Congratulations on your Engagement!
1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).
We are very excited you are considering preparing for the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. This is a time of great joy and excitement. It is also a time filled with lots of planning and preparation. It is precisely why, in Her wisdom, the Church asks each couple to slow down and spend time preparing for this beautiful sacrament and lifelong vocation. Marriage preparation is designed to help support and guide each couple in strengthening their relationship with God and one another.
An intentional desire by a couple to participate in this process is a good indication the serious understanding they have of the commitment they are undertaking. After reading the following information about our marriage preparation program, we invite you to contact us to begin the process.
Catholic Understanding of Marriage
1601 "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."
1603 "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws.... God himself is the author of marriage." The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity,some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. "The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life."
Marriage Preparation in the Catholic Church
A marriage is a lifelong permanent bond between one man and one woman. In addition, A wedding in the Catholic Church is a religious event, requiring a public act of faith by the couple who are asking the Church, the priest and the assembled community, to witness their exchange of vows and pray that their new covenant of mutual life and love will continue to be an enduring sign to others of Jesus' intimate and faithful covenant with the People of God.
Thoughtful and responsible preparation assists a couple in building a strong foundation for the lifelong commitment of marriage. In order to marry in the Catholic Church, a couple must first complete all steps of the marriage preparation process as put forth by their respective Diocese. The Diocese of Phoenix requires a minimum of nine months of preparation time. The reality of simultaneously planning a wedding and juggling other day-to-day responsibilities, can be a challenge. We encourage engaged couples to begin the preparation process even earlier. The requirements for marriage preparation in the Diocese of Phoenix may be viewed on the Diocese of Phoenix web site
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops marriage website has more resources for preparing for your upcoming marriage.
What if we have not been attending Mass anywhere?
Many couples find their time of marriage preparation also becomes an opportunity to reconnect and begin practicing their faith once again. If you do not have a parish that you call "home," we invite you to consider Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. We welcome you home and look forward to you becoming part of our parish family!
Couples are welcome to prepare for marriage at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. We ask that you complete a registration card or register online. Once you are a part of the community, it would then be appropriate to begin your marriage preparation at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. Couples enrolled in our program should be attending Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral throughout their marriage preparation leading them to a life together that includes actively practicing their faith.
What does the full marriage preparation process involve?
Preparation for marriage includes but not limited to the following:
Completing a premarital inventory to help you discuss your strengths and weaknesses as a couple
Review the Foccus and premarital inventory with our Marriage Preparation Facilitator
You will meet with one of our Priest or Deacon (twice during the preparation process)
Attend Life Skills Training (Retreat Experience)
Attend the diocesan workshop "God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage"
This is a program is based on John Paul II's Theology of the Body and it will teach you not only what the Church teaches about marriage and sexuality, but why she teaches it.
Complete Natural Family Planning course (NFP)
To ensure that you have the tools to plan your family effectively and in accord with God's plan for marriage, you will have the opportunity to learn about Natural Family Planning, an effective and safe method of family planning supported by the Catholic Church.
Attending Mass regularly and prayerfully considering other activities to deepen your faith as a couple.
Planning your wedding liturgy
What does it cost?
The cost to be married at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral is $900.00 for a registered parishioner and $1000.00 for a non parishioner. If you doing your preparation with us but planning to be married in a Catholic Church outside of the Cathedral there is a $250.00 preparation fee.
What if one of us has been married before?
If one or both of you have a prior marriage, whether in the Catholic Church or by any other civil or religious authority, even if you are NOT Catholic, you must obtain a Declaration of Nullity (annulment) prior to entering into a marriage in the Catholic Church. If this is a situation for you or your intended spouse, please make sure to discuss this with our marriage preparation facilitator who can guide you as to any additional steps that may be required.
What if one of us isn't Catholic?
Only one person is required to be a baptized Catholic to be married in the Catholic Church. Although there will be additional paperwork to be done when a Catholic marries a non catholic, this is not difficult and our marriage prep facilitator will assist with taking care of this. A permission or dispensation is simply to ensure both parties understand and agree any children coming from their marital union will be raised in the Catholic faith. In addition, the Catholic party affirms that marrying a person who does not share their Catholic faith will not cause them to stop practicing their Catholic faith. During this time of preparation, there will be opportunities allowing each couple to discuss the spiritual/religious beliefs and how this will be lived out in their married life together.
Can we have our civil union blessed by the Church?
Yes, we call this a “convalidation.” if you have been married civilly and desire to have your marriage "validated” in the Catholic Church, we are happy to assist you in doing this. in most cases, the steps for this are similar to the full marriage preparation program as stated above.
Can we have a person of our choice do our music?
At Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral our policy requires that all music is done strictly by our Cathedral musicians.
Bishop Olmsted has issued a marriage preparation policy for the Diocese of Phoenix that began implementation on January 1, 2010. There is at least a NINE MONTH preparation process prior to the wedding. This time is to allow for a thorough preparation for the sacrament, including:
For more information on the new policy you may visit the diocesan website.
Recommended Article: Weddings in the Catholic Church