Wedding Questions Answered
Those entering into second marriages, those experiencing religious differences with the church and others will find openness and acceptance with the WRB.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Catholics without a Church and our marriage services.
Are there any restrictions as to where the ceremony can take place?
The choice of location for your wedding is yours. Depending on weather and other factors ceremonies may be held out-of-doors. While Catholics without a Church does not maintain any church buildings we do have a church often available for our use. You may also be able to use interdenominational churches and chapels for more formal settings. Hotels, banquet halls, private homes, museums and other locales are other options. A wedding consultant or the yellow pages can yield additional suggestions.
Can we personalize the ceremony in any way?
We will be pleased to assist you in personalizing your wedding ceremony. There are many ways in which this can be accomplished. Options for readings, both from the scriptures and other sources, which speak to marriage are available. Vows can be written by you or chosen from more traditional options. Ceremonies which speak to various ethnic groups such as the coin, rope and veil, hand fasting or jumping-the-broom ceremonies can also be accommodated. Unity candles, roses to parents and other more traditional activities can be easily included. Discussing your wishes with your priest is the best way to assure that your day is special.
What is the difference in having a Nuptial Mass and a wedding outside of Mass?
Your wedding ceremony will be very similar to that celebrated in the Roman jurisdiction since we share the same liturgical forms. The Nuptial Mass is the preferred way of celebrating the sacrament. Because Catholics without a Church is ecumenical, all people participating in the ceremony are invited to the altar for communion, regardless of religious affiliation. On a practical side, it only adds a minimal amount of time to the length of the ceremony. Weddings can also be celebrated outside of the Mass.
My fiancé is divorced, is that a problem?
As Catholics, we believe in the sanctity of marriage; we also realize that we are only too human. When a marriage ends through divorce, it is often prima facie evidence that the essential element of marriage did not exist to maintain the bond. While we do not have an annulment or dispensation process, remarriage is allowed in order to avoid further human tragedy. From this perspective the WRB solemnizes remarriages with the joy and the peace of Christ.
My fiancé is not Catholic, do we have to promise anything about raising the children?
As an ecumenical community, Catholics without a Church is inclusive. We encourage you to consider how religious differences might impact your relationship. It is not one of those easily overlooked issues. We only ask that you raise any children in a loving household and teach them to love God and one another as He loves us, wholly and completely.
Will we need to attend any kind of marriage preparation classes?
Your marriage represents a change in how you see yourself and your relationship with others. It is both exciting and frightening. You can control only part of what happens to you. Your family and friends are here to support you and so is the community as a whole. Marriage (Pre-Cana) preparation courses and individual counseling can help. We encourage you to take time to prepare yourselves and will assist you as time and distance allow. Your marriage will work only if both of you are committed to making it work. Ideally, the priest would like to meet with you at least once before the ceremony.
Will my marriage be recognized by the Catholic Church?
If you mean "the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church", the answer is "YES". But Catholics without a Church is not affiliated with the Roman jurisdiction of the Catholic Church.
What legal issues will we need to address?
To be legally married, you will need to have a license from the county clerk or the state department of registration for the place in which the ceremony will occur. Often, there is a short waiting period, a definite expiration date and sometimes other requirements. After the ceremony, the priest will make sure that your license is signed and sent to the appropriate agency. He will also provide a marriage certificate for your more immediate use. You will need to have this or a document issued by the county clerk to change driver’s licenses, bank accounts, insurance plans and other legal documents after the wedding.
What must I do to have a Catholics without a Church priest or deacon officiate at our wedding?
The first step is to complete and submit a Marriage Request. This will allow us to find a priest/deacon closest to you and begin a dialogue with you on your wedding. Ideally, we would like to personally meet at least once with a couple. When this is not practical email and telephone conversations may substitute. Your priest/deacon will work with you to discuss marriage and help you plan your wedding.
Peace and Joy!