Matrimony, as sacrament, reflects God's intention to share the gifts of love and the joy of love with two, who, through their love, will bring the fruits of their joining to the world for the benefit of the world as well as for themselves.
Preparation for the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony at St. Mark the Evangelist
St Mark the Evangelist follows the guidelines for marriage preparation as established by the Diocese of St. Petersburg, which requires a minimum of six months preparation from the time of initial interview with the priest/deacon and the date of marriage. This ensures enough time to adequately prepare the couple for the sacrament. To start this process, please complete this form:
Request for Preparation
Please remember couples best prepare for matrimony by means of regular participation in the general sacramental life of the Church. Couples should consider participation in the Sunday liturgy, confession, daily prayer, actions of charity, and living out the chaste Christian life to be the groundwork wherein their relationship will mature and blossom.
This information outlines a typical process (yours might be slightly different, although not drastically):
Step 1: Initial meeting with the Priest or Deacon
The purpose of the first meeting for the priest to get to know a little bit about the couple. It is all very relaxed and conversational. He will gather information regarding your church of baptism. If it was a Catholic baptism or the person came into the church through RCIA/RCIC, please have the name and location of the church, and approximate date of baptism. Preparation for marriage requires that us to obtain a recently issued copy of your baptismal certificate from the church where you were baptized. He will also go over the process with you, give you a checklist, and witness forms. These witness forms will need to complete by someone who knows you very well and can testify to your freedom to enter the marriage and if they know of any impediments to your upcoming marriage. They must be notarized or signed in front of priest/deacon and church seal placed on it. There are two forms for the bride and two for the groom. They will need to be returned before the marriage preparation is complete.
Step 2: Pre Marital Inventory
You will schedule an appointment to complete a Pre Marital Inventory (PMI). PMI is an “inventory” survey designed to help couples learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. The survey provides individualized couple feedback on where each partner stands in regards to topics important to the marriage. It is a simple way of helping couple’s identify potential strengths and weakness in their relationship Areas of coverage include:
Life style expectations Problem Solving Parenting Vision
Friends and interests Religion & Values Communications
Extended Family Issues Sexuality Issues Financial Issues
You will meet with a couple in their home to take the PMI and then meet a second time to discuss your results. The follow-up meeting is a facilitated discussion between you and your fiancé based on the results of the survey.
Step 3: Engaged Encounter Weekend
Couples must attend an Engaged Encounter Weekend conducted by the Diocese. This overnight weekend retreat is an opportunity to delve into the sacramental and spiritual aspects of marriage, as well as deepen your relationship with each other and God. Programs begin Friday evening and end on Sunday afternoon and usually take place at the Bethany Retreat Center in Tampa.
Step 4: Natural Family Planning Class Overview (NFP)
You will attend a one and half hour class on what NFP is, how it is practiced, and its relation to Church teachings. It takes place at St. Mark the Evangelist and can be taken anytime in the process.
Step 5: Planning the Wedding Ceremony
If you are marrying at another parish you will schedule a “Wrap Up” session to prepare your wedding file to be sent to parish you are to be marrying.
If you are marrying at St. Mark, when all classes and paperwork are completed, you will meet with the Liturgical Coordinator. He will provide you with a booklet in which it outlines the Ceremony/Mass, the liturgical aspects of the ceremony, and helps you select music appropriate for your celebration. Please see visit the guidelines for weddings at St. Mark the Evangelist in the downloadable forms toolbar.
To start this process, please complete this form:
Request for Marriage Preparation
Would you like to know more? See our FAQs page (frequently asked questions) or contact our Sacramental Preparation office at 813-907-7746 x320