Marriage Matters at Holy Faith Parish

This website page will look at Matters of Marriage across many age groups.  Our marriage changes and evolves as we move through various developmental life stages.  Addressing marriage as followers of Jesus Christ and members of the Catholic Church offers us unique opportunities to grow in love and compassion in our marriages.

  • Let's Start At The Very Beginning
  • Steps of Marriage Preparation
  • Documents
  • Marriage Spirituality and Education Seminar
  • Take and Review the On-Line FOCCUS Survey
  • Natural Family Planning
  • Marriage Prepartion Course
  • Preparing The Wedding Ceremony
  • Obtaining Your Wedding License

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

Where to begin about marriage? What is the purpose of marriage?

The variety of topics, from choice of marriage partner, issues of communication, family-of-origin influence upon marriage, finances, and dealing with anger are topics for complete books on marriage.  Check the aisles of local bookstores, and you’ll find large sections devoted to relationships and topics associated with marriage.  Many of us like being married.  Many more of us want to be married more happily and with greater fulfillment.  Yet, there are personal, cultural, and social pressures which make this goal difficult to achieve. Jesus, according to the Gospel of St. John, chose to perform his first public miracle at a wedding.  He did not heal a crippled person or bring sight to the blind.  Rather, at the Wedding Feast of Cana (John 2:1-12,), Jesus came to the rescue of his friends and family by turning water into wine.  Jesus continues to offer help and assistance to married couples by his teachings on love and forgiveness, and this teaching continues through the Church.

The Catholic Church emphasizes marriage as sacrament and covenant, in contrast with the societal perspective of romance and contract.  Within the Catholic perspective, marriage and families are viewed not as isolated experiences, but as small, sacramental and grace-filled communities.  These communities then are connected to the larger world through service and care of one another.  Pope John Paul II worked to elevate married life within the Church to its place of sacrament and vocation.  For him, the sacrament of marriage is the specific source and original means of sanctification for Christian married couples and families.  (It) is in itself a liturgical action, glorifying God.  (It) gives couples the grace and obligation of transforming their whole lives into a spiritual sacrifice.*

*John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, #56

The sacrament of marriage is the grace of God’s love poured out on us.  We experience love in friendship and marriage is the utmost of friendships, wherein God communicates himself to us through the love of the other.  The commitment of the couple is to the growth of each individual and to the good of the family as a whole.  Deepening this commitment is hard work and, in the exacting rush of contemporary family life, difficult to attain.  There is much to occupy a couple’s daily life, and intimacy is often not sought out or protected.  At times, it may be easier to walk through busy lives filled with children, career building, and retirement planning and fail to look into each other’s eyes.

Let’s return to Cana.  What does this miracle say to you about marriage? Invite Jesus to join you in your marriage. Jesus will take what is good and filled with love and life-giving, the “water,” and transform it into choice wine, delectable and enjoyable for the community, and pleasing to God. Love like Jesus.

He came when invited to the wedding feast, then, proceeded on a difficult journey of sacrificing his life for the sake of love.  We are not loved by Jesus or by our spouse because of who we are today, but for who we can become through God’s grace.  Jesus loved us that we might become more fully the sons and daughters of God, our Father.  We are called to lay down our lives for each other so that the goodness we see in each other can be transformed into choice wine, into lives filled with love and grace and mercy.  With God’s grace, this is choice wine that will never run out, and only increase in value to those who are nourished by drinking at the feast.

The website: For Your Marriage offers excellent and current articles on marriage from a Catholic Christian perspective.  Please check out the website and a few articles. Summary of the Pastoral Initiative for Marriage – “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan –

A Pastoral letter by the Catholic Bishops of the United States”

Stages of Marriage

Friendship and Marriage

Tip of the Month: “Yes, we do marry our soul mates,” one wise couple said. “But it’s at the end of the marriage and not the beginning that we discover this.” What have you discovered recently about your spouse that reminds you of the blessing he or she is to your life? How did you see this gift when you married? How has it developed over the years and stages of your marriage?

A useful site for those Planning a Catholic wedding

The USCCB website on marriage

Steps of Marriage Preparation at Holy Faith: Preparation for a Lifetime

Step One (1 hour): Meet with a priest or deacon at least eight months before the proposed wedding.

Documents needed after this meeting: Baptism certificates and Affidavits for Freedom to Marry. Please Note that Steps 2-5 are not necessarily done in order, but you must register for each of these steps within the first month of preparation:

Step Two (2.5 hours): Attend the parish Marriage Spirituality and Education Seminar. Call the office.

Step Three (1 hour + 2-3 hours): Take the communications survey called FOCCUS and review the results on-line. Attend review sessions with Bob or Anne Funkhouser Fee of $185.00 for counseling and materials. Fee of $18.00 for on-line registration for FOCCUS.

Step Four (Amount of time depends on option): Review the options available for attending a course on Natural Family Planning and select a course to attend or participate in online.

Step Five (Amount of time depends on option): As soon as possible attend the Diocesan marriage preparation retreat called the Engaged Encounter (a weekend), OR Attend the lecture day called PreCana (a day), OR Those unable to attend either of these may request a Marriage Preparation Couple from the parish to work with them. (3 sessions)

Step Six: Receive the book Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey.

Step Seven (1 hour): Prepare the wedding ceremony with the Music Director (if wedding is at Holy Faith)

Step Eight: Obtain a wedding license. Bring the license to the church office.

