“There should be in the life of every married couple a continual building of the sacrament.”

Mother Angelica

The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenant, which is more than a contract. The marriage covenant refers to the relationship between the husband and wife, a permanent union of persons capable of knowing and loving each other and God. Besides the priesthood, there is no state in life that pleads for grace as demandingly as does marriage. The celebration of marriage is also a liturgical act, appropriately held in a public liturgy at church. Catholics are urged to celebrate their marriage within the Eucharistic Liturgy. As the just-wed couple turns away from the altar, their souls are spiritually stronger, spiritually more beautiful than when they came to the altar a few moments earlier.

Marriage Preparation

Given the permanent and sacramental nature of marriage, it is important that engaged couples spend time in preparation and discernment prior to beginning their life together as husband and wife. Taking the time to prepare for marriage helps to ensure that couples understand the sacramental covenant they are entering into and have the resources to live out their marriage vocation.

The Sacrament of Marriage is a sacred covenant made by the bride and groom with God. It is a Sacrament of Vocation. At Our Lady of Fatima, we care about you and your marriage, and we look forward to sharing the journey with you!

Preparing for Marriage is one of the most exciting seasons in your life. We understand that every couple is unique, and we personalize your preparation as much as we can to meet your needs. Let us help you get ready for more than just the wedding day. Let us help you to prepare for entering your vocation and receiving this deep spiritual grace on your Journey of Faith.

Couples interested in marrying at Our Lady of Fatima Parish should contact the Pastor six to nine months before their anticipated wedding date to begin the marriage preparation process. Please contact the Parish Office at 352-726-1670.

Con-validation of Marriage

Catholics who have been married in a civil ceremony may seek to have their union officially recognized by the Church. The Church calls this the convalidation of a marriage or the blessing of a marriage. The benefits of convalidation are many, including peace of heart, oneness with the Church, and reception of the Sacrament of Marriage. We will help you to prepare for the convalidation of your marriage.

By sharing the journey of your marriage preparation, we hope to welcome you home into a community where you can grow in your spiritual life. The parish of Our Lady of Fatima is not just a place where you get married. It is a place of family where you will be cared for, supported, and loved.

If you are newly engaged and want to be married in our parish or have been civilly married and would like your marriage blessed in the church, please contact the Parish Office at 352-726-1670.


The Catholic Church reaches out to the divorced to offer support and healing. Divorce is unique among life experiences. The ending of a marriage is a traumatic experience. The adjustment which follows may be positive or negative, but it is always difficult. Divorce is a process not an event.

 One of the ways the Church offers to help people achieve healing and closure is through a declaration of nullity or an annulment. A Church tribunal, a Catholic Church court, declares that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law did not satisfy at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.

The Church presumes that every marriage between a man and a woman who are free to marry (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or Non-Believer) to be a valid marriage until the opposite is proven. Therefore, unless the ex-spouse has died, anyone who is divorced, Catholic or non-Catholic, needs to obtain a Catholic declaration of nullity before re-marrying in the Catholic Church. The person submits a petition for declaration of nullity to the diocesan tribunal. The tribunal process seeks to determine if something essential was missing from the relationship from the moment of consent at the time of the wedding. If an essential element was missing, the Church can declare that according to Church Law the marriage was not valid.

For information about the process of annulment, please contact the parish office at 352-726-1670.

Resources: To obtain additional helpful information about the tribunal and the procedure to submit a petition for a declaration of nullity, click on links below to download documents containing explanations.

  • An  Introduction to the Tribunal and Its Cases offers a brief overview of the ministry of justice and truth offered by the Office of the Tribunal.
  • The Tribunal publishes a Brochure that summarizes the process of petitioning for a declaration of nullity.
  • The Catholic Church uses a lot of terms derived from Latin. These words sometimes confuse people trying to get through the annulment process. Terms to Know provides a list of key terms used in the Tribunal office
  • There are variety of misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding the sacrament of marriage and the annulment process. This listing of Frequently Asked Questions attempts to clarify these concepts and debunk some of the myths surrounding them.
  • The Tribunal classifies its cases into two categories: Formal and Informal. The timing varies for each of these types of cases. The process for Formal Cases is described in this document.
    • The Petitioner is the person who begins the annulment proceedings for his or her former marriage. The Information for the Petitioner provides to the Tribunal is explained in this document.
    • The Respondent is the other spouse who did not initiate the study of the marriage. The Information for the Respondent provides to the Tribunal is explained in this document.
  • There are two types of Informal Cases that meet the criteria of Documentary Cases. The first is a Lack of Form Case and the second is a Prior Bond Case. The process for Informal Cases is explained in this document.
  • Any discussion of divorce and remarriage among Catholics can be a sensitive issue. There are many misunderstandings of Church teachings in this area. Here are two documents that attempt to answer some of the questions that arise regarding Divorce and Remarriage for Catholics and for Non-Catholics.


Helpful Resources

Better Together Marriage Preparation & Enrichment: