The sacrament of Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church. It confers special graces of the Holy Spirit upon the couple being married.
The videos below should answer questions you may have about Marriage. Contact the parish priest at least one year prior to the wedding if you are considering getting married at St Mary’s Parish.
What is Marriage in the eyes of the Church?
The sacrament of Marriage is a unique sacrament in that the couple administers the sacrament to each other. There must by an official Church witness present, either a priest or a deacon, because Matrimony is an act of public worship, a community prayer, bringing God’s blessing to the couple.
The Catholic Church distinguishes between a legal marriage and the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Sacrament of Matrimony involves two baptized people, one or both of whom are Catholic, becoming husband and wife through a sacred covenant with God and each other. The Sacrament of Marriage is a lasting commitment of a man and a woman to a lifelong partnership, established for the good of each other and the procreation of their children.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. (CCC, 1601)
What Is a Convalidation Marriage?
A convalidation is a celebration of the sacrament of Marriage after a civil marriage ceremony has taken place. If you have not been married in the Catholic church, and would like to have your marriage validated, contact the parish at email@example.com and request an appointment with the Pastor.
What is involved in preparing for a convalidation?
Marriage preparation for convalidating couples is typically an adapted version of the preparation that engaged couples undergo. The content of the preparation will vary from couple to couple, as different couples will have different levels of experience and knowledge of the Church, the sacrament of marriage, and of each other.
What are the benefits of convalidation?
It allows couples to put themselves right with God and the Church. This should give peace of mind, joy, and the confidence that comes from doing God’s will. It is a witness of their faith to their children.
Convalidation allows Catholics who had been living in invalid marriages to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church. Receiving the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) and becoming validly married prepares spouses to return to receiving Our Lord Jesus in Holy Communion.
What will the ceremony be like?
As with the marriage preparation, some of the ceremonial details will depend upon the individual couple. A convalidation is a true celebration of marriage, and so it follows the Catholic Church’s Order of Celebrating Matrimony. Convalidations are typically much simpler than other weddings in terms of the other ceremonial details (number of people in attendance, clothes, music, etc.), but there must be at least two witnesses in addition to the priest or deacon.
Who Can Be Married?
There are three basic requirements for a valid Catholic wedding:
The couple must be capable of being married—that is, they must be a woman and a man who are free of any impediment that would prevent marriage.
The couple must give their consent to be married — that is, by an act of their will they irrevocably give and accept one another in order to establish marriage (Canon 1057).
They must follow the canonical form for marriage—that is, they must be married according to the laws of the Church so that the Church and the wider community will be certain about the validity of their marriage.
Who is a Parishioner
Each Catholic parish has geographical boundaries. The Pastor of the parish is responsible for the souls within that boundary, whether they attend Mass or not. You are automatically a parishioner if you live within the boundaries. That is the parish where you can request the Sacraments – Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Funeral.
You can also be a parishioner if you are outside of the boundaries but you have made St Mary’s the parish where you come for Mass every Sunday. You are a parishioner by participation.
What does it mean to ‘register’ at a Parish?
When you complete a Registration Form, provided by the parish office, you are registered as a Parishioner.
Why should I register as a Parishioner?
The process of registration provides the parish with your contact information. It also allows the administration staff to provide an annual tax receipt of your charitable donations.
Do I just register myself or my whole family?
If your whole family in your household participates in Mass with you, it is a good idea to add all their names. If your spouse is not Catholic, or does not attend Mass, and if some of your children no longer attend Mass, you may decide not to include them in your registration.
How do I register as a Parishioner?
You can e-mail the Parish office at firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will forward you a Registration form, which you can then e-mail back.
Who Can Be A Witness to Marriage?
According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, a priest or deacon is the church’s official witness to the Sacrament of Marriage. In addition there are 2 other witnesses whose role is to be present to attest to the exchange of consent. Witnesses do not have to be baptized and they can be of different or the same gender. The only requirement is that the witnesses are over the age of sixteen-
The Form of Marriage
The Church has certain rules about how the marriage takes place (Code of Canon Law #1108-1123). These rules are meant to ensure with certainty that a valid marriage actually took place. According to canon 1108, para. 1, it is the requirement for validity of marriage, that when a Catholic marries another Catholic or when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, such a marriage must be contracted in the presence of the local parish priest or deacon and in the presence of two witnesses. The wedding must be performed at the Catholic parish unless the couple receives a dispensation.
What is a dispensation?
A dispensation is a relaxation of a law in a particular case which can only be done by the Bishop.
What Do Couples Need to be Married?
Church law states that the normal place in which marriage should take place is the parish where either the bride or groom regularly worship. Consequently, St. Mary’s Parish restricts weddings to parishioners who live within the parish boundaries and/or parishioners who are registered at the parish.
A current, updated copy of a Baptismal certificates from their church of Baptism
A baptized non-Catholic needs to provide a copy of their Baptism
Forms that will be filled out on the first interview with the priest
Marriage Preparation Course Certificate
Civil Marriage License from City Hall (valid for only 3 months)
What is an Annulment?
"Annulment" is word that is sometimes used to refer to a Catholic "declaration of nullity." An annulment is a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.
A declaration of nullity has no effect on the legitimacy of children who were born of the union following the wedding day since the child's mother and father were presumed to be married at the time that the child was born.
If you believe that your marriage may be invalid and would like more information send an e-mail to email@example.com to request an appointment with the Pastor.
Does the Catholic Church allow separation?
The Church recognizes that some marital situations are intolerable and perhaps even detrimental to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of persons. However, even in the situation of physical separation, the spouses do not cease to be married and are therefore not free to start dating other people, let alone enter into a new marriage, no matter how long the separation lasts (CCC 1649). This remains the case even after a civil divorce.
Can a Divorced Catholic receive Communion?
There is a widespread misconception that divorced persons cannot receive Holy Communion or forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession. This is simply not true. A divorced person who is not in a new relationship most certainly can receive Holy Communion, or go to Confession. Isn't an annulment just a fancy way for the Catholic Church to recognize and accept divorce? No. Whereas a civil decree of divorce states that the marriage has been dissolved, an annulment is a declaration by the Church that the marriage bond did not come into existence in the first place, because some essential element was lacking from the parties' consent.