The Catholic priests in the Cook Islands are happy to witness the marriage vows of visitors from overseas who wish to celebrate the Sacrament here.
Because the Catholic Church takes the Sacrament of Marriage very seriously, seeing the love between the married couple as an image of the love Christ has for His Church, the Diocese asks that the following requirements be met before the couple arrives in the Cook Islands:
- At least one of the parties to the marriage must be a Catholic.
- The couple intending to marry should complete all the paperwork that the Church requires in the country in which they currently live. This will mean that they have met with their local priest, or a priest with whom they are acquainted, and completed the pre-nuptial enquiry. Catholics will need to have a recently issued Baptism certificate. If one of the parties belongs to a church other than Catholic, a dispensation is required. This is normally given in the Diocese where the marriage takes place. (The couple may bring the documentation from their local Diocese with them, or it may be posted).
- The couple should have completed a course for engaged couples, such as the FOCCUS programme.
- If the couple wishes to celebrate their marriage in a place other than a Catholic Church, they need the permission of the Bishop of Rarotonga. In order for this permission to be granted, the couple must apply to the Bishop in writing, stating their serious reasons for wishing to have the celebration in a place other than a Church. They also need the recommendation of the priest who is preparing them for their marriage. It should be noted the priests in the Diocese of Rarotonga prefer not to officiate at the celebration of a marriage outside of a Church.
Bishop Paul Donoghue, S.M. PO Box 147, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS, Phone: (682) 20-817; Fax: (682) 29-817; e-mail: Bishop Paul Donoghue