Preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage

What is involved in the preparation process:

*In 1994, the Catholic Bishops of the State of Wisconsin amended their policy concerning the preparation of engaged couples for the Sacrament of Matrimony. St. Joseph Parish adheres to this policy. What follows is a summary of the steps involved.

As part of your preparation, there are several opportunities for you as a couple to deepen your understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage, as well as deepen your own relationship.  The following steps are meant to assist you in this understanding and reflection:

1) Discussions with the Pastoral Associate – The Pastoral Associate will meet with you to discuss the meaning of the sacrament of marriage, as well as your understanding of this sacrament and why you choose to marry in the Church. The Pastoral Associate will explain the whole preparation process and what tasks need to be accomplished first. The Pastoral Associate will also assist you with the following paperwork, which is placed on permanent file at the parish:

  1. Pre-nuptial questionnaire –This questionnaire contains basic personal and family information, your own sacramental history (baptism, confirmation, etc), as well as questions to determine that you are free to marry in the Catholic Church.
  2. Affidavits – If it is necessary, an affidavit for each of you must be obtained from people who know you well and can testify that you are free to marry. The Pastoral Associate will take this testimony. These witnesses can be parents, other family members, or friends but they must be individuals who have known you your entire adult life.
  3. Baptismal Certificates – You must provide an updated copy of your baptismal certificate. Each Catholic must obtain a recently issued copy of his/her baptismal certificate (within 6 months of the wedding date). This can be done by phoning or writing the church where you were baptized and asking them to send the baptismal certificate directly to St. Joseph Parish. The original certificate issued at the time of your baptism cannot be accepted, since only a recently issued certificate will include notations of the other sacraments you have received. Other baptized Christians who are not Catholic must present a record of their baptisms also. In their case, a copy of an original baptismal certificate is sufficient.
  4. Other documents – The Pastoral Associate will let you know if any special circumstances related to your marriage require additional documentation. If either one of you has been married before, special paperwork must be processed. If it is determined that a church annulment is needed, this process can take up to 18 months to complete. Church marriages cannot be scheduled until the necessary annulment has been granted.

2) Archdiocesan Enrichment Program for the Engaged – This program is offered as a day-long Saturday event or as a Friday/Saturday overnight event. It is your responsibility to register for and attend one of these programs. The program includes short talks by married couples, with the majority of time given to the two of you to talk and share around specific topics and aspects of marriage. For more information and to register click here: Engaged Enrichment and Marriage Preparation

3) FOCCUS: Pre-marriage Inventory – You will be contacted to do the FOCCUS questionnaire and inventory and then discuss the results with one of the parish’s marriage preparation couples. The questionnaire and inventory is comprised of several statements to which you are asked to agree or disagree. Your answers are scored and compared with each other’s. The inventory is meant to facilitate an extended discussion between you and the FOCCUS couple about the many joys and challenges in married life. This process is designed to affirm the strengths of your relationship, as well as point out areas that you, as a couple, may need to explore further.

4) Other: Additionally, you have the obligation to obtain a MARRIAGE LICENSE from the County court house in the Wisconsin County in which you reside. If your residence is in another State, the marriage license must be obtained in Ozaukee County, the County in which St. Joseph Parish is located (County offices are in Port Washington). Each of you need to provide a birth certificate. You must apply for the marriage license between thirty (30) and eight (8) days before your marriage. The license expires after thirty days. You cannot get married in the Church if you do not have a marriage license.

The publication of the BANNS OF MARRIAGE is a notice of your wedding in the parish bulletin on the three preceding Sundays leading up to your wedding date. This is part of a larger process of inquiry through which your freedom to enter the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Church is established. The parish office prepare the publication of these banns.

Contact the Parish Office regarding preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage:
262-375-6500, ext 100 /