Congratulations on your decision to get married. The Catholic Community of the University of Chicago wishes to be present to you during this time of joy. Because this is the most important decision of your life, there are a number of guidelines that govern marriage in the Church and specifically here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. These guidelines are based upon the policies of the Archdiocese and the Code of Canon Law. They are intended to support and enhance your decision to be married. It is our hope that this guide will help you to better understand the laws that govern and protect marriage in the Catholic Church.
The vocation of Christian marriage demands a serious commitment. Consequently, the Church desires to do all that it can so that couples be adequately prepared to accept the obligations of Christian marriage and to fulfill them faithfully. We are providing here a sketch of some basic policies and procedures that guide marriages in the Catholic Church. Before you set your date for either Bond Chapel or Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, you must meet with the Director of Calvert House. This initial meeting is designed, in part, to make sure that someone will be available to witness your wedding.
The proper place for Catholic marriages to take place is in a parish church, where most of the Sacraments are celebrated. However, because of the unique situation at the University of Chicago, the Archdiocese permits, for students or employees of The University of Chicago, or for those who have graduated within the past six months from the University, marriages to be celebrated in the Bond Chapel or Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
The formal preparation for marriage generally begins six months before the date that is set. This preparation includes three meetings with a priest or deacon. In addition, there is an appropriate marriage preparation program that the couple will need to fulfill. The Archdiocese of Chicago sponsors this program. During these three meetings, we will attend to the necessary papers that need to be filled out, make decisions about the type of preparation that will best suit you, and look at preparing the ceremony itself. Furthermore, we will also discuss the nature and obligations of marriage as outlined in Catholic belief and understanding. This is also a time for us to get to know one another better and attend to any unique circumstances that might surround your particular marriage.
Unlike the secular culture, which tends to view marriage as an event between two people, Roman Catholics view marriages as community celebrations. The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church takes place in the midst of the community. For this reason, it is assumed that you are or will be an active member of the Calvert House community, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, or another local parish. If you are a member of another local parish, you will need to secure the permission of the pastor of that parish to be married at here.
Calvert House and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish have collaborated on these guidelines and set forth the policy. If you wish to have a priest or deacon from St. Thomas celebrate your wedding, you should contact them as soon as your first meeting is finished at Calvert House. Another priest or deacon who may be a family member or friend is always welcome to preside at your wedding. Formal permission must be secured for Catholic clergy who are not from the Archdiocese of Chicago. This is to insure that all the necessary laws requirements of the Church and state are properly followed. Generally, as long as someone is in good standing there is no problem securing the necessary delegation.
Specific guidelines have been set up for a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic. The unique circumstances of each couple will be respected in order to make your wedding reflective of the two of you. Further information will be discussed in our sessions together. As you are considering marriage, we invite you to contact Fr. Andrew Liaugminas as soon as possible to begin the preparations for your marriage.