Marriage is a sacrament, a very significant event in a Catholic’s journey. Marriage highlights the importance of being part of a nurturing Christian community guided by the Holy Spirit. Marriage is a vocation, and as a married couple, a woman and a man reflect the love of Christ to the world.
Marriage is a “community affair,” not only in celebration of the love between the couple but also in the life they have been called to live together. The married couple should reflect the love of Christ to the world. They are aided in keeping their love burning brightly by the other married couples, family and friends who are their fellow travelers on the journey.
In the campus ministry at The University of Texas at Austin, marriage preparation is offered to students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as to members of our worshiping community. Other couples who may select the UCC for their preparation are also assisted. Please remember that a wedding date should not be finalized until with a UCC pastoral staff member is assured that all preparation plans are complete.
Couples who wish to marry at the UCC or who intend to marry elsewhere but who wish to do their preparation at the UCC must contact a pastoral staff member, preferably at least six months prior to the proposed wedding date. Please note that either the bride or groom should contact the staff, not wedding coordinators or relatives. These staff members are:
- Father Ed Nowak, C.S.P. – 512.476.7351, ext. 140 or via e-mail
- Father Jamie Baca , C.S.P. – 512.476.7351, ext. 120 or via e-mai
The couple has several meetings with the selected pastoral staff member. The discussions include the completion of the prenuptial questionnaire and the results of the FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study), a self-diagnostic inventory designed to help them learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. Cost for the FOCCUS is $15 (and payable by check to FOCCUS or credit card).
The couple is required to participate in either the following:
- UCC Marriage Preparation Workshop – conducted once each semester over a Friday evening and all day Saturday. Significant topics relevant to marriage are presented with one-on-one couple conversation time. Meals and a closing Mass are included. Cost is $75 for UCC/UT Austin-related couples and $100 for all others.
- Together in God’s Image – a Diocese of Austin pre-marriage weekend retreat held at the Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton or a four-evening class series conducted at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. Schedules, cost and details for these programs are available from Rick Bologna in the Diocese of Austin Family Life Office, (512) 949-2495 or e-mail
The wedding church having been selected and scheduled, then this is the time for the couple to meet with the priest or deacon who will preside at the wedding ceremony and witness their exchange of vows. At these meetings all the plans and details of the rehearsal and the wedding should be discussed. The wedding coordinator (if one will be utilized) should be involved in these details.
- Catholics must request a recently dated baptismal certificate (with notations) from the parish where they were baptized. Individuals who are baptized but who are not Catholics must request a recently dated copy of their baptismal record. While recommended for Catholics planning to marry, Confirmation is not required in most U.S. dioceses. It is required, however, in many other countries.
- A $50 donation (payable to the University Catholic Center) is requested to defray the expense of marriage preparation (for printed materials, etc.) regardless of where the marriage ceremony takes place.
- If the wedding is to take place at the UCC, a donation of $350 for UCC/UT Austin-related couples and $500 for all others is requested. The UCC does not have a wedding coordinator nor provide music for weddings. The suggested donation for the priest or deacon celebrating the wedding is $100-$200.
- For weddings at the UCC, our provided parking is extremely limited–10 parking spaces total on Saturdays. Generally, weddings on Saturdays can use the St. Austin’s Parking Garage a few blocks away. As an alternative, you can contact Central Parking at (512) 474-1530 to rent the parking lot directly west of our building and directly south of our building (The “Whitis Lot” and the lot at 20th and University).
- All ceremony plans must be approved by a staff member at the University Catholic Center. Some general guidelines follow:
- Photography, both still and video, are allowed, but photographers are asked to be respected of the ceremony and not position themselves in a way that would be either distracting to the participants, guests or disrespectful to the church itself.
- We do not allow flower petals to be thrown or an aisle runner to be used.
- An unity candle or additional candles for the ceremony must be no-drip, have a candle follower or have plastic sheeting under them. No additional candles can be placed on the church’s liturgical furniture (the altar or lectern/ambo).
- Violin, cello, and other orchestral pieces are perfectly acceptable. Harps and brass quintets are also acceptable. The music performed must be approved. For more information, contact Brad Emerson.
Effective February 2009 (in accordance with the Diocese of Austin Supplementary Norms promulgated February 2, 2009)