By Father David Andel, J.V.
SAN JACINTO—In his first Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis encourages the institutional Church to go out to the peripheries to encounter people and to bring them back into the fold of the Church. In his Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of Love” Pope Francis devotes a large section to caring for the divorced and remarried, people who often see themselves on the periphery of Church life.
The staff of the Office of Canonical Services goes twice a year to different parishes in the diocese to meet with people who are interested in filling out a petition for a declaration of nullity of marriage (an annulment). This is done in part to give a face to Pope Francis’ exhortation at our local diocesan level.
We generally meet with about 30 people from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. we review their written petition, ask them additional follow-up questions, and address any concerns they might have. If everything is in order, we begin their case that day. In the Diocese of San Bernardino, everything is free (since August 2014 there are NO FEES for any kind of help with annulments).
Although almost every parish in our Diocese has someone (called an ‘advocate’) trained to assist you with preparing an annulment petition, we have found that our presence helps alleviate some of this work in the parish and offers people a push to get started on an annulment. On Thursday, October 11th Canonical Services is going to St. Anthony’s Church in San Jacinto. If you are ready to begin the annulment process, or if you would simply like more information, please see us on October 11th. Anyone from St. Anthony’s or any parish in the surrounding area is welcome; we will not turn anyone away, no matter what your parish.
Please come prepared! What do you need to do?
Call the Office of Canonical Services at 909-475-5320 or email email@example.com in order to make an appointment time for October 11th, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Bring the annulment application already filled out including a 4 – 8 page narrative answering all the questions. You can attain an application from your parish office, or online at https://sites.google.com/site/canonicalservices/church/formals.
You must bring a copy of your baptism certificate, a copy of your final decree of divorce, and a copy of the marriage license for each of your prior marriages (if you’ve been married more than once).
We must have an address, phone number, and email address for your ex-spouse(s). You do not need to contact him/her, but our office must contact your ex-spouse(s).
Bring addresses, phones numbers and email addresses of potential witnesses for your case; good witnesses include parents, siblings, friends and ex-in-laws.
Be prepared to spend an hour honestly answering detailed questions about the history of your relationship with your ex-spouse.
There is no cost or fee. We are grateful to St. Anthony’s for hosting this event. Your regular tithe to your parish is your partial return to the Lord for all He has given to you. The staff of the Office of Canonical Services will kindly, compassionately and confidentially guide you through the application for a marriage annulment.
Father David Andel is the Director of the Diocesan Office of Canonical Services and Judicial Vicar for the Diocese.