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Although a minimum age is not mentioned, witnesses cannot be below the presumed age of reason. There appear to be few other restrictions on the witnesses. They may be of the same or of different sexes. While the witnesses are usually lay persons, clergy and religious may act in this capacity. They need not be Catholic or even baptised, since their sole function is to attest to the fact that the marriage took place. The witnesses are not required by canon law to sign anything, although their names must be inscribed in the marriage register.

In some civil jurisdictions they may be required to sign a civil register or marriage certificate. We are planning a wedding and need a copy of the order of service for a Catholic wedding. There are a few different versions for the Order of Service for a Catholic wedding, depending on your circumstances and the type of ceremony you choose. You will find some information at the linke below:. We are planning to be married soon in the Catholic Church.

The local priest wants us to do a marriage preparation course, but we don't know how to find out where these are run. It is required that those who are marrying in the Catholic Church also undergo pre-marriage preparation within the Church.

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Within the Church, a variety of options available at different locations. N Some programs are offered over a week-end, others for a couple of Satudays or Sundays or one night a week for a few weeks. Still others involve 1: It is a good idea to plan ahead. Depending on where you live, there are a variety of options for pre-marriage courses. Below are a few links to information about pre marriage programs and some other helpful information about marriage in the Catholic Church. For further assistance, please contact the Church Marriage Tribunal near you.

I have been married and am now divorced. I have met the love of my life and want to marry again, within the Catholic Church. The Church believes that marriage is a permanent union, lasting until death. The Church recognises that the breakdown of a marriage can be traumatic, and tries to reach out and help people who are sufferers of marriage breakdown, while upholding the permanence of a true Christian marriage. For a variety of reasons a couple who are in a Catholic marriage may seek a civil divorce.

The divorce as granted by the state however is not recognised by the Catholic Church. Even though the couple have obtained a civil divorce they are still married to each other in the eyes of the Church. Following a civil divorce one or other members of the couple may seek a decree of nullity from the Catholic Church with regard to their Catholic marriage. A decree of nullity is not the same as a Catholic divorce. A decree of nullity or annulment is a judgement made by a marriage tribunal of the Church that in fact despite the appearance of a marriage, in fact the couple were not really sacramentally married.

An annulment does not change the state of the relationship it simply recognises that from the beginning there never was a valid Catholic marriage. As you have been married and divorced and are looking to remarry you will need to speak to the Church Marriage Tribunal in your diocese to discuss your particular circumstances. It may be that your first marriage was not a valid sacramental marriage and you can have the marriage annulled. Invalid marriages can occur for a number of reasons.

The "annulment process" should it be necessary for your first marriage, can take some time. If this process results in a declaration of nullity then you are free to marry again in the Catholic Church. You may find the information in Divorce and the Catholic Church: Frequently Asked Questions of some assistance.

Sometimes after an extensive investigation a decree of nullity annulment may be granted related to a marriage. This is a judgelment made by a competent Church tribunal that a marriage that was entered into did not meet the conditions of being a valid sacramental marriage.

Such a judgement may be made after a civil divorce has been granted and the annulment process is completed. If a decree of nullity annulment is granted, the first marriage is not recogised as a valid sacrmental marriage by the Church and therefore the parties may enter into another marriage but this new marriage in the eyes of the Church is viewed as a first sacramental marriage. If an annulment is not sought or is not granted the Church views the first marriage as still current even though there may have been a civil divorce.

In such a situation, the Church views the couple as still married but separated. People who are in this situation are not free to marry in the Church. Several of the Australian Dioceses provide some information about Annulments and the Marriage Tribunal on their websites. Because of the common and false accusation that decrees of nullity can be bought, the Church is very sensitive about costs.

No one is ever asked to pay the whole cost of the process. Every tribunal is subsidized from Church funds. In most tribunals two-thirds comes from the Church subsidy, only one-third from clients. From those who can afford to pay it, a payment is asked. If a person cannot pay that amount, less is asked. If a person cannot pay anything, nothing is asked. No one is ever refused a decree of nullity annulment because of an inability to pay. A rich person received no priority, either in the time the case will take or in the way the case is handled.

