Marriage is preceded by a period of preparation that comprises a preliminary meeting with the Parish Priest, participation in a marriage preparation course led by Damian and Emma Tolan, a second meeting with the Parish Priest to complete marriage documentation, and a wedding rehearsal.
Damian and Emma have been married for 15 years. They have 5 children and both work as doctors. They became involved in marriage preparation at their previous parish in Leeds and, 10 years later, continue to run courses for couples considering the sacrament of marriage. The course that they offer uses materials from the Leeds Diocesan Family Life Ministry. The course runs on 2-3 evenings, hosted at their house, and covers 6 separate areas - Getting Started, Family Background, Communication, Managing Conflict, Planning for a Family, What has God got to do with Marriage. Each session lasts 2-2.5 hours.
Feedback from previous courses is positive - it is a wonderful opportunity to deepen your understanding of your partner and a relaxing and an enjoyable opportunity to meet other members of the parish who are preparing for marriage. Although centred on a Catholic understanding of marriage the course content is equally accessible to non-Catholic partners. In fact some of the most positive feedback on the courses comes from them!
This course is open to engaged couples or to a man and a woman who are discerning whether they are being called to Marriage. Catholic couples who have contracted a civil marriage only are not yet validly married in the eyes of the Church and should seek to have their marriage "convalidated". This course is also for them.
Couples are advised not to set a date for their wedding until they are well underway with this course. The date for the wedding will then need to be discussed and agreed with the parish priest at your second meeting with him when you meet to complete the documentation. Church fees associated with wedding are posted here and on the Parish Notice Board in the Atrium.