Post # 1
I was not raised in the Church. My mother never took us, and my father actually did something I like to call “church-hopping” for a few years (I’ve been to them all, Methodist, non denominational, Baptist, Lutheran, Wesleyan). Ultimately, I was left with no strong foundation of faith. I attended a Lutheran church throughout high school and that was my choice, and was very comfortable. But I have not been back, and was never baptized or confirmed.
Originally, I wanted to have my wedding in the Church, mostly because his family is Catholic and I know it would mean a lot to his mother that it be recognized. Fiance wanted a beach wedding and totally dismissed the church idea. But today, he mentions to me again about the possibility of the church. Of course, he is Catholic but does not attend any church locally.
So, I’m asking, where the heck do I start? Aside from the fact that we have to find a home church, I am clueless. I read a lot on here about RCIA and pre-Cana, but I’m still lost. Am I required to convert? Is RCIA a must for me as a non-Catholic? How long does it normally take? I’m afraid if we start now, we won’t be able to marry in the church for a long time?????
Post # 3
I usually will tell you what usually happens but I have found that rules vary from diocese to diocese. Find a couple of churches that you may be interested in (like close to where you live), and ask their marraige preparation people. You do not need to be married in the physical location of the church in which you do your marriage preparation. So most people do their marriage prep with a home parish (in ur case, maybe a parish close to where u live). However, it’s unlikely that a catholic wedding ceremony can take place outdoor. I heard the petition is usually quite complicated and have only seen the petition approved by a poster on weddingbee.
If u were in my diocese, no conversion is necessary if at least one partner is a baptised/confirmed Roman catholic but pre-cana is required. My pre-cana consists of taking an online test and 2 saturday mornings. There r several other options too, e.g. retreat weekend. RCIA is for people who are interested in getting baptised or confirmed. When it starts also varies. In my parish, it usually starts in Aug/Sept and ends in Easter of the following year. Again, I would encourage you to evaluate how important the Catholic church is to your wedding. If neither the bride/groom attend any church, my parish usually discourages them from getting a Catholic wedding. For people who are not keen in the Catholic tradition, it may seem like committing to something they do not believe in and/or just too much hassle.
Post # 4
Most churches do not require you to convert if one person in the marriage is already Catholic. Most places will at least allow a Catholic ceremony (if not a full mass) between a Catholic and a non-Catholic. However, some churches do require both people to be baptized in the Christian faith at some before the wedding. RCIA is a great place to learn about Catholicism, and you don’t have to be confirmed in order to attend the classes. It’s not a bad idea to attend RCIA classes, especially if you are unfamiliar with the Catholic faith, but it’s not required.
Your best bet would be to start calling Catholic churches around your area. Rules vary parish to parish, so one church may not marry you but another one would. Our church required that we notify them 6 months before our planned wedding date so we could complete the pre-Cana courses. Start calling churches now, because some will take a little longer to process you. I’ve heard that campus chapels (like at a university, for example) are more lenient than traditional parishes, so that might be a good place to start if you have one in your area.
Post # 5
To get married in the Catholic church (the church in general), at least one member of the couple must be Catholic. Since your fiance fits that qualification, of course you do not have to convert! Only convert if it is something that you feel in your heart you want to do.
To get married in a particular Catholic church, identify Catholic churches in the area where you want to get married, and then call the parish offices to inquire about weddings there. Some parishes will only do weddings for members, others will do them for anyone. I got married in a Catholic church outside of my home state and had to navigate some bureaucracy (uncommunicative secretaries, etc.). If you can show up in person, that’s better.
Once you have found a church that will marry you, you have to fulfill certain marriage preparation requirements, generally Pre-Cana. Pre-Cana is Catholic premarital counseling. There are several different formulations, but usually it’s a combination of general premarital counseling plus some Catholic components. Most churches want a buffer of six months before they will perform a wedding, so you would have to book the church at least 6 months in advance.
RCIA, on the other hand, is not part of marriage preparation. RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and it is about a months- to year-long program for adults joining the Catholic church. You take classes about Catholicism, meet with priests to talk about your own faith journey, and so forth. Near the end you decide if you want to convert. Lots of people take the classes but don’t convert right away or convert at all. The classes usually start around now, if that is something that you’re interested in.
Assuming you don’t convert, the type of Catholic marriage ceremony you would have would be a ceremony outside of Mass (no communion). It’s a shorter ceremony (20 minutes?). Usually there is no Mass or communion at the wedding when only one person is Catholic, just because it looks weird or dis-unitive to have one person take communion but the other not to.
Good luck and let us know if you have more questions!
Post # 6
I just want to add on that although your Fiance was baptised,confirmed,and has made his first communion at least, i am assuming, that depending on how traditional the Catholic Church you decide to go with is, he will need to start regularly attending Mass on Sunday and other holy days of obligation, while you will not need to because you are not Catholic. Another factor that the Church is going to say is that you (the non-catholic) will need to PROMISE that you will allow your husband to raise your children to be Catholic. If you cannot promise this–chances are they will not marry you.
Post # 7
FlipFlopBride – The short answer to your question is “NO”. The Catholic Church does not require that you convert at all, however, you both are required to attend a Catholic Engaged Encounter retreat. (CEE) and possibly pre-cana classes.