Costs vary with the type of case. You will be informed of costs when you contact a tribunal. Click here for the contact details of each diocesan Marriage Tribunal. Typically you will need to provide these certificates when starting school, getting confirmed or getting married. If your parents, godparents or other relatives are alive you may need to investigate the combined family memories to discover the detail you are looking for.

To find your local parish contact details, follow this link to the Dioceses and Parishes of the Australian Church. Many St Vincent de Paul retail outlets also sell a small selection of religious items. Some Catholic hospitals also have a limited number of items available in the hospital gift shop. While we cannot endorse one supplier over another below are some links to suppliers across Australia where you may be able to find a gift suitable for the occasion.

Many of those listed provide an on-line ordering service. Visit the Vinnies website where you can find your local branch. The Vocations Ministry in Australia website has some valuable information to think and pray about. Applications for the priesthood in Australia are through one of the religious orders or talk to your local parish priest or the Bishop of your Diocese.

Information about many saints is available here. No ticket is required. Tickets are required for the Audience, but are easily obtained. Tickets can also be obtained in advance for a large group or for a Papal Mass. Christmas and Easter Papal Mass tickets are difficult to obtain. When the Pope is at his summer residence July and August , the General Audience is held in the Courtyard in the town of Castelgandolfo. He leads the prayer from his study window. Tickets are not required for this event, but at Castelgandolfo 16 miles out of Rome space is very limited.

You can find a listing of all the Popes here. Here is one link to some valuable information on the issues of Euthanasia, Abortion and Reproductive Technologies. Additionally, in the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference reviewed the holy days of obligation to be observed in Australia. In addition to every Sunday, there are two holy days of obligation in Australia. The tradition of not eating meat Fridays is a response to the call for all Catholics between the age of 14 and 59 to do Penance.

Looking at Church law - in terms of Friday abstinence from meat we find in Canon "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday".

Where we make the choice, we should carefully select the form of penance that we consider most appropriate for our own circumstances and growth in the Christian life. All who have completed their eighteenth year and have not yet begun their sixtieth year , i. All who have completed their fourteenth aged 14 and over year are bound to abstain. So the focus is not so much about not eating meat, but more about doing some kind of Penance either through prayer, self-denial or helping others.

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Start by going to Dioceses and Parishes of the Australian Church , then choose the Diocese you are travelling to. In most cases, you will be able to search for and find a parish in the area you are looking for and you will be able to locate their Mass times. Alternatively, you can phone the parish office or contact us for further assistance. Mass times for Catholic churches around the world. Many Australians who are unable to get to Mass find that the TV "Mass for you at home" is a great consolation. It is broadcast across most capital cities and many regioanl areas of Australia on Digital Channel 11 at 5.

Here is a link to some information about Mass for You at Home: Another streamed Mass from Boston. Have you made arrangements to have Holy Communion brought to your home or residiential care facility? Many parishes have someone who volunteers to carry out this important ministry for those who are no longer able to attend Mass in their local parish. If you need contact details for a specific parish so you can make these arrangements, visit your Diocesan website where, in most cases, you will find a list of parishes within the Diocese.

A comparison of the two versions can be found here. The words of a good selection of some traditional catholic prayers can be found on the following websites:. Diocese of Sandhurst - Adult Faith Education. This is a question which has been asked since the first generation of Christians. St James wrote in his epistle, "What is the good of a man's saying he has faith, if he has no good deeds to show? Show me your faith without any good deeds, and I will show you my faith by my good deeds. If our faith is merely a matter of intellectual assent to a list of religious propositions, it is much less than the Lord calls us to.

