Plus, how could I pass up the chance to get married somewhere SO amazingly beautiful?!?
The Church I grew up in is nice, and has just been re-opened after Bishop Lennon closed a bunch of churches (grrrr), but it wasn't what I had pictured. The Church Joe grew up in, well, they ran out of funding and ended up putting the Church in what was supposed to be the gym... not what I wanted. I wanted an old, stunning, gothic, Catholic Church. Two came to mind immediately: Saint Colman's and Saint Patrick's on bridge.
The first Church we went to together after the engagement to scope out, was Saint Colman's. We had both grown up going there for mass every Saint Patrick's Day, so we thought it might be the perfect choice, with a lot of memories. When we got there that day, there were some Baptisms taking place during mass. That's fine. No biggie. Mass would just be a little longer. Well, who do I see: my ex (not the priest) baptizing his new step-son. Awkwarrrrrd! We spoke to the priest later about joining the parish and getting married there, and he just gave us some parishioner forms and said he could do it. Never talked about a date, or anything. We got a weird vibe and decided to check out St Pat's the next week.
Saint Pat's was a whole different feel. It was a smaller, more intimate, Church. Everyone seemed to know eachother, and it really felt like a community, not just a Church. At the sign of peace, everyone walked around shaking hands and hugging, and the Priest walked up and down the aisle shaking hands and giving kids high fives and hugs. We loved it. So we set up a meeting with Father Mark.
The only thing that had us feel weird about St Pat's was the Pre Cana. Pre Cana is usually a one day retreat that multiple couples go to, and at the end take a compatibility test. Well, not at St Pat's. Fr Mark created his own Marriage Readiness Program, which he has had approved by the Church, Doctors, Psychologists, and people. It consisted of PAGES of homeork for each session. Each session was an hour long, just Fr Mark, Joe and I. Talk about intense. We had 8 of those sessions. Plus a walk-through of the syllabus before we got started. So, really, like 9 meetings with just us 3. Each week, we dreaded it a little walking in. But when we were done, we always felt so good. It was a lot of work, it was kind of stressful, but it was so worth it. I think we covered so much more than any 1 day Pre Cana retreat ever could, and we really got to know eachother more. And the Priest got to know us more, which made the Ceremony even better.
We are completely happy with our decision to Wed in a Catholic Church, that Church being St Pat's on Bridge, with Father Mark as our Priest, even with all 8+ of those up close and personal classes.