Your marriage in the Church is also valid as a civil marriage in the State of Louisiana. For the Civil Requirements you will need the following:
Certified copies of Birth Certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the City or State of your birth
In order to be married at a Catholic Church in the Archdioces of New Orleans, the following requirements in addition to the Civil Requirements are in effect:
Initial interview with priest or deacon at least six months prior to the planned marriage date
Completion of Pre-Marital Inventory
Certificate of Attendance at one of the five qualified Marriage Preparation Programs
Pre-Marital Affidavits (in some cases)
A couple seeking marriage in the church must contact the priest or deacon at least six months prior to their proposed marriage.
This preparation period allows couples an adequate amount of time to be in a position to learn and practice the use of Natural Family Planning,* and to gain the full benefits of the use of pre-marital inventories. It also gives the couples enough time to take advantage of the preparation process in order to make an informed decision on their own readiness for marriage.
During Phase One a rapport is established between the couple and the priest or deacon. Any special circumstances that might affect their marriage are explained to the couple. In addition, personal information and documentation is obtained. The administering of a pre-marital inventory takes place in Phase One. A pre-marital inventory is a series of questions responded to by the couple separately. Their responses are analyzed and used in helping the couple assess their readiness for marriage. Phase One may take place in one or several meetings with the couple.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) training should happen during this phase. For an appointment with an NFP teacher, contact Family Life Apostolate at 861-6243.
In this second phase, the priest or deacon will discuss with the couple the results of the pre-marital inventory and the strengths and weaknesses of their communication process. An assessment is made at this time of the couple's readiness for sacramental marriage.
Presuming the couple is deemed ready to go forward, they may begin the liturgical wedding plans. They will also be informed of the parish guidelines and of any costs or offerings involved. This second phase may take place in one or several meetings with the couple. In the event that the priest or deacon believes that the couple is not ready to go forward, he will give them reasons for his recommendation that they delay their marriage. If the couple disagrees with his decision, he may refer them to another priest or deacon; or the couple may appeal this decision. The priest or deacon will explain the appeals process at this time.
This is the instructional phase where the essential human and Christian aspects of marriage are presented to the couple. The couple may choose to attend any of five different programs depending on the couple's particular circumstances. These include: Engaged Encounter, a weekend for couples entering marriage for the first time; Day For The Engaged, also for couples entering marriage for the first time but in shorter format than Engaged Encounter; evenings For The Engaged or Sponsor Couple Program, for couples marrying for the first time which takes place in a married couple's home and usually is one night a week for a four to six week period; Re-Marriage Preparation, for couples seeking marriage after a previous marriage was terminated by death or annulment; and Special Marriage Preparation, for couples seeking validation of their civil marriages, for couples with long term relationships. Here is a link to our Engage Encounter ministry.
You can see a schedule for the Archdiocese-wide programs at the Family Apostolate website here.
During this final phase, the priest or deacon will discuss with the couple what they have learned and experienced at their formal marriage preparation program and their understanding of sacrament in light of their formal preparation. He will discuss with the couple their responsibilities as members of God's people, as spouses and future parents and he will complete all documentary requirements. As appropriate, he will grant permission for interfaith marriage and /or apply for appropriate permissions or dispensations.