Marriage, like other vocations, calls us to reflect God’s love to the world in a particular way. Married people in their exclusive and life long commitment to each other witness to and draw strength from how Christ has loved us.
Besides the human, social and legal dimensions of marriage—the public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person—sacramental marriage is also a public statement about God. The celebration of each of the sacraments reveals something of this ultimate reality: who God is and who God is for us.
In the Scriptures the relationship between God and God's people is often described in terms of a marriage. The early Christians, reflecting on Christ's love for us, also used this image. Christ and the Church embrace in mutual love and self-giving, even as do husband and wife (see, for example, Ephesians 5:21-33). "'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:31-32).
The wedding vows that the couple exchange express what is at the heart of Christian marriage. The words – “for better or worse” – point to the truth that life together will have its challenges as well as its rewards. The grace of the sacrament inspires the couple to turn to the Lord not just in days of happiness but also in times of sorrow, to seek the strength to transform any situation with love and indeed forgiveness.
In the Catholic tradition, marriage requires a willingness on behalf of the couple to welcome the children with whom they may be blessed. At the same time, the church holds that married life is fruitful and life-giving of itself.
Marriage is an occasion of deep significance in the life of the Christian community and is celebrated as a liturgy of the Church. Usually it takes place during Mass. The Marriage Rite can also be celebrated outside Mass. This can sometimes be a more appropriate form of the ritual. In the sacrament of marriage it is the couple who act as ministers of the sacrament. It is they who will exchange vows before God and the assembled community. The priest’s role is to receive their consent, to act as a witness, to lead prayer and to bestow God’s blessing.
Marriage is a profound commitment. It is a commitment that each party must choose freely, giving their full consent without reservation. Appropriate preparation is essential, both at the personal level and in regard to establishing that all is in order for the marriage to proceed.
The first step in the process is for the couple to go to their local priest to make preliminary arrangements. Couples need to give at least three months notice to their own priest of their intention to get married. The meetings of the couple with their priest are a key part of the preparation process. These meetings have taken on a new significance in recent times, because it can no longer be assumed that seeking a Church wedding is an expression of Christian faith on the part of one or both partners. These meetings are an opportunity for a couple to reflect on what Christian marriage asks of them.
Couples planning to marry in the Diocese of Killaloe must participate in one of the pre-marriage courses which are available in different centres in the diocese. These courses are designed to help the couple to grow in clarity about and appreciation of the nature of the commitment that is Christian marriage. Please check with your local priest
In the diocese of Killaloe, the bishop’s permission is required for a Church marriage involving someone under 18. Christian marriage requires the capability for a mature commitment and therefore such permissions are only granted in exceptional circumstances.
Standard paperwork – the ‘pre-nuptial enquiry’ form – must be completed for each wedding, usually by your local priest. The priest must clearly establish that both parties are free to marry in the church. Catholics will need to provide a recently issued (within the previous six months) Baptism certificate and a Confirmation certificate. The couple should also present a certificate of having completed an appropriate pre-marriage course.
As ministers of the sacrament, the couple should be involved in planning the ceremony. The priest has a responsibility to advise the couple in their choices regarding the liturgy – readings, prayers, music and choice of vows. Couples are encouraged to look for such guidance early in the process. Family and friends are also encouraged to participate in the ceremony.
Key elements within the Marriage ceremony include:
• the Liturgy of the Word
• the consent of the couple (vows)
• the special nuptial blessing for the marriage
• Music and Hymn Choices
In this diocese, marriage can take place on any day other than Sundays and major feast days – Please check with your local priest.
Traditionally marriage is celebrated in the home parish of the bride or in a church local to one of the couple but this is not essential. It should be noted that the sacrament can be celebrated very simply with two witnesses if a couple so choose, or with a small group of family and friends.
Special permissions are required for full church recognition of marriages between a Roman Catholic and a baptised non-Roman Catholic or someone unbaptised. Applications are handled by the diocesan office once the priest of the catholic party has forwarded the standard paperwork.
The couple has ultimate responsibility for all arrangements regarding the civil aspect of their marriage.
It is the responsibility of couples wishing to marry in the Catholic Church to ensure that the civil requirements for marriage are fulfilled.
Once a couple has a confirmed booking for a Church wedding, the couple should make contact their local Registration Office to make an appointment to meet the Registrar to give him/her their marriage notification.
The couple must give notice of their intention to marry at least three months before the intended date of their wedding. It is advisable to do this at the time that the marriage is being planned.
When attending the Registrar’s office in relation to the notification, the couple must also pay the notification fee of €200 and provide the Registrar with evidence of their name, address, age, marital status and nationality.
In general, all couples will be asked to produce:-
* Passport as ID (Please Note that Driving License Alone is no longer accepted as a form of ID)
* If either party is divorced, original final decrees in respect of all previous divorces
* If widowed, death certificate of the previous spouse and the civil marriage certificate for their first marriage
* Their PPS Numbers (where either or both of the parties have one)
* Fee of €200 as above (This Fee has recently been increased from €150)
In addition to their personal particulars, the couple will be requested to provide details in relation to their proposed marriage such as
* the intended date of marriage
* the name and address of the Church where the marriage is to take place
* the names and dates of birth of their witnesses
* details of the proposed solemniser (celebrant) and venue.
It is strongly advised that couples bring all documents and information requested by the Registrar to their notification meeting, so that the entire process can be completed in one meeting and the MRF can be issued to them immediately.
The couple will also both have to complete a declaration of no impediment stating that they are not aware of any lawful impediment to the proposed marriage
When the Registrar is satisfied that all required details have been provided and that the couple are free to marry, he or she will issue them with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) based on the information they have provided. This is a critical document as it is effectively the civil authorisation for the marriage to proceed.
All couples wishing to marry in Ireland must first be issued with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) and any marriage that takes place without a MRF having been issued cannot be civilly registered.
The MRF should be given to the priest solemnising the marriage prior to the ceremony. The priest will complete the MRF immmediately after the ceremony and then give it back into the couple’s care. It is their responsibility to return the completed MRF to the Registrar’s office.
From August 1, 1996 (under the Family Law Act, 1995) the minimum age at which a person, ordinarily resident in the State, may contract a marriage valid in Irish law is eighteen years of age.
The above is a short summary only click the following link for more detailed information available from the General Registers Office http://www.groireland.ie/getting_married.htm
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