Marriage prep and wedding in two different diocese

Not sure how to phrase this question in a Google search, so I thought I’d ask here.

Getting straight to the point, how would an engaged couple go about doing marriage prep in Arkansas, but with a wedding set in Pennsylvania (where the Bride’s family is). Would we take classes through the Diocese of Harrisburg, or take them in Arkansas and give the parish in Harrisburg a note before the wedding saying that we completed the class? I know that since each diocese has different requirements.

To further complicate matters, is it permisable to use a priest that isn’t from either diocese?

Sorry if that seems rambling. Just very confused on this!

Hi, celticsfan!

I’m getting the ball rolling on marriage prep for my own wedding! :slight_smile:

My suggestion is to immediately contact your local priest or a diocesan representative in their Family Life or Marriage division and discuss the matter.

As you know, diocesan requirements differ. Further, since you are a non-resident of Pennsylvania, there may be state requirements of Pennsylvania that are required for a wedding in that state, especially medical tests and the marriage license.

I strongly suspect that your priest/diocese in AR can coordinate your local marriage prep with Harrisburg’s diocese to meet any Harrisburg diocesan requirements to avoid trips or extra costs. This cannot be a new situation, since intrastate marriages happen all the time.

Good luck!

The answer to both questions starts with both your pastors (they may be the same pastor). He/they will contact the parish where the Sacrament is to take place. The Pastors will contact the Bishops as necessary. The permission for the third priest would be required by the Bishop where the Sacrament is celebrated.

Usually you do everything in your parish.

Your pastor then sends all the information to your Bishop asking for a testiomonial letter, giving permission for a wedding outside the diocese.

When he gives permission he does one of two things:

  1. sends the papers to the priest who will be performing the wedding, or
  2. sends the papers to the bishop of the diocese where the wedding will be.

If he goes for # 1, the priest then petitions his bishop for permission to celebrate the wedding of someone from outside the diocese.

If he goes for #2, the bishop gives permission for the wedding to be celebrated and then forwards the documents to the priest.

Since you know that the requirements are different for each diocese you should ask your pastor to make sure that you have all your bases covered.

Since you want to have a different priest celebrating the wedding you have to make sure that he is licenced by the State to perform weddings and that he has the permission of the Bishop and the Pastor to do so.

As someone mentioned, it’s quite possible that the State also has different requirements from those of your home State.

Yes, it is possible to do marital preparation and marry in two different diocese.

You need to talk to your priest in your home parish and the priest in the parish in which you wish to marry. And, the priest that you want to actually witness the marriage.

There will be a lot of paperwork involved. You have to get permission from your/his pastor to marry somewhere other than the parish in which one of you resides. You have to get permission from the priest of the parish where you want to marry. The third priest, who will witness the marriage, has to be allowed to do so in that diocese/state and must have his letter from his bishop showing he is in good standing.

As for prep, you can do it a lot of ways. My DH and I did it thus:

I lived in one state, he in another. We were married in my home parish. We did preparation with my deacon. We did the marriage retreat in his diocese and just gave my deacon the certificate. We married in my church with my deacon as wintess but with a visiting (family friend) priest presiding at Mass.

I chose not to have the visiting priest marry us because he was from a different state and our deacon is authorized to perform marriages in our state and to register them with the county clerk. I wasn’t about to get into a situation where an 80 year old retired priest from another state married us and then paperwork with the state didn’t get filed properly. Uh, no thank you. So, the deacon actually did our vows, but the priest did the rest of the mass.

You just need to talk to ALL the priests involved in this and follow their guidelines and make sure you know what you are doing regarding the civil piece of the marriage also.

You can prepare for your marriage through the diocese you are a subject. Call the marriage office of your diocese and they will give you all your requirements. Then the priest who is receiving your vows will need a letter from his Bishop stating he is a priest in good standing. That letter will go in your marriage file along with the certificates of completion of all your classes required. Once you have everything completed, whoever is preparing you will send the marriage file to your diocese. They will send the marriage file to the diocese where you will be getting married in and they will forward it to the church where you will get married in. :slight_smile:

P.S. Any dispensations you might need will be taken care of at your diocese.

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