Catholics believe that marriage comes as a gift from God. The Catholic vision of marriage is rooted in Sacred Scripture and is expressed in the teachings and practices of the Church. This sacrament celebrates and witnesses the covenant of love between a man and a woman and symbolizes Christ's covenant of love for the Church. It is a liturgical celebration, held in a public liturgy at church, where a man and woman freely express their consent to marry in front of a priest or deacon and two witnesses and an assembly.
At least six months prior to the wedding, couples should make an appointment to discuss their marriage plans and the pre-marriage preparation that is required by the Diocese of Richmond. This allows a proper time for discernment and preparation, both spiritually and administratively.
A Catholic must seek permission to marry a baptized non-Catholic Christian. An interfaith marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptized person requires a special dispensation. Both a request for permission or for dispensation are requested to the bishop through the marriage preparation process, and will be submitted by the Director of Adult Faith Formation.
If either party has been previously married, a determination will need to be made into whether or not the previously-married party is free to marry in the Catholic Church. If necessary, paperwork to petition for an annulment of a previous union will be initiated and investigated. It is essential that this matter be resolved prior to setting the date of the marriage ceremony.
Couples, where at least one party is Catholic and who are already civilly married or were married outside of the Catholic Church without prior ecclesial permission, are required to be married within the Church in accordance with Church law. Commonly referred to as a "convalidation", the marriage preparation follows the same process as for a couple that has not been previously married. Couples in this situation should discuss their desire to be married in the Church with a priest or deacon.
For more information or to begin the marriage preparation process please see the links below and contact Deacon Kevin at 757-484-7335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.