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Old 21.07.2010, 12:59
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Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

Hi EFers!

I have seen a lot of threads on the forum about marriage, but not very much on religious ceremonies. (Y’all are a bunch of Athiests, aren’t you?) Anyway, my man and I are getting married legally in August (due to permit reasons) and then having a Catholic ceremony with family in America in 2011.

I’m running into a problem though. Most of my hometown churches require you to complete a pre-cana or marriage preparation course before you can be married. If you are from outside the city or state, they say they are fine with a letter from your priest/teacher saying you completed the course, but nobody mentions anything about coming from foreign countries. (Sending a german letter from Switzerland, are you kidding me? I have to do this??)

My fiancé is close to God at heart, but he is not used to the custom of pre-canas and he does not really like the idea of an old man who has never been married telling us whether or not we’d be good for marriage. Besides that, we will have been married for over a year by law when we can do our religious ceremony, so both of us have a “what’s the point?” feeling.

My mother, a devout Catholic, seems to think it would be perfectly fine if we just find a local priest here to do the pre-cana with us (if they would even know what this is?) and she thinks it’s no problem if it’s in german, whereas I kind of don’t see the point of doing it if I don’t understand what’s going on half the time. (5% of the time if it’s schwiizerdeutsch!)

So has anyone here experience with some marriage prep classes? Where could we do a pre-cana in Zürich? How much would it cost? Would anything be available in English?

Part of me wants a free-pass with this pre-cana thing. It’s not that I think they are a bad idea, but it’s hard enough coordinating a destination wedding in my hometown, and adding the annoyance of a marriage preparation class so that I can prove to my childhood priest I want to marry my (already) husband seems like a headache.

Suggestions? Advice?

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Old 21.07.2010, 13:03
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

Have you spoken to the actual priest who will be conducting the ceremony?

If you explain your circumstances, he might agree to do it by email, or even drop it completely.

It's certainly worth a try, whatever the usual custom is.
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:04
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

or, contact the English-speaking Catholic Mission in Zürich:

http://www.englishmission.ch/index.p...d=50&Itemid=70

Their next scheduled Pre-cana course is in November.
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:26
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

We are just in the beginning phases of booking churches in the States, so I was trying to figure out how to approach the issue when it comes up. We will for sure discuss it with the priest and see what he thinks, but in the mean time I will check out the English-speaking Catholic Mission. Thanks meloncollie!
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:32
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

Skype works in America, I understand. It may be cool to find a priest who's embraced technology. Not much point going to a person who's a stranger to yourselves and the world in which you live.

And don't worry too much on the Dogma; think of the 'service' offered as an independent check on whether you two are good together. Some (rhetorical) questions will be asked but there's no Fail. It's an old idea to have a wise wo / man check in before you take the plunge and not at all antiquated, IMHO.
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:36
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

I can't give specific advice for Switzerland, but I can talk about experiences in the UK and France.

In the UK, the pre-cana thing was reasonably organised and fairly laid back. It involved a meeting with the priest that was more-or-less a "getting to know you" session plus attendance at a one-day course, after which you got a certificate. There was no assessment of your suitability for marriage or anything like that -- it was basically 30% religious (eg, what does marriage mean in the context of the Catholic church) and 70% about relationship skills. There was a one-hour session led by the priest, but the rest of the education was led by a Catholic lay couple.

The priest wrote a covering letter to the priest that was going to marry us, and that was that.

My brother-in-law was required to do his pre-cana in France (in order to get married overseas). In France, there was no formal pre-cana programme (on the basis that everyone is a member of their local village parish and well known to the priest, I guess). Instead, the priest scheduled a couple of one-hour sessions to basically cover the same religious elements as we covered in our course, but without any of the relationship stuff. Once again, there was a covering letter and some rubber-stamping and everything was fine.

I'm always amazed by the Catholic church. On one hand, I can go to mass in just about any country, any language, and follow along. It never changes. But the rules about getting married are incredibly different from country to country, and it causes lots of confusion. In my brother-in-law's case, he was expected to produce a statement certifying that he'd never been married before. In France, this is recorded on your baptism certificate -- the absence of any marriage details being evidence of never being married. So of course there was no certificate to send, but the marrying priest wasn't happy to go ahead without it.

In the end, we met halfway. The foreign priest asked my wife, me, and my parents-in-law (all baptised Catholics) to sign a statement, which was then endorsed by the local priest, certifying that my brother-in-law had never been married before. Of course, there was no standard form or protocol to follow, so we sort of made it up as we went along.

Our experience, though, was that if you show good faith (no pun intended) and try to make a compromise (as the French priest did where there was no pre cana available), your local marrying priest will meet you halfway. Also, the suggestion of seeing whether you can find a priest abroad who uses Skype is a good one.

We were shocked when the monk who married us (who, in every other respect, looked like he'd been transported from the 15th century) whipped out a Blackberry from under his robes to check his schedule and availability.

Good luck!
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:39
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

Haha Uncle Max. Yes, sometimes people know about Skype in America. (Not my family yet I guess!)

I actually have a little difficulty because the parish I grew up attending, lecturing at, serving, etc had a new priest (or should I say old?) take it over shortly before I left for college. He is a little 1950s style, wants to take the church back that way, etc... so I'm wondering what he'll think of our "special circumstances". But I would be happy for him to hold the service.

Maybe I'll ask my mom if he would be up for Skype. It would make sense to talk to him instead of someone here...
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:42
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

we did a pre-marriage course in Sydney, with the Anglican church. It was really good..well organised, interesting and opened lots of threads for discussion that laid down some foundations for our marriage.

It was practical - communication, the 'big issues' (how many kids do you think you will have, what if xyz happens, what is important to you in marriage, your opinion of the role of husband, wife etc...
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:45
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

A quick Google search shows that you can do it online.

http://www.catholicmarriagepreponline.com/home_usa.htm

The Catholic church has come a long way since I were a boy...
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Old 21.07.2010, 13:56
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

Quote:
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.... pre-canas and he does not really like the idea of an old man who has never been married telling us whether or not we’d be good for marriage. Besides that, we will have been married for over a year by law when we can do our religious ceremony, so both of us have a “what’s the point?” feeling.
Do not forget about very important things which you will find out like "condoms not allowed", "go for the natural way of birth control" and "all the unnatural birth control methods are devil's tools"

Sometimes you might be lucky and get a really nice modern priest, otherwise it feels like an unnecessary thing to do even for the extremely religious people.

Go for the English mission I would say

Last edited by Little_Polka; 21.07.2010 at 13:57. Reason: link for the English mission in the post above
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Old 21.07.2010, 15:07
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Re: Pre-cana Marriage Preparation in Zürich?

Yes, I have emailed them already. I wouldn't mind talking more in depth about some of this stuff.

It had taken awhile to extract some of the info out of my man like if we would have children or not. It's not that I want them now, but he is often of the mind "if you're not pregnant, we don't need to talk about it right now!" whereas I just wanted to know if we would have them *some* day.

Now I'm just hoping the English Mission isn't super expensive.
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