Don’t worry about it though, the CEE is actually quite enjoyable. It will provide both you and the Fiance an opportunity to dialogue about many things. It’s not entirely religious things, but also worldly things like kids, jobs, chores/duties, finances, etc… It challenges you and brings up topics which you might not have even touched during the dating period up until engagement time.
The only thing that the Catholic Church requires is that one of the two persons is a baptized and confirmed Catholic… and a practicing Catholic. In addition, you would both have to agree to raise the child with a Catholic upbringing. This does not mean you have to put them through private Catholic school, but it does mean that he/she needs to be brought up with the faith. Other than that, there are not too many requirements.
My suggestion is, find a local Catholic Parish and start attending mass. You will be able to hopefully see the beautiful tradition of the Catholic faith… and really appreciate the history behind the Church… almost 2000 years of history, and a lineage that can be traced back to Peter, and then Jesus HIMSELF.
GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR Fiance IN YOUR ENGAGEMENT…
Post # 8
Thank you all for your help! This gives me a better idea of what I’m dealing with. 🙂
In this case, i guess I probably will not do RCIA for awhile, but I’ll be searching for a home parish so that I can attend mass with Fiance and we can start our marriage on the same page.
I had a friend that went to the CEE, and she said she and her now-husband really enjoyed it. I’m now looking forward to this, it’s a lot less intimidating.
Also, I am completely prepared to promise to raise our children in the faith. Since I’m not strong in any faith, I think it’s important that children have a foundation, and it would be great if it’s something we can all share. 🙂
Post # 9
Yes, CEE (Catholic Engaged Encounter) was amazing! Definitely take advantage of it if there is one in your area!
We met plenty of couples at CEE in which only one person was Catholic. So, you won’t feel out of place as the only non-Catholic.
Post # 10
Wow! There is some great info here for FlipFlopBride and others who might have the same questions! Good job hive!
Post # 11
Just a thought: Sometimes you are required to be a member of the church you marry in for a certain amount of time … like a year and than let them know 6 months ahead of time when you’d like your date … that was one experience I had.
Only one person has to be Catholic =)
We are both Catholic and didn’t have to take anything …. just one class that was for a few hours and that’s it.
Post # 12
Just a note of clarification – you would not be required to agree to raise your children Catholic. The Catholic individual says that they agree to try their best to raise their children Catholic, and the non-Catholic is not asked to say anything. (Of course, I can’t say for sure how every church handles this, but that’s the official position of the Catholic church). I know you said you didn’t mind doing it anyway, but just in case others were wondering, I thought I’d mention that.
Since you’re not baptized, your fiance might need a “dispensation from disparity of cult.” But you should check this, because I’m really not sure how it works in this case. I know if a Catholic is marrying someone Jewish, Muslim, etc (i.e., a non-baptized Christian), they need to get this. However, I don’t know if it’s required for a non-baptized Christian who’s not practicing another religion. Anyway, I would just check because it might take awhile to apply for it (something your priest would handle for you).
I would say “shop around” if your fiance doesn’t already have a church. Think about what you want, and then be honest with the priests you talk to about what you want for your marriage, your ceremony, etc. I think it really makes a difference when you feel like you are all on the same page.
Best of luck!
Post # 13
@ChiquetaBanana…she actually WOULD be required to promise to raise the children Catholic, if it were a real traditional Catholic Church, not one of these new “make up your own religion “Catholic” churches….I know this for a fact. My Catholic church is very traditional (latin Mass, chapel veils, no pants for women, etc) so they actually do things correctly, and if a Catholic is marrying a noncatholic, in order to marry them, the non catholic must promise to raise their children to be catholic.
Post # 14
i think it does really vary A LOT from parish to parish…we are getting married about an hour away from where we live, so we needed to find a church that allowed non-members. we finally found one, and they required us to provide our own priest and also permission from our home parish. we had just moved after finishing school, so we first had to register with a church and hope they wouldnt have a problem with writing the letter of permission and handling the preparation (which includes a day long pre cana session, having close friends or relatives fill out affidavits that say we are free to marry and havent been married before, and providing our baptism certificates). the priest part isnt a problem cause we are using the priest from my fiances catholic high school. but i was really worried about registering with a church and asking them to give us permission to get married somewhere else, but luckily it wasnt a problem at all! also our church fee is quite large, so be sure to budget for that-it can vary from a couple hundred to over 1k from what ive heard!
and just a note on the promising to raise your kids catholic-my mom isnt catholic and she had to promise when my parents were married in the church
Post # 15
I would talk to a parish priest to see what their specific requirements for marrying is. You may not need to convert to be married but if you are genuinely interested in doing so, they can get you started on preparation!
Post # 16
Here are the facts:
Canon 1125 – before the bishop can grant his permission (for a mixed marriage), the Catholic party must declare that he is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the Catholic faith. He must also promise sincerely to do all in his power to ensure that any children of the marriage will be baptized and raised in the Catholic faith (c. 1125 n. 1). In contrast, the non-Catholic party to the marriage is not required to make any such promise. The law does require, however, that the non-Catholic be informed of the promises made by the Catholic party to the marriage (c. 1125 n. 2). Note that the law here binds only the Catholic party, and not the non-Catholic.
As I already mentioned, it is impossible to say what any individual chuch may require, which is why I felt it best to simply provide the facts – the rules as set down by the Pope. If other churches feel they know better than the Pope and choose to “make their own rules,” that’s their business.