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Preparing for Marriage

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Your preparation for marriage began on the day of your baptism and continued through your years of religious education in a Catholic school or at CCD. It is rooted in your own life of prayer, works of mercy and active participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

You are now entering the final and immediate preparation for your Christian marriage which is marked by its unity, exclusivity and indissolubility.

Please note that any and all planning of weddings at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is made with the Bride and the Groom only. You do not need the assistance of a wedding planner or coordinator. If the services of wedding planners/coordinators have been retained, those persons and their associates have no authority on the Church premises. The liturgical norms of the Catholic Church are to be strictly observed and Canon Law will be followed.

Establishing your freedom to marry
In order for you to marry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, we need to formally establish that you are free to marry. To establish this fact formally, priests and deacons carry out a pre-nuptial investigation, which requires the collection of certain documents. You cannot reserve a date to marry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton until and unless we document that you are free to marry. We also ask you to participate in some programs that we know from experience will greatly enrich your relationship and nurture your spiritual life.

Marriage is an act of the will. It is created by verbally expressing consent following the appropriate form. Therefore, a man and a woman have to be free from coercion and free from impediments to be able to marry. The law of the Church provides for certain procedures to establish that nobody is forcing you to marry against your will. The process is called “pre-nuptial investigation.” It consists of the gathering of documentary evidence and statements from the bride and groom.

At least six months before the desired date of marriage, you must contact the parish office to schedule a meeting with Deacon Mario and Olga Lopez who will conduct the pre-nuptial investigation. Your freedom to marry is established by a formal declaration made by the bride and the groom in the presence of a priest or deacon and by the testimony of two witnesses for each of the parties to marry. In the Archdiocese of Miami, the statements of the bride and groom are recorded in a special document, designated as Form A and the witness statements are provided in a special document, designated as Form B. The interviewing priest or deacon will explain the meaning of these documents and will ask you some standard questions regarding your intentions and your freedom to marry.

In addition to these statements you have to submit a recently issued copy of your baptismal certificate, no older than six months. This is used to establish that you are Catholic, and thus subject to the discipline of the Church and also that you are not already married. When you marry an annotation is made to your baptismal record in the parish where you were baptized. For this reason, the copy has to be issued within six months of the meeting so that we can have additional evidence that you are not married. You will have to contact the parish where you were baptized in order to obtain a copy of the certificate.

Catholics are bound to follow the discipline of the Church; therefore, without prejudice to the competence of civil authorities concerning the merely civil effects of marriage, a Catholic does not create the reality of marriage through civil marriage. If you are Catholic and had entered into a civil marriage with a person other than your current bride or groom and went through a civil divorce, you never created the reality of marriage with that person because you did not follow the form prescribed by the discipline of the Church, which requires that Catholics freely express their consent before the Church’s minister. That “civil marriage” only had the appearance of true marriage and has to be declared null and void for “lack of canonical form” by the Metropolitan Tribunal. If you are Catholic and have entered into a civil marriage with your current bride or groom, you are not validly married until you celebrate your marriage according to the form prescribed by the discipline of the Church.

Initial meeting with Deacon Mario Lopez
The first step in your final preparation for marriage is a meeting with Deacon Mario that will take approximately 90 minutes. Both the bride and the groom must present at this initial meeting. The deacon will complete with you “Form A” and will ask you to sign it. He will also indicate to you how to provide the testimony of the witnesses.

Before we can make the initial appointment, we must receive the following documents:
1. Permission or release from the Bride or Groom’s parish if other than St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
2. Copy of Baptismal certificate for both parties issued no more than six months prior to this meeting.
3. If there was one or more previous civil marriages, copies of the marriage certificate, decree of divorce in order to submit the petition for a declaration of nullity to the Metropolitan Tribunal (Please note that the Tribunal assesses a fee of $100 for every petition for a declaration of nullity for lack of canonical form).
4. If there was a previous attempt to marry in the Catholic Church that was declared null by the Ecclesiastical Courts, you must supply the original Decree of Nullity issued by the Tribunal.
5. If you are going to prepare for marriage in another parish, the couple must submit a letter from the priest or deacon assisting them, stating that he is doing the necessary investigation according to Canon Law and that he will submit the complete file and documentation on the freedom to marry of the bride and groom to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in a timely fashion. If the parish is located outside the Archdiocese of Miami, the documents are sent through the Chancery of the home (Arch)diocese to the Archdiocese of Miami, which in turn sends the documents to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Coral Springs, FL.

Marriage preparation and enrichment programs
The particular law of the Archdiocese of Miami requires that you participate in Pre-Cana, Engaged Encounter/Camino or a similar program. These programs are run by the Office of Family Life of the Archdiocese of Miami. To register, please visit the Family Life section of the Archdiocesan website, www.miamiarch.org. If you are unable to attend the classes, you can also do it on-line. Once you complete the program, you will need to bring a copy of the certificate for your file.

You are also asked to participate in Fully Engaged, (a Couple Inventory Program) to facilitate communications within marriage. This program is administered at the parish by the Deacon Mario and Olga Lopez.

In addition, you are strongly encouraged to participate in Natural Family Planning classes regularly offered at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and elsewhere in the United States through the Couple to Couple League.

Wedding Donation
Our beautiful Church is maintained through the generosity of our parishioners and donations. It is very costly to upkeep the building and its facilities, to run the air conditioner, not to mention other operating expenses. If you do not live within our parish boundaries, you were probably drawn to celebrate your marriage at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton by the beauty of our Church. We need your suitable contribution so that we can fund our mission, our evangelization efforts and maintain our building. Therefore, we ask you to make a generous donation to the Church on the occasion of your wedding.

We ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation to the Church that is comparable to the other expenses that you will incur in the celebration. We expect a donation of $500.00 or more for registered parishioners ($750.00 for non-parishioners). We ask you to make an initial contribution of $100.00 or more at the time of your initial appointment and then to contribute the balance due as the time of your wedding approaches. The reason why we state an expectation and provide a minimum amount is that in our experience, we find couples who spend a lot of money on wedding planners and the like and are reluctant to make a donation to the parish. Nobody is denied the celebration of the sacrament because they cannot make a donation. If your financial situation is such that you cannot make a donation, please let us know. If you live within our parish boundaries we are available and happy to assist you to prepare for marriage.

Reserving the date
Our weddings are on Fridays evenings and on Saturdays at 2:00 pm. To reserve the date at the Church, your freedom to marry has to be established or we must receive a letter from the priest or deacon preparing you for marriage (at your home parish) informing us that he is conducting the pre-nuptial investigation and you are free to marry. Once, your freedom to marry has been established we will place your desired wedding date on our parish calendar and reserve the Church for your marriage.

At the time you reserve the date, we ask you to sign an agreement to protect the interests of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. The agreement outlines your responsibilities and commitment.

Daily Mass Schedule
Monday-Saturday
8:30am in the chapel

Weekend Mass Schedule
Saturday Vigil
5:30pm

Sunday Masses
7:30am, 8:30am, 10:00am and 11:30am

Chapel Hours
Daily Rosary
Monday - Saturday 8:00am

Chapel is open
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 10:00pm

Saturday
8:00am - 5:30pm

Adoration
Monday, Tuesday and Friday
9:00 - 10:00am

Sunday - Friday
5:00 - 10:00pm

Reconciliation
Saturday
4:00-5:00pm or by appointment

Baptisms
Contact Dcn Mario Lopez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the parish office

Marriages
Contact Dcn Mario Lopez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the parish office

Parish Office Hours
Monday-Friday
9:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday - CLOSED
Sunday
8:00am - 1:00pm