‘A Christian marriage isn’t just a big ceremony held in a church with nice flowers and everyone wearing fancy clothes and taking lots of pictures. Marriage is an act of faith between a man and a woman who are both fragile and limited, but courageous enough to follow Christ and seek to love each other as he loves them’ Pope Francis.
At your wedding, you will make a commitment ‘to promise to be true to each other, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and to love and honour each other all the days of your life..’ Faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, we believe that marriage is life giving, permanent, exclusive and between a man and a woman.
The preparation, forms to complete and the ceremony all assist you, the couple, to prepare for, and to appreciate what you are doing. With God’s grace, your bond of love is blessed and strengthened.
The three dimensions of Marriage preparation – Priest, Paperwork and the Marriage Preparation Programme
We ask that you make contact with the priest whom you want to have officiate at your wedding as soon as possible; and at least six months prior to the wedding. He will help you complete the necessary paperwork and provide part of your marriage preparation instruction.
Paper work for both overseas and local weddings
Whether you are marrying here or overseas, all Catholic marriages require pre-nuptial papers to be completed with a priest. It is essential you contact your parish as soon as possible to arrange an appointment with a priest to complete the required marriage papers. This is required for all weddings, both in and outside the church building. It is also required if your marriage is taking place overseas or in another diocese. The marriage papers must originate from the place where you currently reside.
If your wedding is to be held outside the church, or in another diocese or overseas, the papers are forwarded by your priest to the Vicar for Marriages in the Auckland Diocese, who will then provide any further documentation required. The marriage papers are then sent to the appropriate Vicar in the Diocese where you are being married, then forwarded to the priest who is to officiate at your wedding. In particular for overseas weddings, sufficient time must be allowed for this process.
Marriage Preparation Programme – Inventory and Marriage Preparation courses.
Inventory – ‘Commit’
The inventory of statements called ‘Commit’ is an introduction to marriage preparation. It is a useful tool for you as a couple to discover your areas of strength, challenges and growth. There are 144 statements that you are asked to respond to. This session takes approximately one to one and a half hours.
Commit Follow up
At the Commit Follow up Session, you will meet with a trained facilitating couple in their home. The couple will guide you through your responses in a safe and non-judgemental environment. This session takes approximately two to three hours. If you would like more time you could come back at a later time to complete looking at your responses.
Marriage Preparation Courses
These courses are led by a married couple who are often accompanied by a Priest. Courses are held either on two consecutive Saturdays or one night a week for 6 weeks. These courses involve you drawing on your own experiences and family background to identify issues you see as important to your marriage.
Central themes covered: Exploring our Origins, Building a Shared Understanding of Marriage, Sharing Ourselves – Intimate Communication, Coping with Difference – Managing Conflict, Intimacy/Sexuality – Giving Love, Giving Life, To Have and to Hold – the Sacrament of Christian Marriage.
At the end of your course you will receive a completion certificate for the 12 hour marriage preparation course you have attended.
“The wide variety of statements really helped to bring up every topic possible. This was great as it allowed conversations to begin and discussions to occur ensuring we are both on the same page. The facilitators were amazing. We were a bit nervous going in and not knowing what to expect, but they welcomed us in and made us feel at ease.” Engaged Couple’s Feedback March 2016