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Where to get married?

My daughter is soon to be engaged to a young man who attends a Lutheran church. She has received all of her Catholic sacraments and attends Mass regularly. Now she is in turmoil about where to get married.

Her future in-laws are expecting them to marry in his hometown Lutheran church, where his family are adamant members — and that is the town where the couple expect to settle and raise their family.

I am wondering what the Catholic Church’s guidelines are and how she can be married with the blessing of the Catholic Church. Whenever we try to discuss the matter, my daughter ends up in tears.

She doesn’t want to convert to Lutheranism, and she doesn’t want to disappoint her own family or his. Can you offer any insight that might help? (central Minnesota)

Please relax, and have your daughter do the same. The solution is right at hand. Your daughter can be married in her husband’s Lutheran parish church and still have the marriage recognized and blessed by the Catholic Church.

She and her fiance would need simply to meet with a local Catholic priest sometime ahead of the wedding to do the necessary paperwork in applying for the Catholic diocese’s permission.

The priest will explain that your daughter will need to promise to continue to be faithful to her own Catholic faith and practice and that she will do all she reasonably can, within the context of the marriage, to see that any children are baptized and brought up as Catholic.

Her husband will not need to promise anything, but simply be aware that this is the commitment your daughter is making. If they would like, they can even ask a Catholic priest or deacon to participate in the marriage ceremony — perhaps sharing some of the prayers or readings with the Protestant clergyperson.

In circumstances like these, a wedding ceremony that is mutually agreed upon and mutually planned can do a lot to bring two families into a deeper harmony at an important time.