There isn’t much doubt that our beautiful church is a popular one for weddings.
In order to marry in a Catholic church,
• At least one of the couple must be a baptised Catholic.
• Neither of the couple may have been in any form of marriage or Civil Partnership before.
• In this diocese, twelve months’ notice must be given.
• a pre-marriage course must be attended
Those with the first right to get married here are those who live in the parish, or regularly come to Mass here. Those who live in Kenley and Whyteleafe are counted as parishioners for this purpose, although technically they are in the parish of St John the Baptist, Purley. There is no charge for this category of couple.
Others, non-parishioners, too may marry here, as long as
• they have the agreement of their local parish priest,
• their preparation papers must be done in the parish where they live.
• they are willing to pay £250 for the hire of the building
• they fulfil all the criteria in the parishioners’ section.
So, what if I have been married before? Is there no chance?
It is always worth talking with a priest to work out whether something can be done. Sometimes there may be a reason for the Church to grant an ‘annulment’ of a previous union, but this must not be presumed.
So how do I go about booking a wedding at the Sacred Heart church?
Assuming you fulfil all the above criteria, the first thing to do is to contact Fr Seán on . You can immediately suggest a date, and that will be pencilled in if the date is available. You will need to give all your contact details also, and assure him that you have not been married before.
You then will need to meet with Fr Seán or with the priest who will prepare your papers. For that meeting, you will need to assemble the following documents:
• Your baptismal certificate. For non-Catholics any certificate will do. For Catholics, the certificate must be a new one, no more than six months’ old. This can be obtained from the church where you were baptised, usually free of charge; if using the post, please use a stamped addressed envelope. If one of you is not baptised, then please let the priest know. It is not usually a problem.
• Letters of Freedom. For each of you there must be a letter from someone who has known you well since you were 16 (a parent is fine) attesting that you have never been married. The writers can use their own words.
At some point you will need to make contact with your local registry office to notify them of your intent to marry. We have four registered persons in our parish one of whom will register your wedding, but the local registry office must first issue you with the ‘blue form’ giving us permission to proceed.
Here is a booklet that may answer many of your questions.
Natural Family Planning
You may know that the Church strongly encourages couples to use natural, non-chemical or invasive methods if they need responsibly to regulate their fertility.
In our parish, we have a young mum, herself a doctor, who is more than happy to help couples embrace this approach for themselves.
Two pics above: Hayley Rose Photography