Pre-Marital Counseling for Engaged Catholics

Last Friday was our second pre-marital counseling with Father Eugene at my parents parish, St. Thomas, in Anaheim. While I love visiting friend’s Christian churches from time to time to listen to great sermons, I remain a Catholic at heart and it was extremely important to me that our marriage be accepted and blessed by the Catholic Church. Lucky me, I have a wonderful fiance who is willing to convert to Catholicism for our family and have our children be raised in the Catholic community. However, even my parents who are devout Catholics had no idea that Catholic marriages can only be done inside a Catholic church. We found out that baptized Roman Catholics (me) have to marry before a priest or a deacon inside a church to be considered valid and sacramental by the Catholic church. This was after we had already booked our hotel venue in Korea. I panicked at first, but Father Eugene worked out a schedule for us: we will hold a simple ceremony at our parish, and renew our vows with our friends and family in Korea. I’m super excited that our marriage will be accepted & blessed, but this means that we are to tie the knot in August before we leave to Korea… and that is so soon. (we would have to get our marriage license for the priest to sign on our Catholic ceremony so we would be legally married by then)

Moreover, the Catholic Church has strict requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church. This is the primary purpose of our meeting with Father Eugene: to help us understand and walk us through the requirements as well as to build us a better foundation for marriage. I’m not sure if it’s the same with other Catholic churches, but we are to meet four times in the span of at least six months. However, because of our tight schedule and with oppa moving soon, our priest let us complete our meeting sessions within four months. (May~August 2012)


1. OATH OF FREE STATE TO MARRY (that you’re not forced into this marriage)

2.  SWORN TESTIMONY OF WITNESS (two witnesses for each one of us that validate that we are not being forced into marriage)

3. BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATE (세례증명서). (I was baptized in 1994 at my local church in Korea. Catholic churches do not accept fax/email, so we had to call Korea and have them mail over a hard copy)


5, Attend CATHOLIC ENGAGED ENCOUNTER couple retreat and obtain a CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION. (already booked! June 29th~July 1st @ St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, Tustin. So close to our home!)

6. Read TOGETHER FOR LIFE text and select readings and passages that we’d like to be used in our Catholic wedding. (we havent’ got to this yet, but I’m excited that we get to choose what we want to hear and say at our mass!)

7. PRE-NUPTIAL CERTIFICATE (our meeting with the priest. The pre-nuptial courses are carried out at the church for the “enrichment of married life”)

Who knew the process was so complicated?? We also each separately took a test called FOCCUS for homework, which showed our personalities and our similarities/differences.

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