Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament established by Jesus Christ for the benefit and salvation of the husband and wife, and their children. Marriage as a Sacrament differs from ordinary marriage; it is a true source of grace for the spouses, and unites husband and wife in a holy bond before God. True marriage is only between one man and one woman, and only death can break the bond of this Sacrament. Marital relations is a fundamental part of this Sacrament: “May marriage be honorable in every way, and may the marriage bed be immaculate.” (Heb 13:4).
GUIDELINES FOR THOSE SEEKING MARRIAGE
There are several responsibilities of which you should be aware – marriage is a sacrament and should be treated with proper respect and solemnity. Marriage in the Roman Catholic Church has certain mandatory requirements, and each church has certain required fees that must be paid… The guidelines followed by St. Joseph Church are those received from the Diocese of Colorado Springs. If either party has previous bonds of marriage, it will be necessary to contact the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Colorado Springs to determine the procedures for seeking an annulment. Couples who are civilly married and wish to have their marriage validated in the Church will journey through the same process as those seeking initial marriage in the Church.
• Contact the parish office at least twelve (12) months prior to the anticipated wedding date. There are several parish and Diocesan inventories and classes that are required prior to marriage in the Roman Catholic Church. You will be scheduled for your pre-nuptial interview (with the deacon or priest) during which you will be asked for pertinent biographical information.
• You will be given a contract explaining the parish requirements for scheduling a wedding taking place at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Fees for non-parishioners and/or information for those who have been registered at least 6 months will be given when you contact the parish to begin the process. Fees for the wedding coordinator and musician are separate.
• You will be required to complete the FOCCUS Inventory, a couples’ assessment instrument. You will be assigned a facilitating couple with whom you will meet six to eight times to develop communication skills.
• When you begin working with a FOCCUS couple, the St. Joseph Catholic Church Wedding Coordinator will contact you. Information she will need will include: the size of the wedding, the number of attendants, any special things you want such as unity candle, etc.
Diocesan Programs, and/or classes (in addition to the FOCCUS in the Parish) include the following:
•1. It is recommended but not required by the Diocese that the engaged couple attend an Engaged Encounter Weekend. Information will be provided. The Engaged Couple Weekend entails some fees for which the engaged couple is responsible. There are only a few dates and space is limited.
•2. The Diocese requires that the engaged couple complete “Catholic Marriage Preparation, Inc.” classes. The couple is responsible for the fees associated with this class. Go to www.CatholicMarriagePrep.com or call (719) 471-9702 for further information.
•3. The Diocese further requires that couples seeking marriage complete an NFP (Natural Family Planning) class prior to their marriage. For information on dates (this is often a four-month class) and fees you may contact www.Coloradonfp.org or call (719) 866-6508. NFP is also offered at the Penrose Hospital System (Creighton Model FertilityCare System) and information is available by contacting them at (719) 571-3101, or you may take an on-line course at www.nwfs.org. You are responsible for all fees.
IT IS IMPERITIVE THAT YOU BEGIN YOUR CLASSES EARLY AS ALL OF THE CLASSES, FOCCUS, ENGAGED COUPLE ENCOUNTER, “CATHOLIC MARRIAGE PREPARATION”, AND NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING MUST BE COMPLETED WITH APPROPRIATE CERTIFICATES IN YOUR FILE ONE MONTH PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED WEDDING…
Additional pertinent information you will need to know:
• Original baptism certificates, dated within six months of the wedding date, must be obtained from your parish of baptism and turned in to this parish office for you marriage file. Church seal is required.
• Have one of the parents or close relative of the bride-to-be and groom-to-be make an appointment with the parish office to fill out the Freedom to Marry form (MB form). This must be filled out in the presence of a Roman Catholic priest or deacon and have the church seal attached. Information given at time of initial interview.
• You will be given the booklet Together For Life which is an aid for planning your wedding ceremony. Your facilitating couple will assist you in its use as you complete the FOCCUS sessions.
• One month prior to your ceremony, call the parish office to arrange a meeting with the presider to plan the actual ceremony. Be sure to bring your booklet Together For Life.
• Be sure to obtain your Marriage License from the county clerk’s office. You must have a license in order to wed. You may obtain one within thirty days prior to your wedding. Bring it to the rehearsal. Both parties need to be present at the time you obtain the license. For information, go to www.elpasoco.com then to El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, then Recording Dept. They are located at 200 S. Cascade. (719) 520-6200.
• Suggestions for musicians and/or appropriate music are available from the office. If you use your own musicians, you must check with our Director of Liturgical Music concerning the appropriate music for use during this sacred sacrament. Keep in mind that not all music is considered appropriate for being played in a Roman Catholic Church.
• You must be on time for your wedding rehearsal and for your wedding. You are reminded that if there is alcohol and/or drugs being used at the time you come for your rehearsal or wedding, the wedding will not proceed since this would be considered an impediment to a valid marriage.
• All fees MUST be paid, and required forms MUST be in the parish office and in your wedding file one month prior to the scheduled wedding date.