If we sincerely believe in the fact of Christ's resurrection, however, we are able to bear the Cross with real serenity and dedication. The Cross will make itself felt in the different circumstances of our lives. It is by uniting our lives with Christ that they are given a real spiritual meaning. We are also called upon to use the gifts that God has given us, and to offer them up for God's greater glory.

We must demonstrate, too, the kind of selfless love that the Lord spoke about and exemplified, such as in the parable of the Good Samaritan. And we must forgive as the Lord forgives, such as in the parable of the Prodigal So. There is no better way of making our everyday lives radiant with Christian love and compassion than by a commitment to regular daily prayer.

Rather than seeing one's life and work as separate from one's spirituality, it is important for a Christian to bring all that he or she does in life to the Lord in prayer. By the hidden and kindly mystery of God's will a supernatural solidarity reigns among men.


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A consequence of this is that the sin of one person harms other people just as one person's holiness helps others. In this way Christian believers help each other to reach their supernatural destiny. We can see evidence of this solidarity in the fact that Adam's sin is passed on through propagation to all men. But the greatest and most perfect source, foundation and example of this supernatural solidarity is Christ Himself.

God has called us to communion with Him. Indeed, Christ "committed no sin", "suffered for us", "was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities Following in Christ's steps, those who believe in Him have always tried to help one another along the path which leads to the heavenly Father, through prayer, the exchange of spiritual goods and penitential expiation. The more they have been immersed in the fervour of love, the more they have imitated Christ in His sufferings. They have carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others.

They were convinced that they could help their brothers to obtain salvation from God who is the Father of mercies. This is the very ancient dogma called the Communion of Saints. It means that the life of each individual son of God is joined in Christ and through Christ by a wonderful link to the life of all His other Christian brethren. Together they form the supernatural unity of Christ's Mystical Body so that, as it were, a single mystical person is formed. Consequence of the doctrine of the Mystical Body "All who belong to Christ and are in possession of His Spirit, combine to make one Church with a cohesion that depends on Him cf.

The union of the living with their brethren who have fallen asleep in Christ, is not broken; the Church has rather believed through the ages that it gains strength from the sharing of spiritual benefits. The great intimacy of the union of those in heaven with Christ, gives extra steadiness in holiness to the whole Church Now that they are welcomed in their own country and at home with the Lord cf 2 Cor. Their brotherly care is the greatest help to our weakness.

For these reasons a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all the goods by which divine justice is placated as expiation is made for all the sins of the whole of the Mystical Body. This is how God's mercy is led to forgiveness and it becomes possible for sinners who have repented sincerely, to share, as soon as they are capable of it, in the full enjoyment of the benefits of God's family.

Catholics do not pray to Mary but rather ask for her intercession. Catholics believe that when we honour Mary we are honouring God who gave her all she has and is. All her greatness flows from her closeness to Christ. As she herself says: Holy is His name", Luke 1: That attitude is ours too. Mary is rightly honoured as Mother of God, Mother of the Redeemer. She received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and she gave Life to the world. Redeemed by her Son in a special manner, she is intimately related to him with an unbreakable bond. To her belongs the dignity of being the Mother of God's Son, the chosen daughter of the Father, the dwelling place of the Spirit.

On account of this tremendous office Mary soars far above all other creatures. One of the characteristics of Catholic and Orthodox piety is the importance given to devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. Christ is true man because He was born of a woman; He is the true Son of God because no earthly father begot Him. In Mary, Christ came into our history "a man like us in all things but sin". In view of her exalted role Mary is venerated in the Church by special devotion. From the earliest times she has been honoured as "Mother of God" and has been invoked by the faithful.

But this special honour shown to Mary, for all its uniqueness, is absolutely different from the adoration which is due to God, though it helps towards this. The various forms of Marian devotion which the Church has approved as orthodox ensure that while these honour the Mother they also make her Son known, loved and glorified and His commands obeyed. Meanwhile, in heaven Mary is glorified body and soul. She is the figure and the beginning of the Church as it will be recreated in the world to come.

