Greetings everyone, this might be a little long but I would like some advice on what to do and the background helps to understand my predicament.
I moved to San Antonio, TX 2 years ago when I landed my dream job at a Catholic hospital. For over a year, I traveled back and forth to my prior home (over 200 miles away) on weekends to transition my mom who has special needs. So, in reality, I only recently “settled in” here. I have begun to look for a new parish here now that I am settled (I didn’t just want to join the closest church like I did before, I wanted a parish where I liked the priest and the community which required some “shopping around”). THEN, something unexpected happened - I have met someone (another Catholic who also happens to have just moved here from out of state) and it is looking like the relationship is headed to engagement this Spring/Summer. Good news, right? Well, yes and no…
Its tricky enough getting married when you are new in town (without ties to a priest or church)… And the normal advice of “pick a church, reigister, attend and in a few months approach the priest” won’t work and here’s why.
My potential fiancee is a single father (previous marriage annulled) and he only has custody of the kids over the summer and alternating Christmas and Spring Break. We would want his children to be present at the wedding.
My work entails assisting hospitals anywhere in the Gulf Coast with patient evacuations for hurricanes so scheduling a wedding for the summer leaves me open to work-related cancellation. That’s out.
That leaves us with Christmas break 2014 as our only viable time-frame within the next 1.5 years. For me, I don’t mind any day within Christmas break (in fact, I PREFER a weekday because it reduces vendor prices) but many parishes/priests have a “Saturday only” policy for wedding which means I have ONE viable date, December 27, 2014.
If we did the traditional “join your closest parish and…” there is a good chance that parish would be booked for that date already and that will leave us with NO options. The priest in my old city is not going to travel, I lived downtown and our closest parish happened to be the Cathedral so those are some busy priests. Further, we are both not young (I am over 35 and childless and already have been warned I am facing infertility issues, and even normal women’s fertility rapidly deteriorates after 35), we have older, sick parents, and other reasons why waiting a few years to marry like 20-somethings sometimes do is really not wise.
I believe that that leaves us with 2 options that I can think of… 1) Find/join a parish or a priest that would be willing to flex their normal rules to help us (by doing a weekday wedding if the 27th isnt free or sending a priest to our hospital chapel or other location). We would give them ample notice and time to do the retreat, etc. (6+ months which is the parish norm here in SA). But, how do I know which parish/priest is flexible/understanding like that? Call and ask? Call the diocese? I WOULD be willing to remain with the parish after the wedding regardless of location if they helped us (and I would include that in writing if needed). The only other option we see is a civil wedding and convalidating later. Am I missing an option? Any advice?