Dear Engaged Couple
Congratulations on your decision to enter into the commitment of marriage. This is a time of special joy for you, your family and the whole Church community. Your coming together in Christian marriage is a response to a loving call from Almighty God.
Catholics understand that marriage is a sacrament - a living sign of Christ’s saving action in our lives. The bond of marriage, in which a man and woman are joined as husband and wife, is a sign of God’s love for the Church and the world. Our parish community prays with you and for you during this time of special preparation for marriage.
Remember that a Wedding is a day, a Marriage is a lifetime. Our goal is to work with you as you enhance the dispositions and skills needed for a happy, successful, and faith-filled married life.
With prayerful good wishes for both of you during this blessed time of anticipation.
Father Ian Duffy
Who can be married?
Any Catholic who is free of a prior bond of marriage may marry another Catholic or someone of another church or faith who is also free of a prior bond of marriage.
Who can be married at St. Ann’s?
Anyone who fits the criteria above and who resides within the territory of St. Ann’s Parish - including the adult children of registered parishioners who may be living elsewhere. Those who live outside the parish boundaries but who are registered in the parish and regularly attend Sunday Mass here may also make wedding arrangements at St. Ann’s
A Catholic who lives in another community, province or country, who wishes to marry a non-Catholic resident of Ancaster must first contact his or her own pastor: he will be responsible for all the necessary documentation and preparations for marriage. Only upon agreement of the proper pastor, can a date for a wedding be arranged with St. Ann’s Parish.
What if I have been married before?
This is a situation which will have to be discussed with the priest in the initial interview. No date, however, can be set until it has been established that both parties (Catholic or non-Catholic) are free to marry according the ecclesiastical laws of the Catholic Church.
How do I "book" a wedding?
When the couple is ready to arrange a date for marriage, the bride or groom personally contacts our parish office to arrange an appointment with one of the priests. Our parish staff will not discuss availability of dates by telephone, FAX or email.
Both bride and groom are expected to attend all appointment and marriage preparation sessions.
What times are weddings celebrated?
Saturday weddings at St. Ann’s are booked for either 12:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. Fridays are an alternative day for wedding celebrations - we generally suggest sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. for the start time.
What documents will I need to provide?
Parties who are baptized will be expected to provide a certificate of baptism.
For Catholics the baptismal certificate must be recently issued from the parish of baptism. (This is because a recent certificate verifies not only baptism, but also the freedom to marry). A baptized non-Catholic Christian may bring a copy of their original certificate.
If a party has been previously married, then the Decree of Nullity, Death certificate, or other appropriate documentation proving freedom to marry in the Catholic Church will also be needed. These documents are necessary before any arrangements for marriage at St. Ann’s can be finalized.
Couples are asked to participate in a program of marriage preparation to assist them in discerning their mutual call to the vocation of marriage.
One component of marriage preparation will be meetings with your priest, who will discuss the responsibilities involved in sacramental marriage. He will also administer the FOCCUS, an instrument designed to help couples identify both strengths and issues for continued discussion and mutual growth.
We offer two formats of Marriage Preparation Course here at St. Ann’s. The Marriage Builder Weekend is usually held in February and runs Friday evening and all day Saturday. Evenings for the Engaged, usually held in the Spring, takes place over several consecutive nights. Both programs will address topics like communication, problem solving, faith in marriage, children and finances.
Couples may also enroll for one of the other marriage preparation programs offered by the Diocese of Hamilton and held at other parishes.
The period of marriage preparation is a very important time for both bride and groom. It is a time for growth in mutual love and your faith commitment in Jesus Christ. We encourage Catholics to a regular attendance at Sunday Mass during this time. Christians of other denominations are also welcome to worship with us.
We rejoice with you at this special time in your lives and pray that you will be open to all of the blessings and opportunities of this period of marriage preparation. We are here to help and guide you as you get ready for this most important day and relationship in your life.