Building God's Kingdom In Faith Through Serving

Marriage Preparation

Preparing for Marriage and
Making Arrangements for Your Wedding

Staff Liaison: 
Cecilia Jones, 972-596-5505 x4222


Where to Start
You start with taking one of our Marriage Preparation Classes which are offered once a month. If you plan to marry here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton WITH one of our priests, please contact Sonia Moran at (972) 596-5505 ext. 4221 to register for that class and to reserve a date of the Church’s calendar. If you are marrying somewhere else and doing you preparation at SEAS, OR if you are marrying here at SEAS but using a visiting priest, contact Cecilia Jones at (972) 596-5505 ext. 4222 to register for the class and to reserve a date on the Church’s calendar.

If either party as been married previously, whether in the Catholic Church, by a Justice of the Peace, or in another faith an annulment must first be obtained; even for a non-Catholic party. Please contact Cecilia Jones at ext. 4222 to discuss annulments.

In the orientation class you will be given a packet of information on what is necessary to marry in the Roman Catholic Church as well as guidelines for weddings here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. You will take a compatibility questionnaire called a FOCCUS Assessment. There is a $50 fee per couple for the assessment. Your pre-Cana classes are based on this assessment.

Preparation Classes

There are two ways of completing your pre-Cana classes, either one will fulfill those requirements and the choice is yours-you need only complete one of these; not both. During the Orientation Class you will notify us which program you want to use.

The first is a Sponsor Couple Program. In that program you meet with one of our volunteer married couples at least 4 times, no more frequently than once a week. They will go over the FOCCUS with you; it is very specific to your relationship because it’s all about your answers. There is no fee for this program. You will be given a certificate of completion and we will need a copy of that as part of your marriage documentation; you may keep the original.

The second is the Engaged Encounter Weekend. The weekends are offered through the Diocese of Dallas, please visit the Diocese’s website for dates and times under the Marriage Ministries Link and then to Engaged Encounter Weekend. For this program you stay at the Catholic Formation Center all day Saturday, over Saturday night and half of a Sunday. It is a very general overview of marriage and there is a $200.00 fee. You will be given a certificate of completion and we will need a copy of that as part of your marriage documentation; you may keep the original.

Documentation Needed

In addition to the pre-Cana classes there are several documents that are needed to complete your marriage documentation.

Catholics must provide a currently dated baptismal certificate; this is issued six (6) months before the scheduled wedding day. Please call or write to your church of baptism – they will provide it. Your original baptismal certificate will NOT work; you must obtain a current copy WITH notations.

What that means is; in the Catholic Church the Church you were baptized in becomes the Church where all your sacraments are recorded, REGARDLESS where you received the other sacraments. The Church where you received additional sacraments is required to write to your baptismal Church and notify them that you have received another sacrament. The baptismal Church then records that information in the baptismal registry and when you order a current baptismal certificate all other sacraments should be listed. The baptismal Church will then make a “notation” on the back of the current baptismal certificate of those additional sacraments. Please be aware the Holy Communion was not recorded until within the last 8 years so you will probably not have that notation. We are specifically looking for Confirmation, prior marriages and Holy Orders.

Non-Catholics must provide a copy of their original baptismal certificate or a letter from their Church indicating they are baptized. Non-baptized persons need only advise they are not baptized.

An “Affidavit of Freedom” from each of you (in your packet from the Marriage Orientation Session). These are completed by a parent, OLDER sibling or someone who has known you since the age of 16.

Those with previous marriages (Catholic or Non-Catholic) must provide annulment documents, certificates or other information as necessary. Please ask for more information if you are unsure of your situation by contacting Cecilia Jones at ext. 4222.

Meeting with the Priests

Once you have completed either the Sponsor Couple Program or the Engaged Encounter Weekend you will need to meet either with one of our priests, if you are marrying here at SEAS, or with Cecilia Jones to complete the final documentation and obtain the necessary signatures to finalize your marriage preparation. Do not wait until the month before your wedding. The priest who is preparing you for the sacrament of marriage will want to meet with you at least two or three times before your wedding day. For weddings occurring elsewhere your marriage preparation and completed documentation needs to be at the Church of marriage 6 weeks before your wedding date. If one party is not Catholic, then the documentation needs to go through our Chancery’s office which adds an additional 2 weeks to that timeframe. Please plan accordingly; contact Cecilia Jones at ext. 4222 if you have any questions.

Sonia Moran keeps the priests' calendars; please contact her at ext. 4221 to schedule that appointment. Contact Cecilia Jones directly at ext. 4222 if you are marrying outside of SEAS.


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