Saturday Wedding Times at Holy Faith: 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm


(1) Baptismal Certificates. Catholics must furnish a recently issued Baptismal Certificate, i.e. a new certificate (issued with a recent date). Contact the parish at which you were baptized. Other Christians who are baptized should furnish some record of their baptism (it does not have to be recently issued): it should list date of Baptism, denomination, name of Church and town and city.

(2) Freedom to Marry Affidavits. To be signed by witnesses (usually parents or relatives) before a notary or a priest or a deacon. These forms testify that you have not been married previously.

These documents should be dropped off at the church office at least 3 months before your wedding.

(3) Dispensations. The parish priest will arrange for permissions from the Bishop if these are needed. When marrying someone who is not Catholic, the Catholic reaffirms that he or she will continue to practice the Catholic faith and share this faith with their children, usually raising the children as Catholic.

Please note that Catholic weddings are almost always celebrated in a church. Provision can be made for a Catholic and another Christian to marry in a Christian church, with the Protestant minister presiding at the wedding. The Diocese of Saint Augustine does not permit outdoor weddings. Weddings outside a church building are not permitted by the Bishop.

Marriage Spirituality and Education Seminar

The Catholic Church has a very exalted and spiritual view of marriage and sees Christian marriage as a public ministry as well as a personal, faithful and life-long relationship between a man and a woman. Holy Faith has developed a two and one-half hour seminar which addresses the spiritual aspects of marriage, and other important dimensions of marriage which can be helpful in maintaining a life-long commitment. Register for the Marriage Spirituality Seminar by contacting the office.

Take and Review the On-Line FOCCUS Survey

The On-Line FOCCUS Survey will be scheduled from information given at the beginning of the Marriage Spirituality and Education Seminar.  Upon notification, the Survey should be taken within one week. When you have completed the Survey, contact Anne and Bob Funkhouser to schedule time for a review of the Survey. Holy Faith Parish uses the services of a licensed counselor and a Certified Family Life Educator, Bob and Anne Funkhouser.

Natural Family Planning

The Bishop of St. Augustine requires that every couple marrying in the Diocese, and who are able to have children, take a course in Natural Family Planning. Within a month after beginning marriage preparations, you select a Natural Family Planning course and inform the priest.  For your convenience, we recommend either taking the course in Gainesville by calling: Chris and Sid Pampo at 352-373-2283, or by doing the course online at NFP course online. Select “Natural Family Planning” in the menu. Courses take several months of instruction and practice. Schedule in a timely manner. For other options see the following website:, and select “Natural Family Planning from the menu.  Also, see the brochure: “Your Guide to Natural Family Planning.” A certificate of completion of one of these courses must be submitted for the marriage file. If you need more extensive help in selecting one of the Natural Family Planning courses, please call the Diocesan Center for Family Life at 904-308-7474.

Marriage Prepartion Course

Please choose one of these three options.  Bob or Anne Funkhouser will help you chose one of the following preparation requirements. (1) ENGAGED ENCOUNTER – This is a highly recommended weekend retreat held at our Diocesan Retreat Center of Marywood in Switzerland, Florida (south of Jacksonville). To register online go to: Retreat select “Marriage Preparation” from the menu, or call 904-308-7474 at least two (2) months before the scheduled retreat. A fee is involved.

(2) PRE-CANA – This is an eight (8)-hour Saturday program sponsored by the Diocesan Center for Family Life. To register online Pre-Cana and select “Marriage Preparation” from the menu, or call 904-308-7474 at least two (2) months before the scheduled retreat. A fee is involved.

(3) MARRIAGE PREPARATION COUPLE PROGRAM – A parish-trained married couple at Holy Faith will meet with you for tree sessions. Registration is through the Church office (352-376-5405). Scheduling is in accord with the availability of the parish couples providing the program. Registration should be at least four months prior to the wedding. No fee is involved.

Financial Planning

Statistics indicate that many couples divorce because of tensions over finances. Don’t become a statistic! The management of finances can be learned, and the earlier the better. You will receive for your reference the book, “Financial Peace Revisited,” by Dave Ramsey. Mr. Ramsey also has a helpful website.

Preparing The Wedding Ceremony

Only if your wedding is at Holy Faith:

Schedule an appointment to meet with the music Director, Cristina Truman, who will assist you in preparing the liturgy and music for your wedding. You can find more information on this website in the Liturgy section. You should schedule this appointment at least three months before the wedding.

See the brochure: “Practical Considerations for Marrying at Holy Faith.” Please read this brochure before contacting the florist or making any plans for decorations of the church.

If you are getting married elsewhere: Contact the parish priest who is doing your wedding and ask for directions about preparing the wedding ceremony and music at your chosen church.

Obtaining Your Wedding License

If you are marrying in Florida, only after you complete the above preparations should you apply for your marriage license.

A Florida marriage license is valid for 60 days only, anywhere in the state of Florida. Contact Alachua County Courthouse for further instructions. Please note: Before applying for your license, first obtain from the parish a Certificate of Completion of a Marriage Preparation Course. This will qualify you for a reduced fee license and no waiting period. Please bring your wedding license to the church office as soon as possible, to be put into your marriage file, if your wedding is at Holy Faith. If you mail your license to the church, send it by registered mail.