She shines out as a sign of hope and comfort for the pilgrim people of God until the Lord returns. Mary is the Mother of the Catholic Church. Even more she is truly the mother of the faithful because by her love she has helped to bring about the birth of all who are members of the Church.

Therefore her role is unique and she is recognised as a figure and model of the Church in her faith and in her love. There is only one mediator between God and ourselves and that is Jesus Christ. Mary's role as Mother of men does not obscure his mediation but actually shows its power more clearly. For whatever she does for our salvation springs solely from God's grace and the fullness of Christ's merits. So Mary's role, being based on Christ's mediation from which it draws its strength, on which it is entirely dependent, only serves to bring the faithful more closely to Christ.

This document is available from Vatican website, www. Until 15 January Australia had only one patron which is normally the case for most countries and that is Our Lady Help of Christians. The Feast day is celebrated on 24 May. Australians have invoked the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary since under the title of our Lady Help of Christians. The title first came about in the sixteenth century when Pope Pius V included it in the litany of Loreto.

For some time, though, Australia also had the patronage of both St. Francis Xavier 3 December and St. Therese of Lisieux 1 October who were co-patrons of universal missions. This declaration was made in by Pope Pius XI. For more information about St Mary of the Cross Mackillop visit marymackillop. The Sacrament of Penance is still an integral part of the Catholic faith, although there are some Catholics who do not participate as often as they could.

This he does when we turn to him and tell him of our sins. As a Sacrament of healing, Penance is for the good of the person participating, and brings many graces. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides helpful instruction on the place of the Sacrament of Penance in relation to Communion: Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive Communion without having received absolution in the Sacrament of Penance.

We have a little pamphlet on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with prayers etc that you might find useful in your preparation. People of all faiths are welcome to attend Mass in a Catholic Church. Non-Catholics are welcome to be present for the celebration but only Catholics in a state of grace are able to receive Holy Communion during Mass. The Eucharist is not merely bread but the True Presence of Jesus; his real body, blood, soul and divinity and as such, it is appropriate that this is only distributed to those who have professed such a belief.

Although some Protestant communities have the 'breaking of the bread', unlike Catholic and Orthodox Traditions, the bread is not Jesus' True Presence. There could be a number of people present at Mass who do not participate in receiving the Eucharist for a variety of reasons, being that they are not Catholic or that they are not in a position to receive communion. But all are welcome to share in the prayer and celebration.

I am a practicing Catholic but have gluten intolerance. What are the options available to me for receiving communion? The following advice has been provided by the Bishops' Commission for Liturgy. These have been assessed by the Coeliac Society's scientific officer and have found to be so low that coeliacs are not affected when they are received as Holy Communion. If, however the condition is so severe that would preclude even low gluten hosts, then they should make arrangements with the parish priest to receive Holy Communion from the chalice. This is a practice that is widespread both here in Australia and overseas.

We are here only because God made us, and we depend completely on Him. It is natural that man should acknowledge this fact. It is courteous to return thanks for a gift. God's gifts to us deserve our gratitude. It is the raising of the mind and heart to God, that is, we turn our mind, our attention to God, we think about Him; and then our heart goes out to Him in adoration, love, praise, thanksgiving, sorrow for sin, requests for what we need.

Our Lord on one occasion told His Apostles that they should pray always Luke 18,1. What did He mean?

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How is it possible to pray always? Our Lord meant by those words that we should first of all realise that we are always in the presence of God. He is with us all the time. Once we realise this, constant prayer becomes a very simple thing. It does not need many words. Indeed it doesn't need any.

The better we know a person the less need we have of words in talking to him. The practice of the presence of God means sharing our life, our interest, our activities, our thoughts with Him. This is called the state of prayer. It is a state which can last all our waking hours. Moreover, in this way we learn little by little to look at things in God's way, to judge things from His point of view. Prayer becomes, as it were, the very air we breathe.

