Chancery and Canonical Interviews

Timing was the key for these series of interviews for us. The Pre-Cana and wedding banns are requisites for the interviews hence we attended the Pre-Cana during our Christmas vacation in Tagum and announced our wedding banns from end of November and well into December. We were just in time then to visit the churches for our interviews come early January, just right before Hubbie flies back to Japan.

And what a roadtrip it was. Chancery interview was to be in Lipa Cathedral (or in the seminary of the Chancery Lawyer Fr. Dong Rosales). Canonical interview was to be in St. Francis Xavier Church, Nasugbu Batangas. Both Lipa and Nasugbu are on the edges of Batangas battery limits and would take you some 2 to 3 hours to travel from one to the other. Whew! We actually had to have the Chancery interview on Jan 4 and have the Canonical interview the following day. In between, we visited Caleruega and Ville Sommet and Yellow Coco for Hubbie to see the sites personally. And of course we just have to stay at Sonya’s to check on the place before actually booking our guests.

Chancery interview was so fruitful in that we also found the priest we’ve been looking for to officiate our wedding. I’ve no priest friend and although Mama has a couple or so, flying him to Tagaytay is so out of the question. But both Hubbie and I liked Fr. Dong when we had our interview and he was most kind to show us around Lipa in that we decided to have Fr. Dong for our wedding.

One thing though: he doesn’t allow the Unity Candle on the ceremony. But he allows personal vows so I can settle with that. 😀

Chancery interview certificate! I had to brushout some names though, for privacy and security purposes

Canonical interview was suprisingly really fast! We had to make a queue with the other couples who got there ahead of us (we arrived in St Francis at 8am, left Sonya’s at a quarter to 6 but we were already couple number 11!) but the interview itself was only 2 minutes max each for me and Hubbie. Too bad though I wasn’t able to take a picture of the canonical interview certificate.

Anyways, that’s it, Church documents preps are done! We’re all set for our Church wedding! 😀

PS: Chancery interview is only required for couples where one of the marrying party is non-Catholic, non-Filipino.

Davao-Manila VV, booked!

Thanks to Cebu Pacific, I was finally able to book my family at a price that was less than what Hubbie and I paid for our Davao-Boracay-Manila flights last December.

Phase 1: I had to wait for when Cebu Pacific announces their seat sales covering the dates around our wedding date. Jan 17, they announced Php888 per person per flight for flights from Mar 1 to April 30.

Total cost: 13,176 php for 11 adults, 1 kid (same price as adult) and 1 infant. Sugoi ne?

I had to book my family with only a one-way flight to Manila though. Risky yes. So in tenterhooks, I waited for when they will announce the next seat sale.

Phase 2: Yey! My worries were allayed. Cebu Pacific offered the same Php888 sale for Davao-Manila vv flights for travels from Mar 1 to May 30! This one was a bit of a headache though. The flights got sold out faster than in the first phase that I had to book my family in two batches!! Total booking time was 3 and half hours!! First batch flies to Davao at 7:30AM, second one flies at 7:30PM.

Total cost: 12,974.72 php for 11 adults, 1 kid (same price as adult) and 1 infant. Apparently, booking them in two batches saved me a couple of hundred pesos haha.

Booking was a challenge!!! But i’m thankful for this blessing as this is one major to-do off my list. Time for sleep! Time check: 1:47AM.

Rainy Summer?

I had to show Hubbie the Church we’re getting married in and our reception venue. Hence when we went to Tagaytay-Batangas for our interviews, we had to squeeze in the visits in our schedule.

And i’m glad we did. The place was even more beautiful that day, January 4. There was a clear blue sky and yet it wasn’t hot. It felt like Japan in early May. And in the afternoon as we saw the sunset when we got out of Ville Sommet, it felt like early autumn.

When we went to Caleruega at past 4, there was a wedding so we couldn’t get inside the church. Hence we just roamed around the premises enjoying the scenery. The fine blue sky coupled with the cold weather created an effect that when you look out the horizon, it doesn’t look like a tropical place. It definitely reminded me yet again of breathtaking Tuscany (I wonder when can I get to visit the place again).

We liked it so much we had difficulty leaving the place in that we had to make a stopover by the roadside to take some snapshots.

Anyway, Hubbie and I think the couple who were having their wedding that day was very lucky to have such a beautiful day for their wedding day. Then Hubbie said, “Let’s pray for good weather on our wedding day. Let’s start praying now, everyday”.

And I totally agree with Hubbie. Never underestimate the power of prayer. I really think starting the praying now is a great idea especially with the news below that it’s gonna be a rainy summer this year.

