Questions to ask at first meeting with Catholic priest

posted 6 years ago in Catholic
Member
2606 posts
Sugar bee

I would say the most important (at least to the priest) is that in order to be married in the church, your FI (since he’s the Catholic one) has to promise to raise your children Catholic- and the priest will ask you if you’re ok with that.

I’m Catholic- my FI was raised Presbyterian.  When we first met with the priest, he was very adamant about asking my FI if he was ok with our kids being raised Catholic.  Thankfully we had spoken about that at length and my FI was prepared and ok with it.

Also, it was awkward, but the priest asked my FI if he was impotent!  Apparently if you know you can’t ‘perform the marraige act’ they won’t marry you. I found that ridiculous- some people are infertile, doesn’t mean they can’t adopt!  But whatever.

Also, I was worried since we live together that it would cause a problem.  I just put my parents address down to avoid that (I know- cue the lightening bolts- I lied to a priest).

You and your FI will probably have to do what we did and get a ‘dispensation’ to have a ‘mixed marriage’.  It just meant another form and another fee.

Also, you have to take a marriage preperation course (offered at most parishes).  Ours was tedious and not very helpful, but we suffered through it. Other people I know (including my parents and sister) actually found their enjoyable and useful.

 

If you want to expedite the process I would suggest bringing your baptism certificates (and your FI the record of his sacraments- confession, communion, confirmation). 

Member
357 posts
Helper bee

My fiance converted before we got married to avoid difficulties.  Since you are thinking about converting after marriage, maybe you could think about it.  However, I know they usually do it during easter, so I don’t know if you will be able to do it before you get married.

I loved that my FI converted before we got married.  It meant so much to me that he wanted to make sure that nothing would get in the way of us being married.

Member
357 posts
Helper bee

Also ask for a book (I have it at home, I forget the name) that gives you the readings that you could choose from, and the basic format of the wedding.  He should be giving this to you.

Don’t forget, some churches are stricter than others when it comes to decorating and traditions. Some things to ask about: Are you allowed a runner?, could you throw rice, birdseed, rose petals, etc.  Decorations on pews.  Also if you need an organist and/or singer they will be able to refer you to the church organist.

Member
357 posts
Helper bee

I’m sorry, I keep thinking of things!

Ask if they allow flash photography during the wedding.  Also some priests don’t like anything on the alter, but some will allow video cameras and such.

He will be asking you if you want a  full service or just the wedding ceremony.  He may also be asking about unity candles, if you will be giving flowers to the blessed mary.  My priest does weddings with no alter servers, but you may want to ask your priest about them.

Member
402 posts
Helper bee

From what I remember about doing this… you don’t really ask the questions — he does!

It may depend on what archdiocese you are in, but I think most of them make you do this marriage questionaire thing.  They will seperate you and your fiance and ask you the questions individually and then will bring you back together.

They will expect you both to say that you are "open to new life" and that you won’t interfere with each other’s ability to have children (whatever that means!) and that the children will be raised Catholic.

They will ask you about if you have been baptised/confirmed/etc. and in what kind of church.  It doesn’t really matter to them that much though since you aren’t the Catholic one. But you will need to show your baptism/confirmation records if you do have them.  Your fiance will definitely need his. 

The weirdest thing that I remember them asking was about your mental/personal history.  Like if you have ever been in therapy, diagnosed with any depression, etc. and if you have ever taken medication.  They will also ask if you know if your fiance has.  So make sure you both know how you will answer that if it happens to come up.

I just remember that really annoyed me because I feel that is more a medical history question and is nobody’s business but your doctors.

Oh yeah, and do you live together? We did, and it wasn’t a problem with the Priest, but some are much more strict about that than others. There is no official rule about it from the church, but some priests may refuse to marry you if you live together, while others really don’t care. 

Member
402 posts
Helper bee

Oh, I’m assuming that this is your first meeting with the priest, right? 

Questions (like about photo stuff, ceremony details, etc.) in my experience they will deal with that only AFTER you do pre-cana and it is closer to the wedding.  

