“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.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1601)
Preparation For Marriage
Married couples, in virtue of their Sacrament of Matrimony, express and share in the mystery of marital love that exists between Christ and the Church. Through your preparation and entering into this holy vocation as married persons you are a symbol of unconditional love and intimate communion between Jesus (the Groom) and the Church (His bride).
To witness the love of a man and woman made holy in the Sacrament of Matrimony is to see concretely the love between Christ and His Church. Marriage fills us with great joy and gratitude. That is why we take the preparation and celebration of this sacrament seriously.
As you consider the possibility of celebrating your wedding at St. James Catholic Church, you will want to consider these guidelines. If you have any questions, you are welcome to call us at 863-465-3215.
Witness to Love Program
“Your wedding day is one day, but your marriage lasts a lifetime.”
Witness to Love (WTL) is a virtues-based model of marriage renewal and preparation that integrates modern principles of psychology and the virtues to help couples facilitate and talk about their relationship. All built on the rock of True Love, “God”.
What makes WTL unique is that the engaged couple chooses their own mentor couple. This is a couple they both admire and see as a source of faith formation. This mentor couple gives them a connection and integration into the parish. Through the sharing of the mentor couple’s own marriage journey, the engaged couple inherits a “lifeline” of support in their commitment to Jesus and His Church.
The Sacrament of Marriage Preparation Steps
- Contact the Parish Office Manager.
- Complete Parish and Diocese required paperwork.
- Engaged couple meets with Clergy (Priest/Deacon) and completes Premarital Inventory Questionnaire (or Prepare-Enrich or FOCCUS). Schedule a second meeting to review results of the pre-marital questionnaire.
- Engaged couple choses a mentor couple to work with for the WTL
- Engaged couple attends a coaching session with the WTL Parish Marriage Prep Coordinator and Mentor Couple.
- Engaged couple and mentor couple have monthly meetings using WTL Workbooks and Videos. (Completing all six WTL Chapters)
- Engaged couple attends a Parish or Diocesan Couples Retreat (Mentor Couples invited to attend).
- At WTL Chapter 5 dinner and meeting at the Mentor Couple’s home, the Deacon is invited to provide the Theology discussion.
- Natural Family Planning (NFP) on-line course is recommended.
- Both Couples welcomed to the Parish and invited to small groups/Parish ministry opportunities.
- Wedding Day!
- Continued accompaniment by Mentor Couple and Parish Community with newly married couple.
Theology meeting with Priest/Deacon
- Prior to the WTL Chapter 5 meeting session with the mentor couple, the engaged couple will have attended the “Theology Day” provided by the Diocese with the instructions to return with at least 5 questions they would like answered in more depth.
- Purpose of this meeting is two-fold: 1) deepen the understanding of the Church’s theology of marriage for the engaged couple and 2) reawaken an appreciation for the Church’s understanding of marriage for the mentor couple.
- After the wedding, the now newly married couple and their mentor couple are urged to continue meeting at least once every two months at Sunday mass to continue their discussions of marriage and marital spirituality.
- The engaged couple is encouraged to turn to their mentor couple whenever the need arises to address any struggles or disagreements they may have.
- The relationship between the couples can continue indefinitely.
How Do I Obtain Materials?
Check with the Parish office to see if WTL materials are in stock. If they do not have materials on hand simply click on this link: “Couple’s Marriage Prep Bundle” and order a set of materials. Make sure to order them well before you schedule your first meeting with your Marriage Prep Coordinator to ensure that the materials arrive in time.
Marriage Prep Bundle:
Engaged couples planning to be married at St. James should make initial contact with the pastor at least SIX MONTHS in advance. In order to ensure that we can accommodate your desired date, we ask that you reserve the church at this time. Over this six month preparation period, the pastor will meet with the engaged couple to complete the necessary requirements and to finalize plans for the wedding ceremony. Note: You will need a recent copy of your baptismal certificate (issued within the last 6 months.)
Often individuals are not fully participating in the life of the church because of divorce and remarriage. Should this be your particular situation, please feel free to make an appointment with Father Michael with a view to addressing these issues.
$200 - parishioners who have been registered with St. James for one year or more
$400 - non-parishioners and parishioners who have been registered with St. James less than one year
$200 - Presider
$100 - Sacristan
$25 - Altar server
$100 - organist
$75 - cantor
Scriptural Reference for the Sacrament of Marriage:
St. Paul said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. . . .
This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church."
--Ephesians 5:25, 32