Wedding banns & Pre-cana cert

Posting our Pre-Cana Certificate of Attendance and Wedding Banns Publication Certificate. Thanks to Mama, our wedding banns were settled in that when we got to Davao, the only thing we had to do was claim the wedding banns certificate.

(documents deleted)

Church interviews galore – Pre Cana

I admit. OVERWHELMED was what I felt at the time that I was able to summarize all that needs to be done to secure Church approval for our wedding. I was overwhelmed to the point that I questioned the necessity of it, specially for some documents which I found redundant considering we were already civilly married (i.e. procurement of CENOMAR for me and certificate of singleness for Hubbie).

But grumble as I may, we still have to go through the process because it is required by the Church. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be allowed to have our Church wedding. However, as we went from one seminar to the next interview, somehow I felt that not only do I “have” to do this but that I “WANT” to do this.

As we hopped from one seminar to the next interview, I realized that not only is this process a preparation for our wedding ceremony but a preparation for our marriage as well. In that during the course of our interviews and the preparation thereof, we came across situations that are actually issues that Atsushi and I may have to face as husband and wife.

Looking back, it is indeed a helpful process in preparing us for our married life.

First installment: PRE-CANA SEMINAR

We planned to celebrate Christmas with my family in Davao. Since Hubbie’s visit is a holiday season and that it may be difficult to find Manila churches that give Precana seminar over the holidays, we decided to have our Pre-cana in Tagum (Davao) as well. It was a good thing really that they schedule special and exclusive Pre-canas whenever the couple requests so (except Sundays and Church Feasts); but of course at twice the usual fee. Thanks to Mama, our schedule was set (including an interview with our village’s GKK chairperson).

The first obstacle we had was that the woman who scheduled us got us together with another couple and appointed a lecturer that albeit good is not too keen and comfortable with English. We had a dilemma as how best to proceed since the other couple would also be disturbed as I translate the seminar’s topic to Atsushi. I had to strongly request for an exclusive seminar because first, it was what we paid for and more importantly, it would be senseless to have the seminar and yet my Hubbie couldn’t understand a thing about the Seminar. Thankfully, the lecturer arranged for a separate lecture for the other couple, thinking that this will be beneficial to everyone.

First speaker was certainly loads of fun and information. The second speaker was entirely a different story. Aside from only gossiping with us, she had us stereotyped. When she learned the couple she was about to give lecture to has a Japanese groom, even before seeing us she assumed Atsushi was an old guy and I…uhm…wear super sexy clothes. Hence when she learned that I am an engineer, she was terribly surprised. She was even more surprised when she learned both me and Atsushi are engineers.

I don’t blame her really because the old Japanese guy and sexy Filipina tandem is really common here in the Philippines. Our Pre-Cana seminar experience opened our (mine and Atsushi’s) eyes some more on this issue and that probably, in our married life, we would have a lot of encounters regarding this stereotyping. I still get affected with it up to now. As thus Hubbie. I find it heartbreaking, this sterotyping. But I guess it is a call for us to rise to the occasion and meet the public’s prejudiced attitude headon. And emerge victorious.

Church Requirements

NB: Please read as well updated Church Requirements post here.

Getting married in the Church here in the Philippines certainly just doesn’t only involve getting a priest to bless your marriage – although I think it would mean more meaningful that way. It doesn’t only involve gathering around and saying our prayers and asking (and receiving) the blessing. How I so wish it’s as easy as that! But no, there are a lot of bureaucracies involved and we have to comply with it all so that we will be allowed to get married in the Church.

Normally, for couples who are both Filipinos and are both Catholics and haven’t been married yet, below are the documents you need to submit to the Church and the process you need to go through:

  1. Marriage License – can be obtained from the municipal hall of either the bride or groom
  2. New Copy of Baptismal Certificate – secured from the Parish where the person received the Sacrament of Baptism and annotated with “For Marriage Purposes”. Must be requested no longer than 6 months before the wedding.
  3. New Copy of Confirmation Certificate – secured from the Parish where the person received the Sacrament of Confirmation and annotated with “For Marriage Purposes”. Must be requested no longer than 6 months before the wedding. I had Mama request for Items 2 and 3.
  4. Name/License No. of Officiating Priest
  5. Name of Sponsors
  6. Certificate of Freedom to Marry – for those who stayed abroad for more than 6 months
  7. Wallet size picture
  8. Pre-cana seminar – For Caleruega weddings, the pre-cana seminar can be taken from any parish anywhere in the Philippines. The couple just need to secure a certificate of attendance. This may not hold true for other Churches though.
  9. Wedding Banns
  10. Canonical Interviews

Once you have Items 1 ~ 7, submit the documents to the Chancery (in our case Lipa Chancery). Lipa Chancery will then issue us a letter of endorsement for Xavier Parish (parish incharge of Caleruega). Xavier Parish will then issue the letter for the request of the publication of wedding banns. The wedding banns need to be published in the couple’s hometown or place of current residence for 3 consecutive Sundays.

