Marriage

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a sacred calling from God. Man and woman, husband and wife are joined together in a life-long union of self-sacrificing love, open to God’s gift of children. God established this purpose from the very beginning by the very manner in which He made men and women. Jesus taught that the nature of marriage itself reflects the indivisible unity of the love of God. In this way Jesus raised the natural bond of marriage to a supernatural sacrament of life and love.

If you would like to be married at St. Magdalen’s, we look forward to walking this journey with you. We ask that you contact the parish staff at least a year prior to the desired date of marriage, so that we can make appropriate arrangements and help you to prepare. The movement toward this life choice, the union of marriage is a moment requiring careful deliberation and spiritual preparation. Individual sessions with the parish clergy and attendance at a Pre-Cana session are required for marriage. If one or both partners have been married before, the couple can work with someone on the staff to receive an annulment.

Please consider the following information. To be eligible for marriage preparation at St. Magdalen de Pazzi:

  • If not registered and living within parish boundaries, couples must register prior to seeking permission from the pastor. The pastor reserves the right to prolong preparation based on circumstances.
  • If not registered and living outside parish boundaries, couples must register and be active for six months prior to beginning marriage preparation.
  • For children of parishioners, to be eligible to use the church, the parents must be registered and active parishioners for a minimum of one year. Moreover, the children must be from out of state.
  • Couples are strongly advised to refrain from setting a date with venues/vendors until the pastor approves and confirms the date at the church.

To learn more about scheduling wedding, please notify the parish office by contacting Carmela Kinney at (908) 751-1723, or ckinney@stmagdalen.org.

For Catholics, marriage is not just a social or family event, but a church event. For this reason, the Church prefers that marriages between Catholics, or between Catholics and other Christians, be celebrated in the parish church of one of the spouses. Only the local bishop can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.

Just as individual states have certain requirements for civil marriage (e.g., a marriage license, blood tests), the Catholic Church also has requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church. A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements:

  1. the spouses are free to marry;
  2. they freely exchange their consent;
  3. in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; and
  4. their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority.

In addition to meeting the criteria for a valid Catholic marriage (see question #3), the Catholic must seek permission from the local bishop to marry a non-Catholic. If the person is a non-Catholic Christian, this permission is called a “permission to enter into a mixed marriage.” If the person is a non-Christian, the permission is called a “dispensation from disparity of cult.” Those helping to prepare the couple for marriage can assist with the permission process.

As part of its pastoral responsibility, the Church requires every couple to participate in a marriage preparation program so that they will be properly prepared to be married. Marriage preparation offers couples the opportunity to develop a better understanding of Christian marriage; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life; and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple. It is especially effective in helping couples to deal with the challenges of the early years of marriage.

The Diocese of Metuchen requires a minimum of nine months of preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony. However, because of the importance of preparing carefully for the lifelong commitment of marriage while you attend to the daily challenges of work, school and wedding planning, we encourage you to consider beginning the process a year or more before your anticipated wedding date.

Preparation for marriage includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Being a registered, active parishioner of St. Magdalen de Pazzi
  • Attending Mass weekly and considering opportunities and activities to enrich your faith life as a couple
  • Obtaining new copies of your baptismal and other sacramental records
  • Completing a prenuptial inquiry
  • Choosing witnesses to complete affidavits of free status
  • Completing a premarital inventory to help you recognize your strengths and address your challenges as a couple
  • Meeting with a premarital inventory mentor couple to review the premarital inventory
  • Attending a diocesan approved marriage life skills class
  • Attending a God’s Plan for a Joy- Filled Marriage weekend
  • Attending a full course of Natural Family Planning
  • Planning your wedding liturgy

Only one of you is required to be baptized Catholic. The Catholic party is obliged and has the right to raise your children according to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. The non-Catholic party must agree to not impede this sacred right and duty of the Catholic party. The marriage preparation coordinator will assist you in the necessary paperwork. As part of your preparation you will be encouraged to discuss the challenges that differing faith practices and traditions can bring to your spirituality and family life.

If either of you has been previously married, whether in the Catholic Church, civilly or in a non-Catholic religious ceremony, and your former spouse is living, you may need an annulment before you are free to marry in the Catholic Church—even if you are not Catholic. Please contact one our nullity ministers for more information on the annulment process.

You may convalidate your civil marriage. Preparation is very similar to the recommended marriage preparation process. Please contact the marriage preparation coordinator for more information.