Post # 1
Ok, so, FH is Catholic…. I am not. I was baptized in a Presbyterian church (if I am remembering from pictures correctly!) I went mostly went to a Baptist church with my Grandma but stopped going when I was about 13. I was never that big on church and everything and I have had things happen in the past that have affected that. I would say I am agnostic, of course I do not plan on telling the Priest this. I am nervous about meeting with him, not necessarily because of the whole lack of religion thing but just because of not knowing what to expect I guess. Anyone have any tips/advice?
Post # 3
Our first meeting was very painless. We just filled out basic paperwork including our addresses and how long we had been together. The priest asked us if we were members anywhere or if we were active in church life. He mainly got to know us a bit and asked why we had chosen this church. It was good to get a feel of the priest since I had never met him.
I would say be as truthful as you can. You don’t have to tell him that you are agnostic, but when it comes to discussing other things you will get the most out of it if you are truthfull with your fiance. Our pre-cana discussions with the priest significantly talked about religion since we are both strongly convicted of things within our personal beliefs so meshing those were a little more difficult.
Overall the priest is going to try to help you talk about things to avoid major problems in your marriage. Regardless of the FOCCUS results, he isn’t going to say you can’t get married. He is just going to try to help you prepare.
It was really a good and relatively painless experience.
Post # 4
Don’t worry. In my experience, priests are nice people who want to help you. Be honest.
Post # 5
For us, there is a legal questionaire that deal with questions about whether or not you are eligible to be married. For instance, one of the questions was “have you taken a vow of perpetual chastity?” My sister got confused at this one and thought the priest was talking about a chastity pledge at some youth event, but in this case it really referred to celibacy. So when she said “yes” the priest took a double back and eventually she realized that it had nothing to do with her being ineligible to marry because she hadn’t formly made a vow never to marry or to be intimate. Some of the questions dealt with being previously married. Some of your answers can make you ineligible for marriage (ie you made the vow of celebacy and would be breaking that vow if you got married) and some involve taking steps to get you eligible for marriage (ie a previous annullment and divorce that would require an annullment before you’d be eligible).
Most priests ease you through the process. Many are friendly and try to keep you relaxed. Our priest is pretty strict, but he lightens the atmosphere with a sense of humor. Both my husband and I like him a lot.
After that, the marriage prep and FOCCUS stuff is basically the diocese attempt to reduce divorce. They would much rather the couples realize at the last minute that they don’t want to marry each other than to get married and divorce later. But that choice is yours. Mainly they’re just trying to get you to discuss pretty basic things that young couples tend to miss and to develop some communication skills that they hope will help you in your marraige.
My sister and her husband found the marriage prep very rewarding. My sister is 22 though. My husband and I were a bit disappointed with ours. We longed for something deeper. It was just such an overview. Interestingly enough, my sister and her husband got a better score on the FOCCUS test than we did, but I think that’s because we overthought it. It had questions in the area of sexuality and I kept giving all really bad anwers primarily because I was afraid of losing my virginity. I mean they were honest answers because of inexperience. They weren’t something for me to be concerned over or that were a sign that my husband was a bad pick, but whatever.
Post # 6
If you feel comfortable with the priest, try being honest about your beliefs. Ask about how you can support your husband since you’ll be a dual belief household.
To get married in the Catholic church you have to fill out a really short form and verbally answer some questions such as “have you been married before?” or “is anyone forcing you to get married?” Nothing intense.
Some dioceses also have you take an “inventory” called FOCCUS. It’s 140 statements where your mark ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ or ‘unsure’. Our priest wasn’t the one who went over it with us, we did it with a couple.
Your priest mainly is there to make sure that you are getting married out of your own free will, to support you in this, and to look out for your spiritual needs. So he might ask you questions about faith, your relationship, etc. But it’s not that intimidating, really.
Post # 7
Thank you all for the help! I had no idea what to expect, but I feel a little better now! Neither my FH or I have met the priest and I have heard mixed feelings on him so we will find out! Thanks again ladies!!