Congratulations on your engagement!
God abundantly blesses your love. Marriage comes from the hand of God.
God brings a man and a woman together to love and support each other.
We want to support you in preparing for your marriage.
This is what the Catholic Church believes Marriage is:
- We believe that all human love originates in divine love and that God is the author of marriage.
- We believe marriage is life-long.
- We believe that marriage is a sign and symbol of God’s love for humankind and Christ’s love for the church.
- We believe that marriage between baptized adults is a sacrament through which the couple receives special graces to perfect their love and strengthen their unity.
- We believe that by its very nature, marriage is open to life.
- We believe that every new marriage forms a new family in the Body of Christ, a new domestic church, united in the Spirit to all who believe in Christ
We probably all know at least one couple who were not married according to the legal requirements of the Catholic church. Perhaps the couple were married in a civil ceremony. Or maybe they were married in the church of the non-Catholic partner without having gone through the procedure of receiving a dispensation from the Catholic church. Perhaps one of the partners had been married previously and was not at the time of the new marriage canonically free to marry again. It is not unusual for such couples to wish later to have the Catholic church formally recognize their marriage.
If you would like to find out more about what is commonly called “having your marriage blessed,” you are encouraged to contact Cindy Bremeier 414-543-8292, ext. 213 or [email protected], the wedding coordinator here at St. Greg’s, to explore the possibility of convalidating your marriage. Convalidation is the process by which the church recognizes a marriage that did not previously meet the requirements of canon law.
Each couple’s circumstances differ, of course, calling for different procedures. The process of convalidating a marriage respects the needs of each couple as well as the teachings of the Catholic church. Through it, the couple’s experience of married love is interpreted in a new context—the paschal mystery—the pattern at the heart of every Christian marriage.
Pastoral Guidelines for Marriage Preparation
This session occurs after you have informed the Church you are engaged to be married. This initial meeting will explain the marriage preparation process, determine your freedom to marry. If you have been in a previous marriage, please go to Freedom to Marry. You may also be asked to explore the possibility of the sacrament of confirmation if one of you is a Catholic who has not yet been confirmed.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage
You, as an engaged couple will participate in an instructional program provided through the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Information about Enrichment Programs for the Engaged will be discussed at the initial session and can also be obtained by contacting the Nazareth Project at the John Paul II Center.
The second phase of preparation is FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Communication, Understanding & Study). Your relationship as a couple and your readiness for marriage will be explored through this premarital inventory and subsequent discussion with a married couple trained in FOCCUS.
You, as a couple, will meet with the Director of Liturgy in order to help you plan your Catholic Rite of Marriage. You will also meet with the Director of Liturgical Music who will help you choose appropriate music for your celebration of Marriage.
Freedom to Marry
If you were previously married either in a church or civilly and would like to be married in the Catholic church, you are not free to marry unless you have received either a Declaration of Invalidity Due To Lack of Form, or have been granted an Annulment.
Declaration of Invalidity Due To Lack of Form
If you are Catholic and were married either civilly or in a non-Catholic church without a dispensation and have since been divorced, you are not free to marry unless you have received a Declaration of Invalidity Due to Lack of Form.
Declaration of Invalidity (Annulment)
If you are Catholic and previously married in the Catholic church or had a dispensation from the Catholic form of marriage, and have since been divorced, you are not free to marry unless you have been granted an annulment. You would need to petition the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Tribunal for an annulment.
For more information on wedding planning, convalidation, or annulments, contact Cindy Bremeier, Director of Liturgy, at 414-543-8292 ext. 213, email at [email protected], or fill out and submit the form below.