Post # 1
I grew up in the Catholic church, but I’m not really a practiciing Catholic anymore. My fiance grew up Mormon and is definitely not practicing. We both believe in just being good people and aren’t too fond of organized religion. We are however respectful of our families and attend church with them while visiting. We currently live in Denver, but are planning to get married in my small hometown in Iowa. My parents want us to get married in the Catholic Church there. It’s a beautiful venue and we have many connections there, but I’m concerned about the wedding preparation classes. From everything I’ve heard and read I’m getting so many mixed messages on how it all works. We are going to have to do the classes here and then get married there, so the priest we meet with here will be calling the priest in Iowa to tell him what he thinks. I’m all for taking marriage prep classes, but here they sound expensive and it sounds like you have to take multiple classes or something. I’m really confused. Also from what I’ve read they make you attend church regularly during the process which can take a year, they make you take a class on why the church is against birth control, and they make you promise to raise your children Catholic. Is that true? Also we are currently living together and I’m not so sure how well that will be taken. I do work for Catholic Charities and volunteer for them, so that has to count for something right? We’re not bad people, we’re just not really religious people. Is this going to be more of a pain than it’s worth? Should I just break my parents heart and seek out a new venue or stick with the program, because it’s not that bad? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. THANKS!
Post # 3
Its like a marathon of issues trying to go the Catholic route!! At least thats been my experience thus far. I had the hardest time finding a priest that would do the classes (b/c the wedding won’t be at the same place) I spoke with the place where we are getting married and from that conversation decided to do an engaged encounter. It’s a weekend thing that basically crams in all the info the classes would teach which is great for us and for the fact that FH is only doing the Catholic thing for me (he’s Southern Baptist). Living together shouldn’t matter (as I later learned) and you I don’t think you have to promise to raise the kids Catholic??? Not too sure. The classes that you take do teach the Catholic beliefs though so you would have to get through that. From what I heard there not too bad and actually can be enjoyable. Good Luck!
Post # 4
I was in a similar kind of situation. We ended up not going the Catholic route – we got married outside in a garden by DH’s uncle a minister. I’m not sure my family was totally thrilled about our choice but let us do our thing and were respectful. Good Luck!
Post # 5
Whoa you had a lot of questions! I can answer them only from my own experience…
1) My diocese offers a weekend retreat or 1-2 Saturday classes. Your diocesan website (make sure its where you want to get married not where you live!) should clarify this. The weekend was $250 (including accomodations and meals) and the classes were $150.
2) You meet with a priest first for an informal interview/get to know you process, then to take the FOCCUS test – it’s actually not too terrible, like a communication inventory. You do a few extra questions if you live together or are an interfaith couple but its pretty non-judgemental (surprisingly!) Even the classes/retreat aren’t really all about “living in sin! awful!” You get together with your priest (some areas do another couple instead) to discuss your inventory results. Then you meet to set up the ceremony. That’s it!
3) No one, absolutely no one has inquired about where I go to church or attending every week! That seems impossible to enforce. To get married in a Catholic church usually you or your spouse must be a member but that can vary if you have moved, etc. So you might have to check on that. I would assume you might be encouraged to attend Mass together, but its not like someone is standing over your shoulder checking things off!
4) You are not required to take NFP (natural family planning) classes in my diocese nor in any other diocese I’ve ever heard of, though it is strongly recommended. They mentioned it on our weekend but weren’t pushy.
I hope this is helpful. I am sure you will do what is right for your and you FH – whatever that might be. There were actually some non-Catholic couples on our weekend who heard the retreat was so valuable they were doing it voluntarily! and other denominations use the FOCCUS test. There are LOTS of posts on the Boards about these steps and of course it varies. If you have a clergy member you are comfortable with he or she should be able to answer a lot of your questions. Also, unless your FH is a baptized Catholic, you don’t even have a whole Mass – just the Liturgy of the Word…so it’s not even that long! Good luck and feel free to message me if you have more questions. I make no claims on being super-Catholic but I have learned a lot about this process!
Post # 6
I’m in the middle of the process now:
1) We met the priest the first time….he talked to us for like an hour….then set off to get proof(communion, baptism, etc)
2)returned papers….filled out another form with wedding coordinator….we still have to have another meeting with the priest to do the get-to-know-you form
3) We are having two marriage classes, the first one is pushed into a Friday evening and a Saturday..its $135…you read a book before you go, there are 3 priests and 6 couples who do “teachings”…and u discuss with fiance. The 2nd class is the Natural family planning class required by the diocese in our area, that’s another hundred something dollar class…..so both classes together cost $250
I have read it can be an issue if you live together(a priest can refuse to marry you), but I don’t think its an issue anymore..although the priest we met kept asking us over and over where we lived(at the time we lived different places)…we don’t plan on telling them that we are now living together……..
Post # 7
My experience was much the same as fitzly’s–very relaxed.
IMO, based on your description of yourselves and your beliefs (you sound like you don’t want much to do with the Catholic church as a family after your wedding to begin with), it’s probably going to be more trouble than it’s worth. Going through Catholic wedding prep could either change your mind and happily draw you in, or it could drive you farther in the other direction (as it did us). We also did not appreciate having to pay almost $200 for huge group prep classes that were grossly dumbed down and totally irrelevant to our situation. We are getting married too soon to change it now, but I personally would not choose to go down this path again. Had I had some of my friends’ more trying experiences with their priest, I would have flipped.
You could always talk to your priest about your concerns and give them a chance. Some loved the process, some hated it. You have a lot of time at this point to figure out which you will be.
Post # 8
It sounds like getting married Catholic isn’t the right choice for you. There are a lot of steps to go through and commitments to make, and they are made much easier if your heart is in them. Personally I think that the preparation the church requires is very valuable, but if you’re having to talk yourself into it now and you haven’t yet even begun the process, well, it doesn’t bode well for your future happiness with all of this.
Post # 9
Personally, we have loved our marriage prep classes. We didn’t have to take NFP, we told the deacon flat out we plan on using birth control, and didn’t have to do an interrogation about anything. I don’t think its been a pain at all. It’s been really helpful in fact. But every diocese is different.
If the sacrament means something to you, do it. If you are doing it for other people, it probably wouldn’t be worth it. I’d hate to discourage anyone from getting married Catholic, but if you don’t believe in the religion, it wouldn’t make sense to get married there.
Oh, and I don’t think they can disqualify you anymore by living together.
Post # 10
My experience has been very relaxed. We had a get-to-know you meeting, filled out some forms, talked about ourselves.
Next, the proof of baptism, communion, etc needs to be sent (I lived in different places for each of these so mine is a little bit more complicated than normal)
Then we have like a weekend retreat, 1 or 2 other meetings and that is it!
Personally, I find it a small committment of my time to be married in the Church but that’s because it’s important to me and my Fiance. You have to want it.
My Fiance and I live together, and my priest wasn’t thrilled but it wasn’t a big deal at all. He said 99% of the couples that come to him are already living together. Now, I live in a more liberal part of the country so that might have something to do with it. But most priests are understanding.
Post # 11
The amount of time and money you are required to put into it will depend on the church and the diocese.
But one thing I can tell you is that one person has to be Catholic and in good standing with the church (which probably means being a parishoner and going to church). And the Catholic party does have to promise to do all in their power to have the children baptized Cathlolic. If you can’t promise that, I think it is a deal breaker for a Catholic marriage.