- 5 years ago
- Wedding: August 2013
Trying to get married in the Catholic Church has proven to be an overwhelming task. Early in the wedding planning, my fiancé and I planned on having a little ceremony at the church with just parents and witnesses. Then, later that day we would have another ceremony/reception with 80 guests.
I called the marriage coordinator at my church, which I had attended from 2005 to July 2012. In July, I moved an hour away to be closer to my fiancé. In the mean time, I have not found a parish.
So, fast forward to our meeting with coordinator…she tells me Father is uncomfortable marrying us because he feels like we want a ceremony and not the Sacrament of Marriage. Also, because we are not current members of the church, he wants a letter from our current parish. But, I have not established myself in a church since I moved. She went as far as to mention that we might be interested in having a civil ceremony and then take a marriage course when we are ready to get recognized in the church.
That meeting left us a little shocked. I felt like I just got punched in the stomach. I have been a practicing Catholic for 25 years. I altar served as a teen, assisted with confirmation classes and have gone on pilgrimages to Rome, Lourdes and Fatima. Now, I will admit that when I went off to college I did not attend mass. I think for many young adults that is a period of discovery. But, after college I knew that I still wanted to stay involved with Catholic Church. My fiancé on the other hand was baptized catholic, but is not practicing. He doesn’t believe in organized religion but, he has agreed to raise our children in the church with me and attends mass with me when we visit my family.
Getting back on track…
So, I emailed the Father to explain our situation and to hopefully ease his hesitation. But, the letter I received back is making me question our decision to marry in the church. (Sadly, these are the reason my fiancé doesn’t believe in organized religion.)
Anyway, here is what he wrote:
“Greetings, thank you for your e-mail. I think that it is important that we meet to clarify the Church’s expectations in regards to the Sacrament of Marriage. To celebrate the Sacrament means that the Catholic party is committed to living his or her faith and is active in his or her parish. Obviously a Sacrament is much more than a “ceremony” it is a sign of commitment to living as a Catholic. Because you are living in Kent, the Church sees you as belonging to that parish and I would need a letter from the pastor giving me permission to celebrate your wedding.
The celebration of the Sacrament at the church would be the civil as well as the church wedding. We would need to have the civil marriage license and signed here at Church. Perhaps in your planning you can consider making the Garden Celebration more of a reception and celebration of your vows.”
Am I over thinking this? Did anyone else have a hard time getting married with the Catholic Church? I just don’t understand were this is all coming from or what I said to have them think I want anything less than the Sacrament of Marriage. I guess using the word ceremony is a no-no. I just need some advice or support, because I am really close to giving up.