The Catholic Church takes marriage very seriously because of its great importance to the couple, to the Christian community and to society as a whole. The marriage of a man and a woman is revered by the Catholic Church as a vocation ordained by God. It is both a reflection of God’s love, and a manifestation of God’s love in the world. For this reason, the Church understands marriage as a life-long partnership in which the couple co-operates with God in the creation of the human race. Marriage is a public event in which the couple professes an exclusive lifelong love for each other.
Where the couple are both baptised Christians, marriage is a sacrament which bestows spiritual graces on the couple. Because the Church upholds marriage in this way, it seeks to promote the moral and spiritual well-being and happiness of a couple. Much depends on how a couple marry and on the personal intentions in their minds and hearts at the time of marriage. The Church therefore encourages couples to take the time to prepare for it. This is also why the Church has carefully considered who can get married in the Catholic Church.
Below are answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions we get;
Can I Get Married in Our Lady of Victories Church?
The simple answer is yes if you are a Catholic who is free to marry and is intending to marry someone who is free to marry! To get married in our Church, at least you or your spouse to be has to be a Catholic. We do not “hire” out our Church as a building: it is a place of worship.
What Do I Have to Do?
The first step is always to get in contact with your parish Priest or the priest who is marrying you. You should contact the priest ideally about 12 months prior to the wedding. Normally this is done in your own parish. However, you may still choose to get married in another parish church, including Our Lady of Victories.
What Is Involved?
The priest who is marrying you should discuss several things with you, including your freedom to marry, and your Marriage Preparation programme. It normally starts with a ‘Pre-Nuptial Enquiry’. That is why it is important not to book anything before approaching the priest.
The priest who will celebrate the wedding and/or his parish pastoral workers will meet with you to ensure that the requirements of both Civil Law and Church law regarding the proposed marriage are met. They welcome and affirm the couple in their preparation for marriage, explore the sacramental nature of marriage and the meaning of the commitment the couple are to make, assist them in planning the wedding ceremony and assist with the government and Church documentation.
What Is a ‘Pre-Nuptial Inquiry’?
As with most important things in life you need to get your paperwork in order before you can get married. Some of this information is required by Civil Law, and the NZ Civil Law to determine your legal and Church status to get married. Legally free to marry may not necessarily mean Canonically Free (i.e. Church law) to marry. You will be asked to fill a Pre-Nuptial Inquiry Forms which ask for several things, including;
• Identity (similar to what you need to open a bank account) – If you have changed your name by Deed Poll, Change of Name Deed or by Statutory Declaration these documents will need to be produced.
• Baptism Certificate – A recent copy of a Baptismal Certificate is to be provided by the Catholic party. This can be requested from the parish office where you were baptised and the priest marrying you can assist with this. Members of other denominations are encouraged to provide a Certificate of Baptism, or at least the name of the Church and the date of the baptism.
• Declaration of freedom to marry
• Declaration of the intend to get married
Once the priest has agreed to marry you and there is no impediment, he will ask you to attend some form of Marriage preparation Programme. It will hopefully help you to clarify your understanding of marriage in the eyes of the Church, and also prepare you for the life commitment into which you are entering.
At some stage you will have to apply for a Marriage License from the Registrar of Births, Death and Marriages.
Normally you are expected to give a donation to your priest. In the diocese of Christchurch, this donation goes into a Trust Fund to support all the priests in the Diocese. If your priest has to do a lot of traveling, it is good to try and cover him for that.
Sometimes people pay thousands of dollars for their wedding reception, and forget to give a donation to the priest or for the use of facility. Sometimes people do not know how much to donate. Our suggestion is that for Non-parishioners who are who are using our Church; if you can afford it, a donation of not less than $100 (over and above your donation to the priest) to cover cost of heating, cleaning etc.