Marriage, long distance relationship, military

My fiancée lives in fargo. I’m stationed in Nebraska. We want to marry at her parents church in Minnesota. I could deploy at anytime. How do we get married? How do we do the 6 month marriage prep? Through which parish? She might live down here in Nebraska in future but not till we can afford a seperate apartment for her. Any help will be appreciated.

You should speak to both her pastor and to your military chaplain.

It is probably possible for you to fulfill some of the marriage preparation requirements at different parishes. But you won’t know until you ask.

The “6 month marriage prep” is usually just 5 meetings with a priest/deacon + a one-day pre-Cana session with other couples + a FOCCUS multiple-choice test (varies based on the diocese and the priest/deacon). Only your priest or deacon can advise you, but you can probably meet all the marriage prep requirements in a month or less. The 6-month wait most parishes require is to prevent people from “jumping into” a marriage (I’m sure you’ve heard about those people that were married the day after they meet).

As for where to do the prep: the ideal situation is to do it where you’ll be married (in Nebraska); however, it is somewhat common for people to do marriage prep at a different church than where they are married (usually in the case of destination weddings). You should start by speaking to someone in Nebraska to get their opinion / requirements for marriage, and make sure they are aware of your situation (it’s not an uncommon situation). You never know, the priest might just let you do marriage prep over Skype.

You each should see your respective pastors.

DH was in the military when we got married. I did my stuff with my pastor, he did his with his military chaplain, the papers were forwarded to my pastor and everything was handled there. I doubt that your chaplain is a stranger to that kind of request.

I think in your case it’s a little more complicated since your fiancee wants to marry in her parents’ parish in another state so presumably in another diocese. If it works in the US as it does in Canada,

  1. Your chaplain would forward the documents to your fiancee’s pastor.
  2. Her pastor would gather everything together and send them to the bishop for his approval for a marriage outside the diocese.
  3. The bishop would forward to the priest doing the wedding.
  4. Priest would forward to his bishop for permission to marry you.

Now you see why they ask for 6 months?

We’ve done preparation with couples by mail when they were living in remote areas where face to face preparation wasn’t possible. You see, many communities with Catholics in our province never see a priest because there were never enough Catholics to establish a parish or even a mission. So they would do much of their prep. on their own and meet with the priest when they were coming to our town for something.

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