God not only created love, He is Love! The Sacrament of Marriage symbolises the sharing of God's love. It is a self-giving love which a man and a woman offer each other in a lifelong union of mutual support, creating a natural institution for procreation. The Sacrament of Marriage also reflects the union between Jesus Christ and His Church by his self-sacrificing unconditional love. 

The Church encourages couples to concentrate on what is at the heart of any successful marriage - true love for one another. A strong, supportive, loving and joyful marriage can be very powerful and can help to serve others as well as the couple's children, as a source of hope and comfort. This is reflected in the Marriage blessing given by a priest, who serves as a witness.

The desire to marry is a sign that couples have opened their hearts to each other and the wedding day should complete one period of their relationship and begin another. By getting married couples will be creating a new family unit and their love from that day forwards should grow stronger. The desire to marry in a Church is a public sign that you wish to have the source of God's love transform your marriage and love for each other.

Your wedding should mark a sincere commitment to a Catholic marriage. A Catholic marriage is for life, if and when things go wrong, the couple stick together when going through bad times and work things out - like Christ's love, it's unselfish, faithful and permanent.

For couples planning their Wedding at Our Lady of Fatima:
  1. You will have to be a baptised and confirmed Catholic. Our Lady of Fatima should be the parish where at least one of you lives.
  2. Check to see if the date is available and pencil the date.
  3. You need to be over 16 but will need parental consent if you are under 18, and be free to be married in church (proof of this is required).
  4. You will need to obtain a Notice of Marriage in person from your local register office. Proof of ID is required in many forms - please check these in detail. The Notice of Marriage is then displayed at the register office for 15 days in case of any legal objections. The approved Notice will need to be handed into our presbytery before the wedding can take place.
  5. Couples are asked to attend the Marriage Preparation Course which will help them lay the foundations of married life and to grow closer as a couple by sharing and being openly honest about their ideas. It will also help them think how their lives will change once they are married and to reflect on their relationship with God.
  6. For your wedding service, you will need to choose 1-2 readings from the sacred scriptures which will be read by our priest that will be most important to you both. Other readings and bidding prayers may be read by family and friends.
  7. You can choose whether you would like a wedding service including a nuptial mass (as part of a mass) or without a nuptial mass. 
  8. You will need to choose two adult witnesses to sign the register (they do not need to be Catholics).
  9. You will need to choose whether or not to arrange music/flowers/photographer.
  10. At weddings the bride's guests usually sit on the left hand side of the church (facing the altar) and the groom's on the right.
  11. You will exchange wedding rings - which are a sign that you will be faithful to each other forever.
For couples who have a partner not sharing the same faith:
  1. One of you will have to be a baptised and confirmed Catholic.
  2. You will need permission (dispensation) from the Church (Bishop) in order to marry a non-Catholic. If this is granted, you will have to promise to keep the Catholic faith alive and bring up any children you may have as Catholics and have them baptised.
  3. The Marriage Preparation Course will help with the growth of mutual respect for each other and your ideas about marriage. Plus, assist with building an understanding of the differences in both cultures and religions.
For couples wanting to have their wedding somewhere else:
  1. You will have to have been Baptised at Our Lady of Fatima and are a confirmed Catholic.
  2. You will need a letter from our parish priest giving his permission.
  3. You may wish to attend the Marriage Preparation Course at Our Lady of Fatima - please liaise with the presbytery for more information.
If you require copies of your Baptism / Confirmation certificates for your wedding paperwork from Our Lady of Fatima, you can only apply for these within a 6 month period of your wedding date.

Our present Marriage Preparation Course is run by Fr Richard and catechist couples from the parish, and is for any couple based in the parish who is planning to marry in 2018. Please return application forms to the presbytery asap.

About the course:
  1. The course includes DVD based material and take-home participant materials.  
  2. The course takes place on four Sunday afternoons -  in March and April 2016 (all 2.00-5.00pm followed by the blessing of engagement rings at the 6.00pm Mass).
  3. Depending on numbers, the sessions will take place in the presbytery.
  4. The course fee is £50 per couple, which covers the cost of the materials. This may be paid by cash or cheque made payable to: Our Lady of Fatima Church.
  5. To apply for a place on the course please return our application form to Fr Richard c/o the Presbytery. We will contact you shortly after receiving your application.
  6. Each couple will receive a certificate of attendance and participation. This is often required by the priest who will celebrate the wedding ceremony.    
  7. Topics covered on the course include: 
  • Love as Gift — how to deepen your love for each other by learning ways in which your fiancé experiences love. Do men and women love differently?
  • Family of Origin - how is any marriage shaped, both positively and negatively, by the bride and groom’s own family background and experience?
  • Marriage as an Image of Christ & the Church — the Church’s vision of marriage as a sacrament. How can you deepen spiritual intimacy with your fiancé? Forgiveness and reconciliation. We will also consider particular issues faced by couples of different faiths or Christian traditions.
  • Planning your wedding day — lots of practical advice!
Please note, as the course is based on each couple discussing/reflecting together during the sessions, it is essential that both partners attend each session.

To receive further information regarding Marriage Courses and Weddings at Our Lady of Fatima please contact the presbytery (parish office).