Every year we prepare over 1,000 people to be married in the Catholic Church. It’s a precious opportunity for both of you to explore important marital topics and receive faith formation relating to God’s plan for marriage. We are excited for you to begin this lifelong journey in the art of loving.
Non-Catholics are most welcome, as are couples not yet engaged, but discerning marriage. All couples are advised to take a course at least 4 months before their intended wedding date.
Contact your parish at least six months prior to your anticipated wedding date, longer if you are planning to marry outside the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
The process begins with the initial interview with your priest or deacon to address your faith experience and understanding of marriage in the Church so that you can enter into this lifelong commitment before God well prepared.
The priest or deacon will sign a parish form to indicate that you may move forward in the process and register for Marriage Preparation. Bring the signed parish form to the first session of the course.
For weddings taking place outside Vancouver, you would still need to contact a local priest as there are additional requirements and paperwork.
Updated – March 26, 2020
Marriage Formation course topics include:
- Why marry in the Church?
- God’s Plan for Marriage
- Prepare/Enrich Couples Report
- Couple’s Finance
- Married Couple’s Testimony
- Fertility Health Awareness
In addition, you are required to:
- Complete a Prepare/Enrich online relationship assessment
- Have a follow-up ‘meeting’ with a Program Coordinator, assigned coaching couple or Counsellor
Webinar Course Guidelines
- Couples once registered must do the first webinar and take the sessions in sequence.
- Make-up sessions are possible but may be recorded presentations and would not be interactive.
Updated – April 30, 2020
Let’s keep the Hope in our hearts in the face of crisis. Love knows no boundaries. You are important to the Church. We understand that many of you are still planning to marry in the Church and would wish to prepare for this important chapter of your life.
As our in-person conferences are not currently possible, we are creating an all new series of webinars in April and May.
Pick a webinar series that fits your schedule:
Each course also includes:
- Prepare Enrich relationship online assessment package
- Private consultation with a Fertility Health practitioner
- Follow up meeting with a Marriage & Families Coordinator or an assigned Coaching Couple
Course fee is $199.
The Witness to Love Marriage Mentorship program is another wonderful way of marriage formation if you can’t do the webinars at this time. Please e-mail us if you have questions on this program.
The Prepare/Enrich questionnaire helps couples identify their strengths, weaknesses and major sources of stress. It aims to develop communication and conflict resolution skills before marriage. It is a discussion instrument designed to optimize couple satisfaction.
Instructions to take this assessment will be e-mailed to you after you register online. Couples whose reports indicate they will benefit from a facilitator-led meeting will be contacted to acquire relationship tools to increase harmony.
Fertility Health Awareness is natural, economical, respectful to the body of the woman and consistent with Catholic teaching. It is highly effective in achieving and preventing pregnancies.
A complimentary private consultation is included in the course. Some presentations offered are:
Updated – March 26, 2020
Some parishes are offering marriage mentorship together with our course, to better prepare couples for married life. You will be invited to meet with a mentor couple picked by you, who will be an invaluable support before and beyond your wedding day.
During this uncertain time of the COVID-19 crisis, you may also choose to do this mentorship program instead of our webinar series, if you belong to the following parishes:
- Canadian Martyrs Parish, Richmond
- Corpus Christi Parish, Vancouver
- Holy Cross Parish, Burnaby
- Immaculate Conception Parish, Delta
- Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Coquitlam
- Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Burnaby
- Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Vancouver
- Precious Blood Parish, Surrey
- St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Vancouver
- St. Augustine’s Parish, Vancouver
- St. Clare of Assisi Parish, Coquitlam
- St. Francis de Sales Parish, Burnaby
- St. Mary’s Parish, Vancouver
- St. Matthew’s Parish, Surrey
- St. Patrick’s Parish, Vancouver
Your parish and Mentor Couple would work with you for your marriage formation using Witness to Love plus:
- Complete a Prepare Enrich assessment
- Participate in a God’s Plan for Marriage webinar
- Attend a Fertility Health Awareness webinar
Please e-mail mprep@ rcav.org:
- If you are civilly married and plan to marry in the Church and are interested to use this program
- If you prefer to do Mentorship and some webinars, instead of the regular webinar series
- If your parish does not offer this but you are interested to know how you can participate in this and we will see if we can find a way to support you and your parish
After you have completed all the above requirements, we will send a Completion Report to your priest. Our office may waive a session or requirement in specific circumstances, as advised by the Pastor.
