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WHEN AN ENGAGED COUPLE, of which at least one is a Catholic, WANTS TO MARRY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH or ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, they must take the following things into consideration:

1. Inform:
Before marrying the couple must inform their own parish of their intention in time, at the very least three months before the marriage.

2. Preparation:
The couple must reserve a time to both prepare the official marriage paper, and to discuss with the priest. Participating in the marriage course would help this. A marriage course will begin at the beginning of the year at St. Henry’s Church.

3. Certificates and other official papers:
Both of the engaged pair will need a baptismal certificate for marriage from their own baptismal parish. In addition, if the baptism took place in another country, the accurate address of the parish is also needed.

Both of the engaged pair will need a written certificate stating that both are free to marry, in other words, that neither has been validly married earlier. Obtain a “Todistus toimitetusta avioliiton esteiden tutkinnasta/Vihkimisilmoitus” from the civil magistrate. It is valid for four months.
If the couple has already been married civilly at the magistrate, it is enough that they both bring a ”virkatodistus”, which states where and with whom one has been married.

4. Witnesses:
For the marriage ceremony there must be two witnesses, who must be present at the marriage ceremony.

5. The marriage ceremony
The marriage ceremony takes place before a Catholic priest. If one of the couple belongs to another Christian Church, permission to marry is needed from the Catholic bishop.

If the marriage ceremony is to take place only in the presence of an official of another church, the couple also needs a dispensation from the Catholic bishop. The priest, who prepares the couple for marriage arranges the dispensation this with the local bishop.

Without the dispensation of the bishop, marriage in before an official of another church is not valid in the Catholic Church.

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