challenge us to a permanent, exclusive and sacred friendship. Be our strength and support, therefore, as we continue this journey together. Holy Spirit, help us to strive towards a lasting, honest commitment united in love. Give us your strength to carry each other in times of darkness, your joy in times of happiness, and your gift of awe in the uniqueness and sacredness of each other. May our love be a reflection and a sign of your love in the world. Amen.
Contact: CatholicCare Marriage and Family Counselling Services
Tel: (02) 9283 4899 / Fax: (02) 9267 1653
Mission: To assist couples when a marital relationship is at risk, and to help in the resolution of custody and maintenance questions when a separation is inevitable.
The Catholic Church has a network of official marriage counselling agencies throughout greater Sydney. The official Catholic welfare agency of the Church, CatholicCare is accredited by the Australian Attorney-General under the provision of the Family Law Act. CatholicCare employs staff who are well skilled in the counselling process and who are familiar with the Catholic teachings and traditions about marriage and divorce. Hence they are able to be of significant help in times of marital disharmony and imminent separation. CatholicCare marriage counselling programs are available to couples or individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics.
Another Agency conducting Marriage preparation Program is Catholic Adult Education Centre, Lidcombe. They could be contacted on 02-96469010; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Tribunal of the Catholic Church
Tel: (02) 9390 5120 / Fax: (02) 9267 2498
Mission: To minister to those in need of canonical assistance in all areas of Church life, especially marriage and the sacramental life of the Church, by providing information, personnel, and canonical expertise in keeping the letter and spirit of Canon Law. Because of the clear teaching of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church does not recognise the remarriage of a divorced person while the first partner is still living. In the same way it cannot recognise the marriage of a single person to someone who has been divorced. Sometimes cases arise where the first marriage is, for a number of reasons, not recognised as valid according to the practice of the Catholic Church. If one of the partners has been divorced, you should discuss the precise circumstances of the situation with the priest. Church law about the annulment of marriages can sometimes be complex and specialist advice may be required. The priest will be able to refer you to the office in the Archdiocese that deals with these cases.
Natural Family Planning (NFP)
Mission: To teach married couples, and couples preparing for marriage, about ways to achieve or postpone pregnancy through methods approved by the Catholic Church. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a program designed for married couples that reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and the family. It promotes openness to human life, and recognises the value of the child. The program calls for mutual responsibility and communication between the husband and the wife. If you have questions or would like to know more about NFP, please call one of the offices.