If you are marrying outside Vancouver, we will also e-mail you a certificate upon request. Please notify us as soon as you complete the course.
Questions? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-683-0281 ext. 50223.
We are thrilled that you are now preparing to marry in the Church. The current course may not always be suitable. The Marriage Mentorship program may be an option.
Alternatively, Couples who have been civilly married for 5 years or more may consider attending Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend as a suitable alternative to marriage formation courses.
Questions on Marriage Encounter? Contact Sharon Goh at email@example.com.
Next Marriage Encounter is Saturday to Sunday, May 2-3, 2020.
In any case, couples would:
Your priest will assist in the completion of the required documentation.
- Dispensation: For a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized Christian of another communion/a member of a non-Christian world religion/a member of no religion, permission is required from the local bishop.
- Baptismal Certificate: If you are a Catholic, you must have a new baptismal certificate issued within the six months prior to your wedding. If you have been baptized in another Christian denomination, you may supply either your original certificate or a copy.
- Marriage License: please apply for a B.C. marriage license (valid for 90 days). This is not required for a convalidation ceremony.
- Marriage Form I: Under oath and individually with the priest or deacon, each fiancé(e) answers a series of questions about his or her freedom to marry.
- Marriage Form II: Each fiancé(e) needs outside testimonial of freedom to marry. Normally one parent or sibling does this by completing the form with the priest. Otherwise, you will need two witnesses. They must have known you throughout your marriageable years (Church law: 14 for bride, 16 for groom).
- Testimonial Letter: If the Catholic fiancé(e) lives outside this Archdiocese and there is no one available to do a Form II, his or her bishop has to write a testimonial letter.
- Marriage Preparation Course Completion Report: The completion report will be sent upon completion of all requirements of the archdiocesan course to the priest who is doing your paperwork.
- Letter of Consent: If your fiancé/fiancée is under 19, there is provincial requirement that a letter of consent from his/her parents is provided to the priest, who will also interview the couple and make an assessment.
Please note that if you are getting married in a church outside the Archdiocese of Vancouver, a local priest must complete some of the above paperwork. Please factor in additional time for the paperwork to be sent to the other diocese.
Catholic Weddings take place in Churches
- The wedding of two Catholics is a sacred and sacramental liturgy. The Church is therefore the proper place for the wedding, hence gardens, beaches, secular “wedding chapels” are not. Learn more at https://youtu.be/c3qH25CqHaA
- To be married in another parish, permission must be granted from the parish in which you wish to be married, as well as from the parishes where you are registered.
- A wedding in which only one of you is Catholic would take place in the parish of the Catholic party.
- The Episcopal Vicar for Marriage may permit you to celebrate your wedding in the place of worship of the non-Catholic Christian party when an extraordinary pastoral reason suggests it.
If the celebrant is a visiting priest:
- You should discuss your choice of celebrant with your parish priest at the beginning of your preparation.
- A visiting priest must have permission of the pastor and of the Archbishop, in addition to a license from the BC government.
- Every Catholic should complete his or her initiation into the Faith by receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. If you have not been confirmed, the time of your preparation for marriage is an opportunity to prepare for Confirmation as well.
- The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist will prepare you for a more meaningful experience of your wedding liturgy.
- Your priest/deacon will help you plan your wedding liturgy. You may refer to the Wedding Liturgy Guide resource provided at the course. He will also inform you of any additional requirements that are particular to that parish.