The Sacrament of Marriage

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Marriage is a special Sacrament in which God's grace is bestowed upon husband and wife to assume the essential duties of marriage and to live in word and deed the command of the gospel - "the two shall become one flesh." Marriage is more than a way of life - it is a vocation by which the lives of husband and wife are united to Christ Himself. It is a serious commitment and takes ample preparation to fully understand the life a husband and wife will embrace as they proclaim God's love through the Sacramental love they share with each other.

Couples should contact the parish at least six months prior to being married.  Special circumstances can be accommodated, but should plan to involve the parish at least six months before the wedding is to take place.

Couples are asked to complete the following steps:

  1. Schedule a meeting with the pastor to complete the pre-nuptial paperwork.
  2. Complete the Marriage Preparation Program through Agape Ministries.

The parish utilizes Agape Ministries to prepare couples for the Sacrament of Marriage.  Couples are asked to register for 

  1. Pre-Cana Program with Mentors. For more information and to sign up for the program, visit https://www.catholicmarriageprep.com/course-info/online-pre-cana
  2. Prepare and Enrich Marital Inventory with Skype Review. For more information and to sign up for the inventory, visit https://www.catholicmarriageprep.com/course-info/premarital-inventory

Marriage Forms
The following forms will help you with your wedding preparation:

Marriage Preparation Guidelines
[Microsoft Word] [Adobe PDF]

Wedding Reading Selections
[Adobe PDF]

Wedding Mass / Liturgy Worksheet for Couples
[Microsoft Word] [Adobe PDF]

Continue reading on for more information on the Sacrament of Marriage!

Are Catholics required to marry in the Catholic Church?
Yes. All Catholics are bound to observe canonical form when they are married. Canonical form requires that a couple be married in a church, before a priest with two witnesses who meet the requirements of Canon Law and Wisconsin Statues. A Catholic may marry outside the Church (in a Lutheran church, for example) with the proper permission. Permission can be sought through the pastor. If permission is not received, the marriage would be considered invalid in the eyes of the Church because the proper permission was not sought.

Am I allowed to marry at St. Bernard?
The parish receives many requests for weddings here. We will do our very best to accommodate your request to be married here.  Members of the parish and the immediate family members of members in the parish have the highest priority. 

When should I talk to the pastor about getting married?
Couples who are planning to marry, and it is the first bond of marriage (neither the bride or the groom have been married before: in a church, civilly or by common law) should approach the pastor at least six months before the wedding is to take place.

Couples intending to marry who have been previously married must see the pastor in order to determine the circumstances regarding the previous bond or bonds of marriage. In order to marry in the Catholic Church, couples must be free to enter into marriage. In most cases, previous bonds of marriage will need to be investigated by our diocesan marriage tribunal. The time needed to review these bonds of marriage can take upwards of one year. It is extremely important that couples seek counsel from the pastor before making any plans for marriage.

Is it ok to book my reception venues and make other arrangements before meeting with the pastor?
This practice is highly discouraged. The pastor will not place the wedding on the parish's calendar until there is established certainty that the couple are free to enter into marriage. In all cases, couples should speak with the pastor before making any other plans.

Are there requirements to marry in the Catholic Church?
Yes. There are requirements at both the diocesan level and at the parish level. Please see the link at the top of this section to review our marriage policies.