The Archdiocese of San Antonio has explicitly outlined the requirements for the reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
The requirements are:
- Both must have attained their 18th birthday by the date of their marriage.
- They must initiate contact with the Pastor. This contact should be made at least six months prior to the planned marriage date.
- Complete Marriage Preparation Programs.
Your marriage ceremony is the perfect way to begin married life together with God. The marriage covenant that you are entering is both solemn and sacred. Contact the Priest before you reserve specific dates with music bands, halls or hotels. All matters to do with the marriage ceremony, such as the Scripture readings, music, videotaping or photography is worked out between the couple and the Priest/Deacon. Sufficient time given to prepare for your marriage is time well spent, and time you need to give yourselves.
You are preparing for the great journey in married life with each other and the Lord. There will be a number of sessions, as well, with the Priest or Deacon who will officiate at your marriage.
Certain documents must be supplied by the couple. The couple is encouraged to make all appointments and arrangements themselves. The parish wedding coordinator is required and provided by the parish at a minimal cost to the couple. The couple is encouraged to contact the parish music ministry director at the outset of making their wedding plans. Flower petals, rice, confetti, or bird seed throwing is not permitted on St. Brigid property to safeguard people from falling.
The Catholic Annulment Process
Many Catholics and others as well, are often confused about what the church teaches about divorce and remarriage in the Catholic Church. There are many myths about divorce and the Annulment Process. Specifically, the questions often have to do with how the process works and why the Church requires it. A person who is not Catholic but is seeking marriage to a Catholic often asks the latter question. We hope this article will attempt to answer some of the concerns and questions you may have.
The First step to understanding the Annulment Process is to know what the Catholic Church, in its Canon Law, teaches about marriage. First, it is one of seven sacraments that the Church celebrates. Because it is a sacrament, the marriage of a man and woman becomes a visible sign of the presence of God. The marriage covenant is a bond not broken by divorce. “What God had joined, no one must divide.” Even if married by a civil official, people of other faith traditions are considered to be in sacramental marriages if at least one is baptized.
This “marriage bond” or covenant is an enduring and permanent partnership in which husband and wife establish a loving and life-giving relationship that reveals to the world the love and faithfulness of God. While recognized as a sad reality by the Church, divorce is seen as a last resort to protect one’s rights – and not an easy answer to problems within the marriage. When a marriage does end in divorce, either party may petition the Church to look at the marriage. For non-Catholics, it is important to know that the Church only asks this of them if they are marrying a Catholic or if they wish to become Catholic. This is because married people who are in communion with the Church must be in a sacramental marriage.
The Tribunal has different procedures for different types of cases. Some procedures apply to Catholics married outside the Church, or to a person who is married to someone who was previously married. The informal cases are mostly documentary processes.
The more formal and lengthier procedure applies to other cases. When a Declaration of Nullity is granted, it is a statement by the Church that, despite external appearances, the enduring bond of a sacramental marriage was not present at the time of the marriage. This reality could be true for a number of different reasons that are unique to each marriage. Examples range from a serious lack of maturity to physical or mental abuse.
The process for each diocese varies, but the Canon Laws are the same. The current address of the ex-spouse must be given to the Tribunal as he or she will usually be notified of the petition and asked to provide testimony. In formal cases, each party to the marriage is also asked to provide witnesses. Witnesses are family members, friends or counselors, if applicable, who can offer insights into you and your marriage.
One can begin an annulment by calling a Catholic parish, and asking to speak to a Priest, Deacon or a Lay Case Sponsor about a previous marriage.
For more information, contact the Archdiocesan Tribunal by phone 210-734-1696 or see if the Tribunal has a website.