Jesus said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mk 10:6-9)
These words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark show us the sacredness of marriage that goes back to the beginning of humankind. “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (Code of Canon Law, can. 1055 §1)
Congratulations on your plans to be married. We are happy to assist you in marriage preparation and to ensure that your Catholic wedding is a beautiful and meaningful celebration. We need, of course, to adhere to the laws of the Catholic Church and those of the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois and the State of Illinois in regard to marriage. The priest or deacon will help you in all the preparations. It’s important to begin these preparations at least six months before the intended wedding date.
Ordinarily to be married at St. Francis Church one must be a registered parishioner. It is also important for one to be an active, practicing Catholic. And of course, one must be free to marry, i.e., never having been previously married, or if they were, having had any previous marriage(s) declared null by the Church. No date can be set for a wedding until such a declaration of nullity is already in hand.
We are especially committed to preparing you for married life, and not just for the wedding ceremony. You may choose which of our parish priests or deacon you would like to work with you and then call the Parish Office and ask for him. Ordinarily the priest or deacon will then walk you through the preparations for married life and then officiate at your wedding ceremony. However, this is not always the case, especially if you have a priest who is a relative or friend whom you would like to officiate at the wedding.
The following is an outline of marriage preparation, although not always handled in this order:
- Getting acquainted with the priest or deacon and completing the pre-nuptial questionnaire
- Taking the FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication Understanding and Study) questionnaire
- Spending several sessions discussing the responses on the FOCCUS questionnaire
- Participation in “Evenings with the Engaged” – several evenings with a trained married couple in the parish, or attending a pre-marriage day or weekend
- Choosing the readings, blessings and prayers for the wedding ceremony
- Having a wedding rehearsal
- The WEDDING!!!