Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Big Fat Catholic Wedding: Part VI - The Priest Meetings

As part of our marriage prep process, we had to have two meetings with the priest that married us, Father John.

The first meeting was right at the beginning. We had to actually meet with him and discuss our relationship before we could set a date for the wedding with the Church. During the first meeting we mostly talked about Jeff and me... our careers, our faith, our history together, etc. We also discussed the sacrament of marriage, and Father John reminded us of the importance of God in our relationship. 

Highlights from Meeting #1:
  • Jeff and Father John talked for a while about Jeff's journey towards becoming Catholic (he's been Episcopal for quite a while, which is like as close to Catholic as it gets, and he's wanted to officially become Catholic for a while, but it's been hard with all of the moving he's been doing lately) and Father John gave us some great advice.
  • Father John shared with us these statistics: The divorce rate among all married couples is pretty close to 1 out of every 2 (around 50%). The divorce rate among couples who identify themselves as "Christian" is nearly the same. The divorce rate among couples who identify themselves as "Christian" AND attend Church every Sunday is 1 out of every 20 couples (around 5%). The divorce rate among couples who identify themselves as Christian, attend Church every Sunday, AND actively practice their faith in their home (praying together, keeping Bibles/rosaries/etc where they can be easily used, etc) is only 1 out of every 200 couples (around 0.5%). I don't know where he got this information, or how accurate it really is, but it was a good reminder that actively living your faith has enormous marital benefits.
  • At the end of our meeting Father John had us stand in front of him, just like we did on our wedding day. He gave us a blessing, and then had us kiss, just like we did at the actual wedding.
The second meeting with Father John took place about a month before the wedding. During that meeting we mostly discussed the wedding ceremony, what each part signified, and how it would all happen.

Highlights from Meeting #2:
  • Father John told us that from what he could remember about our last meeting, we were a couple whose relationship was "built on a faith platform." What a wonderful compliment!
  • Father John told us that in a Catholic marriage ceremony, the Priest does not "marry the couple." Instead, the couple marries themselves. The Priest must be present, but the bride and the groom actually marry each other by saying the vows. 
  • Father John insisted that I practice kneeling in my wedding dress before the wedding. Apparently some brides have trouble with it and end up falling over or pulling their strapless dresses down. Eek. (I never practiced, and I was just fine. Haha)
  • Again, he had us stand side by side in front of him for a blessing and a kiss at the end of the meeting. 
We enjoyed both of our meetings with Father John, but both times it was insanely hard to schedule a meeting. Father John's schedule seemed to be only available for weekday meetings during business hours, which was especially difficult while I was living in College Station. We ended up having the first meeting on a Sunday afternoon after weeks of trying to schedule one during a time that I could drive to Cypress, and for the second one Jeff had to take half a day off work to be there. 

I'm curious... other brides - how many meetings did you have with your officiant? I felt like two was kind of a low number, but maybe that's just me. Did you enjoy your meetings?

Previously in this series:
Part I - The Process
Part II - The FOCCUS test

1 comment:

  1. We had at least 5 meetings with our officiant/pastor and went through a lot of different topics with him, which we loved. It was kind of hard and they were a little spread out with me being away at school for most of our engagement, but we finished them up in the month after I moved home before the wedding. After our last meeting (which was actually more about the ceremony logistics) he gave us the book 'Sacred Marriage' to read, which I finished on our honeymoon. I'd highly recommend it!