Couples entering a Catholic Marriage are called by God to lead their life in this way.
Preparing for a Catholic Marriage
Catholics are requested to give the officiating priest at least six months notice of their intention to marry. While one month’s notice is obligatory by law, the advanced notice requested allows time for serious marriage preparation.
Couples are counselled by the priest during this time and are also urged to attend marriage preparation courses.
Documents Required for Marriage in the Catholic Church
The Notification of Intention to Marry Form, available from your parish priest, must be signed no more than three months and no less than one month prior to the wedding day.
Each person must obtain the following documents:
- a birth certificate - available from Registrar of Births & Deaths; and
- a baptism certificate - available from the parish priest where you were baptised.
If either party has been married before:
- a death certificate of former spouse;
- a decree of nullity (from the Catholic Marriage Tribunal);
- a civil divorce decree.
A mixed marriage is one where one party is a Catholic and the other party is not a Catholic, whether baptised or not. A Catholic, even when entering a mixed marriage must be married before a Catholic priest.
Permission can be given for a Catholic to marry one who is not a Catholic, provided that the Catholic promises to safeguard their own Catholic faith and to do all in their power to have the children of the marriage baptised and brought up as Catholic.
The partner who is not a Catholic is not required to make any promises but is informed of the expectations the Church has of the Catholic partner.
Place of Marriage
Since the celebration of the sacrament of marriage has an important religious meaning it is celebrated in the Catholic Church.
Where one of the partners is not a Catholic and has a strong connection to his or her own Church, the Bishop may give permission for the marriage to take place in the other Church.
Only in very exceptional circumstances will permission be given for a marriage to take place elsewhere than in a Church.
The official Diocesan Catholic welfare agency, CatholicCare, is accredited by the Australian Attorney-General under the provision of the Family Law Act, to assist couples when a marital relationship is at risk, and to help in the resolution of custody and maintenance questions when a separation is inevitable.
CatholicCare employs staff who are well skilled in the counselling process and who are familiar with the Catholic teachings and traditions about marriage and divorce. They are able to be of significant help in times of marital disharmony and imminent separation.
CatholicCare marriage counselling programs are available to couples or individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics.
Marriage Preparation Courses
CatholicCare offers two programs of marriage preparation for couples, Catholic and non-Catholic - Partners for Life and FOCCUS.
A couple program. Foccus is an in-depth user-friendly questionnaire designed to help you and your partner learn more about yourselves and your unique relationship. The sessions are facilitated by an accredited Relationship Educator in a confidential environment - available by appointment only. Ideally, Foccus is completed before a pre-marriage course.
Cost: $275 per couple.
2) Partners for Life
A group program. This Friday evening/Saturday program, conducted by CatholicCare, is designed to assist couples to build and sustain a meaningful relationship in your marriage.
Cost: $230 per couple. Cost includes course materials, light dinner, lunch, morning and afternoon tea.
COST FOR BOTH COURSES: $430 per couple.
Courses conducted by CatholicCare observe the best practices of adult education and in doing so:
- help you to try and build upon your strengths;
- try to identify potential trouble spots; and
- encourage sharing with each other and with other couples in the course.
The courses do not:
- tell you how to run your marriage;
- try to convert you; and
- lecture you.
The facilitators are all trained educators who come from a variety of backgrounds including education, nursing, welfare, psychology and banking. Common to all in the team is long experience in their own marriages.
The program is supported by the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning.
Extension courses are planned during the year and will be advertised at the pre-marriage courses. Many couples are keen to explore issues raised and learn skills in more detail.
It is recommended couples complete the courses several months before their wedding.
For more information or program bookings please contact: (02) 9488 2400.
A Marriage Encounter is a weekend away, offering married couples a special kind of "time out", - a different kind of "weekend getaway". It is an opportunity to recharge your relationship batteries and more deeply explore the precious nature of your marriage. It offers a gentle, nurturing environment, away from the pressures and distractions of daily living. Thus, it allows you both to share your feelings, hopes and dreams with each other in ways that normal, daily living tends to inhibit.
Link to other marriage preparation sites: Catholic Society for Marriage Education
The aim of the Society is to promote and support marriage and family life in the Catholic vision by encouraging marriage and relationship education for couples considering marriage and for married couples, throughout Australia.
The site also contains links to other marriage sites in Australia and overseas.
Church law about the annulment of marriages can sometimes be complex and specialist advice may be required. For further information, please contact your local parish priest or the Marriage Tribunal.
Diocese of Broken Bay
Caroline Chisholm Centre
Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120
Mail: PO Box 340 Pennant Hills NSW 1715
Tel: 02 9847 0458
Fax: 02 9847 0221