For Roman Catholics, marriage is more than a legal contract or a serious covenant. Marriage is SACRED and HOLY. The church proclaims that it is a Sacrament, meaning that all through marriage, the Almighty Trinity reveal their divine love and grace. St. Paul and the early Fathers of the Church, both East and West, define marriage as a reflection and witness of how Jesus interacts with and loves the Church. Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is His bride. Therefore, we at St. Lawrence are extremely serious about our responsibilities in preparing a couple for this great sacrament.
Serious preparation takes time; therefore we ask that if you are planning to marry and neither of you has been married before please contact the church office at least six months ahead. It is a GOOD idea to do this before you contract with other services, like reception hall.
Couples will take a readiness instrument called FOCCUS. The results are reviewed in private with a priest or deacon. Couples are also required to attend Pre-Cana workshop. Registration for Pre-Cana is handled through the diocesan Pastoral Office: www.dol-in.org/marriage-preparation
In the Catholic Church, Catholics are required to marry only Catholics, however, it is the practice of the Church to have the Bishop dispense from this requirement. Normally, this is a very simple process. It is another reason to contact us as early as possible if you plan to marry.
The couple is also required to register as parishioners. We can only witness a marriage of a parishioner, unless granted written permission from their pastor and diocese. If you are a St. Lawrence parishioner and plan to marry in another Catholic or Christian church, you must contact the church office.
In the Sacrament of Marriage, the bride is the minister of the sacrament to the groom and the groom to the bride. Bishops, priests or deacons do not confer the sacrament. They are the official Church witness.
If you plan a Mass for that great day, you need to have a priest or bishop. If you do not plan a mass, you may have deacon, priest or bishop witness the marriage.
Catholic marriages must be held in a sacred place. Normally this means in a church, Catholic or Protestant. Our diocese is very observant to this rule. If you plan a marriage in a non-Catholic Church, we need to get permission of the bishop.
If either or both parties have been married before
If you were married outside the church and want your marriage convalidated in the church, please contact the church office.
If you or your spouse has previous marriage(s) in the church, by other faith ministers, or civil authorities, and the former spouse is still living, you need to go through the process of annulling the previous marriage(s). This process is required by people marrying in the church or joining the Catholic Church [RCIA] who have previous marriages and are remarried.
For discussion or information on previous marriages, talk with a priest or parish deacon, call the church office.
We have additional materials, so please contact the church as soon as possible.