Once done with Items 8 and 9, a copy of the signed publication of the wedding banns and the certificate of attendance in the pre-cana seminar has to be presented to the church you’re marrying in to have a schedule for the Canonical interview which shall be conducted by the parish priest of the Church you are marrying in. For our case, Xavier Parish (in behalf of Caleruega) will only schedule us for canonical interview after we’ve had the pre-cana seminar.   

It doesn’t end with the Canonical Interview. After the Canonical interview, the (1) signed publication of Wedding banns, (2) certificate of attendance in pre-cana seminar and (3) result ot canonical interview has to be submitted to the Chancery Office. Depending on results of the Canonical interview, the Chancery may schedule the couple for an interview with the Canon Lawyer.

Once done with the Chancery, the couple has to wait for a 3-day processing period before the couple can receive the signed Clearance from the Chancery Office together with all the original documents submitted (NB: couple must make sure to secure photocopies of all the original documents you submitted just in case such documents might be asked for by other entities). Once all documents has been received from the Chancery, the couple must then submit all the documents to the Church the couple is marrying in. Done.

BUT oh! Didn’t I say above process is only for couples who are both Filipinos and are both Catholics and haven’t been married yet? Yes, even when you’re civilly married, it still doesn’t save you from needing to submit the documents required by the Church. More so, it still doesn’t save you from needing to undergo seminars. Hence the only requirement we need not submit in above list is Item 1.

Our case is a little extra special. We have been civilly married already and my groom is a non-practicing Christian and of a different nationality with Nihongo as a national language (to which it follows that all documents issued by his government is in Nihongo). Hence as expected, we have to submit ADDITIONAL requirements on top of those listed above.

  1. Marriage Contract – true, we eliminated Item 1 in above list but then it got replaced with this. Our Marriage Contract is in Japanese hence it has to be translated first. The Japanese priest who usually helps Japanese nationals with their marriages here in Philippines recently died last August. At the moment, they haven’t found any replacement for his post hence the Chancery can’t advise us yet their accredited translator. At the moment though, they would accept Hubbie’s translation (whew! yey!). We need to provide the official translation from the accredited agency later, though.
  2. Copy of my CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage) – the one used during your application for civil marriage. For my case, the Philippine embassy in Tokyo required it be authenticated by the DFA here hence my CENOMAR has got a DFA red-ribbon with it.
  3. Groom’s Certificate of Singleness – the one used during application for civil marriage. For our case, this is Hubbie’s Koseki Tohon (Family Register).Thankfully, the Phil. embassy required us to pay for the translation of this and also gave us the original copy after our CNO application so I already have this.
  4. Certificate of Freedom to Marry for the Groom – this is a letter or certificate signed by the groom’s pastor that says that the pastor knows that the groom is free to marry, and has no record of previous marriage in his church. Yes, even when we’re already married, they still requested for this since, as they say, “in the eyes of the church, we’re still not married”.  This got me scratching my head. Aren’t government papers enough? Anyways, since Hubbie is non-practicing Christian, Item 3 will have to suffice (thankfully!!).
  5. Photocopy of the Groom’s passport

Depending on Fr. Nishimoto’s replacement, there may be additional requirements on top of above 5 requirements.

 Quite a tall order eh? In any case, as it is said, when you’ve worked really hard to get something, then that something will be of more value to you once you have it. Getting past the obstacle will make a sweet victory. Gambatte to us Hubbie! =)


2 hours after:

Thanks to Erika, my question on why our processing is more complicated than usual was answered. To quote her:

The Clearance at the Chancery Office is only required for couples where one of the marrying party is either of the following:
1. Non-Filipino citizens
2. Filipino citizens who have lived abroad for more than 6 years
3. Non-catholic individuals
4. Individuals who were previously married and whose marriage was dissolved

Otherwise, if you are both single, Filipino and Catholic, there is no need to seek clearance at the Chancery Office. All requirements will be processed by the parish where the marriage will take place – or in your case, the parish who handles the Chapel.

Thanks Erika! =)

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