Resources, advice help couples getting married in the Church
The Missionaries of the Holy Family have a special focus on families, and have provided some resources to help couples getting married in the Church.
Their website, msf-america.org, provides answers to several questions facing families and couples. One section answers questions on what is needed to get married in the Church and another discusses marriage preparation.
To get married in the Church, "first you must have a feeling of being called to the married life. Having emotions and feelings for another person is a beginning, but not enough," according to the religious order that focuses the Holy Family as a model for all.
The website emphasizes the importance of the engagement period for couples. "This provides the opportunity to better know each other. The Church requires pre-Cana preparation and retreats to help provide a strong foundation for a healthy Catholic marriage. It is possible that after this preparation couples decide they are not meant for each other. In other situations, the preparation of pre-Cana helps avoid marital stress in the future."
For Catholics marrying in the Church, requirements are:
• The parish pastor must be approached at least six months to a year before the desired date for the wedding.
• The couple must participate in marriage preparation preparations offered by the diocese.
• A recently issued certificate of Baptism is needed that includes notation on the reception of First Communion and Confirmation.
• A civil marriage license must be provided to the parish pastor at least 72 hours before the wedding date.
The Missionaries of the Holy Family direct couples to the U.S. bishops' website, foryourmarriage.org for more information.
Father Philip Sosa, provincial superior of the Missionaries of the Holy Family, last year gave some advice that is especially helpful to couples. He wrote that in February "we are reminded to reflect on the virtue of love: God's love for us by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to win salvation for us and His love to be witnessed by us in loving one another. Every day we are faced with this challenge. Too often we forget that through our faith in Jesus, God can accomplish great things and make a difference in our world. We need to draw closer to Jesus in prayer and open ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us."
Especially for couples, he noted, special days throughout the year are reminders of this love, including World Marriage Day and Valentine's Day. "May the expressions of love that are popular today help lead people everywhere to truly be more loving and caring to others."
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