For weddings celebrated with recognition by the Catholic Church, the following information is to be entered into the Marriage Register (Cans. 1122-1123)
- The legal name of the groom.
- The name of the father (first, middle if any, and sure name) of the groom.
- The legal names of the bride (always use the maiden name of a woman, even if she was previously married).
- The name of the father (first, middle if any, and sure name) and mother (first, middle if any, and maiden name) of the bride.
- The date and place of Baptism of each party.
- The date and place (actual church and town) of the wedding.
- The names of the witnesses.
- The title and name of the assisting minister asking for and receiving the couple’s vows.
- Notation of any permissions, dispensations and delegations obtained for the valid celebration of the wedding (including protocol number if existing).
The information facts in the premarital file are the source of the Marriage Register. The marginal “Notations” column is for the purpose of noting any permission or dispensation, regardless of the source for the permission/dispensation, and other significant factors (for instance, delegation for the assisting minister or sanation).
Source of Data
The pastor is responsible for seeing that the necessary information is recorded in the parish where the marriage was celebrated. The Premarital File ordinarily contains all the necessary information. However, the celebrant should be alert to any last-minute changes or corrections to the information contained in the Premarital File.
Marriage Outside Parish Church
When a marriage is celebrated in a location other than a parish church (e.g., a chapel), the proper parish to the marriage record is the territorial church in which that location stands. The only exception is for a marriage celebrated with a dispensation from the Catholic form. In that situation, the proper parish for the marriage record is the parish of the Catholic party.
When a marriage is convalidated, data concerning the convalidation are to be placed in the usual columns. The date, place and assisting minister of the original ceremony are to be noted in the “Notations” column.
When a marriage is sanated, the minister who submited the petition for sanation is responsible to see that the sanation is duly noted in the Marriage Register of the parish where the marriage was originally recorded.
RCIA Cathecumens and Candidates
Marriages of persons who are baptized or received into full communion with the catholic Church are not to be recorded in the Marriage Register unless the marriage is now being convalidated or sanated (in which case, see above for Convalidation or Sanation) a notation concerning the marriage is to be placed in the “Notations” columns of the person’s baptismal record.
Notification of Church of Baptism
When the marriage of a Catholic is celebrated, convalidated or sanated, the pastor of the parish where the record of marriage is retained must notify the church of Baptism as soon as possible. This notification is to include the names of the spouses and the date and place of the wedding, convalidation or sanation; the names of the assisting minister and witnesses are not required.
Each parish is required to maintain a file of the paper collected during the period of marriage preparation. The file typically will include prenuptial forms, questionaries, correspondence, notes and dispensation documents. A copy of the civil license also is retained in this file.
Ordinarily, the Premarital File for each couple should be retained by the parish where the marriage is recorded in the Marriage Register.
The file of each couple is to be kept in its own envelope or folder, clearly marked with the parties’ names and the date of the marriage. The files should be arranged in alphabetical or chronological order and kept together in a locked file cabinet or safe.
The Premarital File is to be retained for sixty (60) years or until both parties have died. Expired files are to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of so that no one can gain access to them.
Transmission of File
If a legitimate request for a copy of the file is made by an ecclesiastical tribunal, a photostat copy of the file should be sent. In the photocopy of the original file is later returned, it should be destroyed.