Guidelines which all couples intending to marry should follow:
. To book the Church for weddings, contact the Parish Secretary, Monday - Friday 9.30 am - 5.00 pm, at least six month in advance;
. Complete the pre-nuptual inquiry form in their local parish at least six months before they wish to be married;
. If planning to get married abroad must contact the local priest before making any arrangements with a travel agent or wedding co-ordinator. This should help ensure that no serious difficulties arise before major commitments have been made;
. Meet the civil registrar also six months before wedding to give notice of intention to marry;
. Receive the Marriage Registration Form from civil registrar and bring to the solemniser;
. Make a verbal declaration of no civil impediment not more than two days beforehand
. Return the signed Marriage Registration Form to the civil registrar not later than one month after the wedding.
Solemnisation of Marriages
by Father Seán
Regulations from the State have come into force since 5th November 2007. The changes involved have been well publicised, and there is no need to elaborate on them here. The fact is that throughout the history of this state, ministers of religion have fulfilled the role of solemnisers of marriages on behalf of the state in return for state recognition of the civil validity of the religious ceremony. The position remains basically the same except that the State plays a stronger role in overseeing the civil celebration of the marriage. What this points up for us as Catholics, and indeed for all who celebrate marriage in a religious setting, is that the spiritual content of a marriage is of paramount importance. We must get back to the spiritual and religious meaning of a marriage celebrated as a Sacrament.
Firstly, preparation is vitally important. Couples must have a clear understanding of the meaning of Sacrament and the special value of God's blessing on one of the most solemn moments of their lives. Secondly we all need to reflect on the need to participate properly in the religious celebration of marriage. It is a time when we celebrate with joy the grace-giving presence of Christ in marriage, and ask God to truly bless the couple, just as he blessed the couple in Cana of Gallilee.
Nowadays, many people, for their own reasons, skip the Church ceremony completely, and are to be seen only in the hotel afterwards. We might say that they do not know what they are missing.
Secondly, we should be prepared to eliminate the element of performance from wedding celebration, and simplify the Church event. In this case simple truly is best, as it helps us to focus fully on the richness of the occasion when God blesses the love of two people. Elaboration can lead to distraction, and distraction leads to confusion as to what we are about.
Lastly, many couples opt to be married outside the State, and often for good reasons. In some case it is even for the good reason of wishing to escape the hype and over elaboration that makes weddings unenjoyable. It is important that couple will first talk to their parish clergy to ensure that the arrangements in another country do allow them to properly celebrate a sacramental marriage. In most cases there is no problem, but
occasionally there may be. The best way to avoid disappointment and stress is to check in the first place that everything is in order for a marriage abroad. From there on you have nothing but help and support.
The church honours and treasures the married love of two people. Love is a wonder beyond all telling when it is experienced, and an inexpressible tragedy when it is betrayed. At their best love and marriage give us an image of what God is like.
Couples getting married are expected to give at least six months notice to a priest of the parish and also to the state registrar of marriages.
A standard pre-marriage enquiry form is completed with the priest. This form records information about the wedding and the commitment of the couple to one another. Couples are required to participate in a pre-marriage course organised by Accord (tel 057-9341831 or www.accord.ie). Marriages can take place on any day other than Sundays and major feast days. Special marriage cases (mixed marriages, Rome weddings etc.) should be discussed in good time with a priest before the date is set.
For marriages in difficulty
When love breaks down it is a tragedy for all involved. Accord offers support from trained counsellors for couples experiencing marriage difficulties.
For marriages that have ended
The parish support group Together (helpline 057-9326604) offers support for people whose marriage relationship has ended either through separation or bereavement.
Supports for children
The Rainbows (helpline 057-9326604) support group is for children whose family situation has been affected either through bereavement or separation.