Our whole life becomes an offering, a prayer to God. This is what Christ meant when He said that we should pray always. Of course we should also try to have some special time each day for verbal prayer. Even if we do not use many words, a few minutes each night to think back on the day and talk to God about it will mean a great deal. Next day we will be better able to put ourselves in the presence of God. For daily prayer online, visit http: We can form the habit of prayer without words - simply by raising our mind and heart to God.

There are times, however, when we feel the need to put our thoughts and feelings into words. In that case we should talk to God as simply as we talk to anybody. If you read the lives of the Saints, you will find an extraordinary simplicity in their conversations with Almighty God. Sometimes they just say the same thing over and over again. My God I trust You. My God I believe in You". So a person in love says the same things over and over again to the one he loves. We can talk as much or as little as we please, in any way we please, so long as it is sincere.

This is all that God wants. What about using prayer books? Some people find them useful, others don't. We can use them or not, just as we wish. In general, it is true to say that most people can learn a great deal from using a prayer book. There are times when we can't find words to express what is in our heart. The prayers that have been used by friends of God for centuries can then help us to say what we want to say. It is like appreciating poetry. The poet has a gift of saying with insight and penetration the kind of thing that we have vaguely felt but never been able to express.

So also formal prayers can nourish the spirit of prayer in us when we use them.


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  8. After a while phrases and sentences from them become part of ourselves. What began as a borrowed prayer is now a very personal one of our own. God guarantees that every prayer is answered. See Matt 7, This does not mean, however, that He will necessarily give us just what we are asking for. Sometimes the things we ask for are not for our good, even though they seem to us most desirable. Because He is our Father, with a father's loving concern for our welfare, God does not grant such requests. Our first prayer then should be for the great grace of resignation to His will.

    The story is told of a child who wanted a bicycle for Christmas.

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    The child's father did not believe in God, and thought that he would discourage his child's belief by telling him: You believe God can do everything; ask Him for it. The father was delighted. He did not answer your prayer. The Catholic Enquiry Centre was founded in The purpose of the Catholic Enquiry Centre is to reach out beyond the Church to offer an invitation to those who are not Catholic to learn about and understand all aspects of the Catholic religion.

    Thursday, 19 September How do I go about obtaining a copy of my Baptism or Confirmation Certificate? Baptism in the history of the Church From the very beginning of the Church, Baptism has been administered and celebrated as the means by which one becomes a Christian. The forgiveness of sins Through Baptism all sins are forgiven. A permanent relationship with Christ Through Baptism, the Holy Spirit seals the Christian as being in a permanent relationship with Christ. Extract from"Call and Response: An Introduction to the Catholic Faith" p Who can be Baptised? Where can I find some information about Baptism?

    How do I arrange to have my child baptised? Can our daughter still be baptised if one of us isn't Catholic? These are indicative of the questions asked of the parents during the ceremony: What name have you given your child? What do you ask of God's church for N.? Sometimes, you do this with the whole community. All of this you can discuss with the celebrant during the preparation for the baptism. This information was sourced from the Catholic Australia website, http: Who can be a godparent? To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must: Can non-Catholics be godparents?

    If not, can we choose not to have godparents? Can our child be baptised twice? What happens during the Baptism ceremony? Baptismal Promises The family will gather around the Baptism font, which holds the water used for Baptism. Why do you wear white at Baptism?

    Why do we have a Baptism Candle? What is a Sacrament? They fit into three categories, as follows: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick Sacarments in the of service of Communion: What are the Seven Sacraments? Catechism of the Catholic Church, The sacraments are divided into: CCCC Eucharist The Eucharist is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus which he instituted to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until his return in glory. CCCC The Sacraments of Healing Christ, the physician of our soul and body, instituted these sacraments because the new life that he gives us in the sacraments of Christian initiation can be weakened and even lost because of sin.

