Frequently Asked Questions
If you witness our marriage, will it be legal in the eyes of the state?
I have civil authority from the state to officiate at your wedding ceremony and your wedding will be legal in the eyes of the state. My authority comes from the International Council of Community Churches, through CITI Ministries and the Society of Christ’s Priesthood who recognize me as being a validly ordained priest.
Will our marriage be recognized by the Catholic Church?
Although I am a priest, I am no longer considered to be a “cleric” within the Catholic Church. Although the Catholic Church recognizes that I was a validly ordained as Priest, I am not permitted to function as a priest within the Catholic Church because of my decision to marry.
Catholic Church law requires that people who seek the sacrament of marriage, follow church “form”. What this means is that individuals are to be married before a priest or deacon and that the marriage is to occur in a church and in the presence of at least two witnesses. Since we are not following this “form,” your marriage will not be recognized by the Catholic Church as a sacramental marriage but will be considered by the Catholic Church to be a legal marriage.
If you wish to have your marriage recognized or “blessed” by the Catholic Church in the future, you would embark upon a process called “convalidation”. This process would involve some paperwork being completed by your parish priest or deacon and sent to the Diocese for approval. Please be advised that not all marriages are able to be convalidated, especially if there was a prior marriage where an annulment needs to be filed. Each circumstance is different and unique. If you plan, to have your marriage blessed, I would be happy to discuss your situation with you and to offer a guide for your decision-making.
How long will our ceremony last?
I meet with each couple in order to customize their ceremony. This is your wedding; it is your day. As a result, I want to assure you that your ceremony includes things that are personal and special to you. As a result, the length of each ceremony will vary. Generally speaking, the ceremony will last from 17 to 20 minutes.
Where will you celebrate our wedding ceremony?
I will celebrate your wedding ceremony wherever you wish. It may be at a home, a backyard, a garden on the beach or any place that is special to you. I am able to celebrate a ceremony anywhere in the state of Florida. Please note that the only place that I cannot celebrate your wedding ceremony is a Catholic Church.
Who is responsible for obtaining the marriage license?
The couple is responsible for obtaining the marriage license You may obtain your license from the office of the Clerk of Courts in any county in Florida. The current fee for the license is $96.50 The license is good for 60 days from the date of issuance. I ask that you please bring the marriage license to me, already signed by two witnesses at least 1/2 hour BEFORE the ceremony. Also bring the envelope that you were given by the Clerk of Courts. Kindly also include, with the envelope and license, my FEE in cash or check. The State prohibits me from performing the ceremony without a marriage license. Once I receive the marriage license from you, I will complete the necessary information that the license requires and return the document to the State. Within three weeks you will receive back a certified copy of your marriage certificate which you should keep with your important papers.
How are married priests able to perform wedding ceremonies?
Though the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the ceremony of a married priest as being “sacramentally valid”, they do recognize the ceremony performed by the married priest to be legal in the eyes of the state. Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church will in most cases “bless” the marriage previously performed by a married priest. See the question above entitled “Will our marriage be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church?” Married priests who are recognized and approved by the International Council of Community Churches, through CITI Ministries or other similar organizations are considered “Validly Ordained Priests” and are able to perform wedding ceremonies under this approval.
How many married priests are there in the United States?
Currently, there are about 25,000 married priests in the United States. What this means is that one out of every three priests are married. (See CITI Ministries, Inc. “What Catholics Should Know” at www.rentapriest.com)
Can we still get married even if one of us (or both of us) is divorced and we have not obtained an annulment?
Yes, absolutely. Unlike the Catholic Church, many other religious denominations permit second marriages. Though the marriage bond is one not to be taken lightly, some relationships and circumstances have certainly been less than desirable for many couples. I view individuals who have experienced a divorce as God’s children seeking a new beginning and a new life. It is my desire to provide you with the support, prayer, and guidance to embark upon this new start.
Can other ministers/rabbis be present at our ceremony?
Yes. Again, this is your wedding. I understand that when a couple comes together, it is important for both parties to enjoy ties to their faith and have ministers from more than one faith tradition present. I will gladly communicate with the other clergy if he/she is willing to do a ceremony with another minister. I am confident that we will be able to work together to plan a ceremony that is both inspirational and balanced in its approach.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
One of us is (or both of us are) divorced and we do not wish to use the annulment process. Our priest has told us that we cannot be married in the church. Can you help us?
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, other Catholic Churches (such as the Episcopal Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches) teach that second marriages may be blessed. I believe that the sacred bond that is formed in the Sacrament of Marriage is a living bond, capable of growth and maturity, requiring the care and sustenance of both parties to the marriage. Humanity has been redeemed in Christ Jesus, and in Jesus’ Resurrection we know death to be conquered, sin to be forgiven, and the chance for New Life given to all.
Unfortunately, for many reasons (some good and some not so good), marriages sometimes fail. If God again sends love into your life after a failed marriage–I believe that new love is a sign of hope, and gives you a second chance to journey through life with a beloved other. I welcome divorced people who want to marry again as loved children of God who deserve a second chance to enter a loving union with another. I will gladly bless your second marriage in the name of God’s people.
We want to be married in an outdoor ceremony but our priest will only take part in a service in the church. Will you perform an outdoor ceremony?
Yes, I will be happy to perform your ceremony at a reception hall, home, or other appropriate setting, inside or outside (this is also contrary to the Roman Catholic form of marriage set out in Canon Law–man makes buildings, God makes nature so go figure).
Will you perform ecumenical, interfaith, or non-denominational marriages?
Yes, as long as you ask God’s blessing on your marriage or commitment to each other, I will be happy, and privileged, to help you. I frequently celebrate with rabbis and ministers of other Christian denominations. I do not, however, officiate at civil (non-religious) ceremonies.