If this is the first meeting between you and the priest, it’s not likely that they will discuss logistics with you yet.  Basically, you haven’t even been approved to be married there yet until you get archdiocese approval and after your pre-cana is finished and they meet with your witnesses.  

My church gave us a pamphlet with all the rules and such about decorations, photography, etc.  Closer to the wedding (maybe a few months before) the priest will meet with you again to go over the ceremony details and logistics, like the music and readings. 

Also, it’s usually easier (and sometimes better) to talk to the church secretary or a deacon about the details and if they have a website a lot of it will be on there. 

Member
402 posts
Helper bee

Becca — in the archdiocese of Chicago, at least, you have to do the questionaire thing pretty early on.  I’m pretty sure the majority of churches do it that way and I think most use the FOCCUS survey (which is the one we had to do).

It looks like you are in Virginia… if so, see here:

http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/familylife/marriage_procedure.php

 

 

Member
2683 posts
Sugar bee

Radish – that bit about "interfering with each other’s ability to have children" means that you won’t use birth control.  Part of the Catholic marriage vow includes a promise to "accept children as they come from God."  That also means, for those of you who haven’t caught on, that you won’t use birth control.  I was raised Catholic, and that is the primary reason FI and I won’t consider a Catholic service – because we don’t want our own children (his kids from his first marriage are teenagers, and he has sole custody).  Plus he has had a vasectomy.  We actually think this is none of the Church’s business, but I can’t see starting our life together on the basis of a set of vows that we don’t intend to keep.  We have a nice, Protestant minister who thinks it is perfectly reasonable that we want to spend the rest of our lives together without procreating, and that we believe we believe the children he has already managed to father deserve a father and a mother even if we don’t give them more sisters and brothers.

Chocolatefreak – if one of you has been married before, be prepared to answer a bunch of questions about your divorce or annulment, and also for the potential that the Church will have to investigate that before they allow you to be married. 

Other than that, the issue of raising the kids as Catholic should be the primary thing.  They won’t expect or pressure you to convert; my sister (Catholic) and her husband (Baptist) had a Catholic ceremony and there was never any question of him converting.  As long as you are both Christians there seems to be no problem.  FYI, my sister and BIL were living together before they were married as well.  Although they may have lied to the priest too – I did stand there and listen to them swear to that "accept children as they come from God" bit when I knew she was on the pill, so clearly lying to the priest was not an issue for either of them.

Member
402 posts
Helper bee

Suzanno — LOL! I figured that’s what they meant, but it was just worded in such a funny way.  I had to try not to laugh.

I was thinking  — hmmm… doesn that include just not wanting to have sex with your husband sometimes, ’cause I’m sure there are a lot of women who "interfere" with that!

Member
25 posts
Newbee

Mrs. Radish – Thanks! I know it varies from archdiocese to archdiocese. I’m actually in WI (unless you’re referring to the orginal poster; I’m not sure) and getting married on Long Island.

 We haven’t met with our FOCCUS couple yet (we do that with a couple, not the priest here in WI) to fill out that questionnaire. I was thinking about the sworn affidavit with the priest, where he asks about the sacraments, etc. which we just completed a couple of weeks ago. 

Member
402 posts
Helper bee

Becca – oh right… yeah, I don’t think they do that, or the witness affadavits, until after pre-cana and all that good stuff is done with.

I’ve never heard of anyone doing the questionaire with another couple instead of a priest.  I wish they did it that way here! That would be way less stressful. 

The first priest we met with was such a jerk when we did the questionaire that my husband was so mad about it that he stopped going to that church and started going to a new one. 

Member
25 posts
Newbee

Radish – That sounds awful! I know that I really appreciated that our priest here in WI took to time to talk with us about it, what it meant, the history of it, why we do it separately, even how it is an unconditional committment to each other. He’s totally great and I know we’re lucky. They made a serious effort in our parish to revamp all the marriage prep stuff here. 

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