    CCCC Penance and Reconciliation The sacrament of Reconciliation Confession, Penance is the means and the sign that Christ gave us to show His willingness to heal us when, through our own human frailty, we turn in on ourselves and away from Him and our neighbour. CCCC Anointing of the Sick This sacrament confers a special grace which unites the sick person more intimately to the Passion of Christ for his good and for the good of all the Church.

    CCCC Holy Orders The sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred, in each of its three degrees Bishop, Priest, Deacon , by means of the imposition of hands on the head of the ordinand by the Bishop who pronounces the solemn prayer of consecration. Friday, 20 September How do I become a Catholic? If you do know someone who is a Catholic - someone whom you trust and can talk with — you might like to talk to them about the faith and perhaps later ask them to introduce you to the parish priest, or you might like to accompany them to Mass on some Sundays After initial contact with the parish you may be invited to join in the Rite Of Christian Initiation For Adults RCIA in which you join with others who are seeking to become members of the Catholic Church.

    Are Catholic priests allowed to marry? How are those affected by disability being included in the body of Christ? For further information and resources to promote the full participation of people with disability in the life of the Church contact: What exactly are brothers and nuns?

    What is happening about Christian unity? What is the history of the use of candles in the Church? What Prayers do Catholics say? Here are some common Prayers said by Catholics. It is a Catholic custom to begin and end all prayers with the Sign of the Cross. What role do women have in the Church? Why does the Church teach that we have to go to church on Sundays?

    God and Scripture The Scriptures are a gift from God. Interpreting Scripture Sacred Scripture is inspired by God and so needs be to read and interpreted in the same spirit in which it was written. There are three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it: The Church carries in her tradition the living memory of God's Word.

    It is the Holy Spirit who gives the Church the authority to faithfully interpret the Scriptures. While it is the Holy Spirit who gives the Church the authority to faithfully interpret the Scriptures, the Church herself is also ever challenged to live up to the message of Jesus as revealed in the Bible. An Introduction to the Catholic Faith" p36 2. Why were the gospels written? Why there are only four Gospels? Interpreting the Scriptures Christ taught his disciples. An Introduction to the Catholic Faith" p39 3.

    What is the relationship of Catholics with the Bible? What version of the Bible is used at Mass? At present the lectionary translation has not changed from what it has been for about 40 years. Where can I find the Mass and Office readings for the day? Why are there differences between the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Bibles? An Introduction to the Catholic Faith" p42 6. Who is Jesus Christ, what do we know about Him from Scriptures? What do we know about Jesus?

    It can be enriching to any individual or group asking the question: As such, it also offers a good foundation for reflecting on both the Year of Grace and Year of Faith in Each week there are also reflection questions as well as a suggested practical action. Read more Read less. Countdown to Christmas Sale. Sale ends on 24 December at As a post-Alpha initiative, Connect Groups are easy to begin-just keep meeting fortnightly with your fellow Alpha participants.

    You gather for some food, discussion and prayer. Faith Circles-Connect gives you the format and reflection questions to assist in these fortnightly gatherings. For those who have not participated in Alpha yet , starting a small faith sharing group using Faith Circles-Connect remains easy. Just get two or more people keen to share faith and life and pick a time and a place to regularly meet. Sign up for our emails and we will send it to you, for free!

    You can then print the handout or maybe just read it straight off a smart-phone or tablet! Connect Groups are where those who have completed Alpha go to connect and to grow. Connect groups are for building and nurturing relationships with Jesus and one another. They are small to mid-size groups that retain the key ingredients of Alpha, especially sharing food, praise and worship and small group sharing. At each Connect Group gathering, a member of the group shares how a Scripture reading connects with their life and relationship with Jesus.

    Time is then given for small group sharing followed by prayer with and for one another. Through Connect Groups, the parish ensures that all parishioners are known individually, loved, nurtured and cared for. We've all heard the saying three's a crowd. When Catholics come together in faith there is always an additional presence, as the Lord is true to his promise that, "For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them. Faith Circles-Connect is a single-sided A4 sheet, based on the Sunday Gospel with reflection questions and prayer points.