Congratulations on your engagement!
Marriage is one of the seven sacraments and should be entered into with great reverence, discernment, and preparation. We very much want to support you in preparing for your wedding day, but more importantly, the parish wishes to be an ongoing support to you in your marriage. For this reason it makes sense that you be active, registered members of the parish.
Marriage preparation is one of the most important things you will ever do, and we strongly encourage you to devote an adequate amount of time to this important aspect of your engagement period. Research shows that couples who complete a structured marriage preparation program enter into marriage with a better understanding of their strengths and challenges, have realistic expectations of marriage, and have lower divorce rates.
Marriage Preparation at Holy Infant
Plan to begin marriage preparation 6 months prior to your proposed wedding date. Six months is the typical amount of time needed to complete the marriage preparation process required by the Diocese of Raleigh of all couples completing marriage preparation in this diocese (whether your marriage will be celebrated in this diocese or elsewhere).
- The couple should call and speak directly with the pastor to schedule an in-person meeting. During your meeting with the pastor you will discuss your freedom to marry, your understanding of commitment, and your ability to live out that commitment. Wedding dates, times, and the marriage preparation process will be addressed during this in-person meeting. Whether you will celebrate your wedding at Holy Infant or elsewhere, we recommend that you not book other venues, vendors, etc., until after you have discussed your preferred wedding date with the pastor.
- The baptized Christian parties (Catholics and Christians who are not Catholic) must each obtain a baptismal certificate or other acceptable documentation of Christian baptism from the church of baptism. Certificates of Catholic baptism must be an original (no photocopies) issued, dated, and sealed by your church of baptism within six months of your wedding date. Catholic churches issue such certificates routinely and will know exactly what you need; you need only call and request it. A keepsake certificate given to you at the time of your Catholic baptism is not acceptable for marriage preparation; it must be a recently-issued certificate as described above.
- You will complete the parish's Sponsor Couple Program.
- When you have completed the marriage preparation process (typically 6 weeks prior to your wedding date), the parish submits your file to the Diocese of Raleigh.
- The Diocese of Raleigh prepares your Certificate of Marriage and other documents required for your marriage to be recognized as blessed by the church. This documentation is sent by the diocese to the parish within our diocese where you will be married (either Holy Infant or elsewhere), or to another diocese of marriage. That diocese then sends the documentation to the church of marriage.