Congratulations on your decision to enter Holy Matrimony in the Catholic Church. We at St. Anthony’s Parish welcome and rejoice with you! The celebration you are planning and the lifelong commitment you are choosing to make are signs of God’s great love for us all.
One year prior to your anticipated wedding date, you should begin initial steps to begin the Marriage Preparation process.
We are excited to be part of your decision to marry. This is a joyful time in your lives. We are here to support you and guide you through your preparation.
As you begin your inital discussion with the Marriage Prep Coordinator, be sure to fill out the “Request for Marriage”.
During your initial discussion with the Marriage Preparation Coordinator, a packet for your marriage will be created. The bride and groom will be enrolled through PREPARE/ENRICH to take an on-line marriage inventory (questionnaire). PREPARE/ENRICH will send you each a link to use to complete the process on-line. There is a one-time $35 fee.
There should be no discussion with each other while you take the inventory! This is important. The tool will provide a personalized snap shot of your relationship. Working with Clergy and later, your Sponsor Couple, the objective results illuminate a clearer understanding of yourselves and your relationship.
Once you’ve completed the PREPARE/ENRICH instrument, you must send at least three dates and times to Elizabeth Rickard (firstname.lastname@example.org) of your availability to establish a meeting with one of St. Anthony’s Deacons.
During Clergy meetings, you will complete the Pre-nuptial Inventory; which defines the specifics about the marriage preparation and ceremony, establishes residency, sacraments received, and identifies any impediments to the marriage through conducting separate interviews with the bride and groom. You will also begin the PREPARE/ENRICH Couple Report review. At the end of the meetings the clergy will redirect you to the Marriage Coordinator who will initiate the Sponsor Couple process.
Throughout these initial steps, you will be asked to acquire or complete the following:
You should plan on attending as soon as possible, early in your marriage preparation process.
Seeking Catholic marriage means you are prepared to begin your married life with Jesus at the center. This implies a desire for an ongoing practice of your faith for which you need a faith community. St. Anthony’s supports you in your preparation for the sacrament of marriage and we look forward to you attending the Preparation of Marriage Sacrament (POMS).
This necessary session is for all couples getting married at St. Anthony and elsewhere. It will enhance your understanding of marriage as a sacrament using various Catholic media, small groups, and testimony, furthering you in the process of preparing for your faithful life together.
The session is conducted six times a year on a Saturday from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Continental breakfast and a full catered lunch is served. Child Care is provided if needed.
An Engaged Encounter Weekend marriage preparation program is tailored for couples who are engaged and have not been previously married. Couples are expected to stay for the entire retreat and focus exclusively on their future spouse. The weekend starts at 7 PM on Friday, and ends by 4 PM on Sunday. Cameron Retreat Center can only accommodate 32 couples per retreat so we encourage early registration. Retreats usually close 3-4 months in advance.
A similar program is offered in Spanish and a separate retreat for couples that have been civilly married for 6+ years and have come to the Church for a convalidation. These retreats are fewer throughout the year so we encourage early registration.
This preparation was designed with the intention of helping our military personnel but has proven a wonderful tool for couples that also are living in different states or countries. We only allow our couples to use this course if they meet one of these situations:
This program is delivered online, so you can experience it from different countries and time zones. Couples often use Skype or other video chat platforms for face-to-face, live interaction as they work through the course. Other couples work through the course at different times. You can do this course at your own pace!
Catholic Church law ordinarily requires baptized Catholics to marry before a priest or deacon. Unless they requested and received a “dispensation from canonical form”, Catholics who exchange marriage vows in the presence of only ministers from other religious traditions or authorized civic officials are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Later, those couples may seek to have their union officially recognized by the Church. In technical Church terms, this is known as convalidation of a marriage. Convalidations, commonly referred to as “having a marriage blessed”, involve a relatively simple process. If you are married but not in the Catholic Church, we encourage you to take the step of having your marriage convalidated.
For more information about Convalidations, contact
In fidelity to Jesus’ teaching, the Church believes that marriage is a lifelong bond (see Matthew 19:1-10); therefore, unless one’s spouse has died, the Church requires the divorced Catholic to obtain a declaration of nullity before marrying someone else. The tribunal process seeks to determine if something essential was missing at the moment of consent, that is, the time of the wedding. If so, the Church can declare that a valid marriage was never actually brought about on the wedding day.
For more information about Annulments, contact
Depending on availability, due to preset & scheduled Liturgical needs or school functions, our church is normally available throughout the week AFTER 5pm with the exception of Tuesday/Thursday evenings, Saturdays in the Chapel at 11:30, Saturdays in the Church at 2pm or 7:30pm. STAOP cannot celebrate weddings on Sundays.
ALWAYS secure the church first! It would be a shame to get the perfect date at the perfect reception venue only to find out that your favorite church does not have that date available.
YES! When you come in for your marriage preparation you will fill out a form called a Canonical Dispensation or Permission for a Mixed Marriage. This form covers baptized non-Catholics, non-baptized persons, Catholics who have notoriously rejected the Faith and lapsed Catholics.
YES! Call our Marriage Preparation Coordinator to make an appointment for you to meet with a Deacon in order to start the annulment process. Even if it was a civil marriage to a non-Catholic/Catholic, this marriage needs to be looked at in order to make sure that there are not any existing legal/spiritual bonds as well as for the benefit of the person looking to re-marry to make sure that they are not getting into the same kind of previous relationship.
A Convalidation is a Catholic Marriage. A convalidation is performed when one party (or both parties) were Catholic at the time of the non-Catholic marriage ceremony (civil ceremony or non-Catholic church ceremony).
i. The couple is not married in the eyes of the church
ii. The Church is not ‘blessing’ retroactively the non-Catholic, civilly recognized marital union
iii. A new consent must be exchanged (“Is your consent to this convalidation an act of the will by which you intend to enter into a valida Catholic marriage?”)
iv. A Catholic marriage only begins with the Catholic marriage ceremony.
YES! However, there are some things to consider. If the fiancé’s family is not Catholic, it could cause some tension when it comes time to receive communion when only you can receive and your fiancé cannot.
In this situation it is suggested to do a celebration outside of Mass called a Liturgy of the Word which includes the readings, prayers, consent [vows], but not communion.
NO. Fortunately, we are blessed with having Perpetual Adoration here at St. Anthony’s from Sunday evening through Saturday morning – which means that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24 hours a day with the exception of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. You CAN marry on Saturday in the chapel, but only after 11:30am due to 10am daily mass.
NO. Catholic marriage is a sacrament and so it is celebrated within the context of a sanctuary. Unless the location is a place approved by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston which will require a special dispensation from the Bishop or Archbishop.
YES! Please have them contact the Marriage Preparation Coordinator so that they can facilitate the letter to the Pastor asking permission for delegation within our territory. He will need a letter of good standing from his Diocese or Superior.