Who can Marry in the Catholic Church?
At least one of the parties must have been baptised in the Catholic Church or who, baptised in another Church, has become a Catholic. Both parties must be free to marry. The Catholic party must either live in the parish of Holy Name or attend Mass here regularly.
You are required by Civil Law to register your intention to marry at a Registrar’s Office. A minimum of 17 days and a maximum of 12 months notice is required by the Registrar. We recommend that you give notice to the Registrar as soon as possible after you have confirmed the date of your wedding with the priest. You will need to make an appointment with the Registrar. If you and your partner live in the same registration district, you are obliged to visit the Registrar together. If you live in different registration regions, you must inform the Registrar of Marriages in both areas. Each Registrar’s office will issue a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate which you must give to the priest arranging your wedding.
A few months before your wedding the parish priest will complete a Prenuptial Enquiry Form with you. This will establish that at least one of you is Catholic, that you are both free to marry in the Catholic Church, and that both of you understand the commitment you are making to each other in the marriage ceremony. If you are a member of another Church, you will be required to obtain a Certificate of Baptism from the Church where you were baptised.
Your personal preparation also must include taking part in a Marriage Preparation Course. For couples marrying at Holy Name, this Course is free-of-charge and led by Deacon Peter Lavery and his wife, Pauline, who have been organising such courses for many years. Participants describe the day-long Course as ‘worthwhile’, ‘enjoyable’, ‘helpful’ and ‘thought-provoking’. Upon completion of the Course, you will be issued with a Certificate, a copy of which must be given to the parish priest for inclusion in your Prenuptial Enquiry documents.
For a marriage between a Catholic and a person baptised in another Christian Church – normally referred to as a ‘mixed marriage’ – to take place in the Catholic Church, a dispensation (or permission) is required from the Bishop. In this instance the Catholic party is asked to try – within the unity of the marriage – to have children born of the marriage brought up in the Catholic faith.
The marriage ceremony normally takes place in the Catholic Church. However, the Catholic Church may allow the ceremony of a ‘mixed marriage’ to be held in a non-Catholic Church if certain conditions are met. For further details, please contact the parish priest.