The time of engagement is a privileged and grace filled opportunity for you to prepare well for a life time of marriage. For Catholics, faith is nourished and strengthened by means of daily prayer, weekly participation in Sunday Mass, regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a renewed commitment to knowing and following the teachings of Christ and His Church. It is our expectation as a parish family that couples preparing to celebrate their marriage here at St. Mary of the Visitation Parish participate each Sunday in the celebration of the Eucharist here among us.
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At St Mary’s Parish Marriage Preparation is made up of several parts:
INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS WITH THE PRIEST: Prior to confirming a date for the celebration of Marriage, couples must meet with one the Pastor at least once, only after this initial meeting will a date be determined. Couples will them be asked to undertake a Marriage Preparation Course. Following completion of a marriage preparation program, each couple is asked to meet with the priest a second time to discuss any issues arising from the preparation programs. Couples then meet a third time to plan the actual marriage ceremony. A fourth and final get together takes place during the rehearsal.
MARRIAGE PREPARATION: Couples are required to participate in a regionally based (Deanery) Marriage Preparation Course well before the wedding day. A number of dates are offered and you are asked to register as soon as possible. A registration package will be provided during your initial visit with the Pastor. Please book your marriage preparation weekend early in order to avoid disappointment. The booking of your Marriage Preparation Course should take place only after your have met with our Pastor and a marriage date has been finalized. You are welcome to contact the Marriage Preparation Program directly following your meeting with our Pastor. The dates for this current year are found at this link.
BLESSING OF ENGAGED COUPLES: Couples are invited, along with their parents and other family if possible, to participate in a Sunday Eucharist during which the Blessing for engaged couples is given. The Blessing of Engaged Couples will take place on Sunday February 10, 2019 at the 11:30am Mass, an invitation letter will be sent to you. We look forward to having all the couples who will be celebrating marriage at St Mary Parish present. This is an important event, please ensure that it is clearly on your family calendar and feel free to invite family and friends to attend.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
1. I was married before - what should I do ?
If you are previously married, and have obtained a civil divorce, a Church Annulment may be required. There are so many factors in this, lots of misunderstandings about the process. Just contact our pastor in order to set up an appointment. He will help you with it. You are also welcome to read over some general information on annulments.
2. I was married by a Justice of the Peace and now I wish my marriage to be blessed by the Catholic Church - what should I do ?
One of the most common obstacles affecting a Catholic's ability to receive Communion at Mass arises because a Catholic has been married outside the Roman Catholic Church without previously obtaining the appropriate dispensation from the Diocese. Often this obstacle can be overcome easily, by simply meeting with a priest and working towards convalidation, which is simply a "renewal of vows" within the Church. In some cases, when the civil union is ecumenical and has taken place in a sacred place, a sanation (a "retroactive" dispensation) can be granted if the non-Catholic spouse is unwilling to renew consent before a priest and two witnesses. In other cases, more work may be necessary, but generally something can be done. If you would like to discuss this further with the hope of being able to return to the full practice of your Catholic faith, please contact Father Freitas or through the parish office at 519 658 4443. The process is so simple, and the Grace of God so great - just contact our pastor in order to set up an appointment. He will help you.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS
The Diocese of Hamilton offers a number of programs of various types to assist couples, engaged, newly married and also couples celebrating anniversaries. There are also a number of other special programs for Separated, Divorced and Widowed. For further information contact the Diocese at 905 528 7988.
Couples Prayer for Each Other