“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being incomprehensible to himself, his life is senseless, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in LOVE.” - Pope John Paul II
Congratulations on your engagement! As you look forward to sharing your life together as husband and wife, you undoubtedly have many questions and concerns. We would like to share with you the rich depth and beauty of what it means to be married in the Catholic Church. Here are some steps to help you begin planning your wedding. After having read and reflected upon this information, if you have any questions, or if you are prepared to formally inquire about the possibility of celebrating your wedding at St. Mary's, please contact Parish Office
Before making any concrete plans for your marriage celebration, you should ask yourselves some questions: “What place does God have in our lives?” “What place does the Church have in our lives?” “Are we striving to practice our faith?” “What sort of faith do we want for our children?”
Your answers to these questions should directly affect where and how you choose to celebrate your wedding and live your marriage. For a Catholic, a desire to be married in the Catholic Church should indicate an acceptance of the teaching of Jesus Christ as handed on to us by the Church.
Jesus, in response to very specific questions about how we are to live, gave very concrete answers. He summarized his teaching in the twofold Commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. He gave further concrete expression to his teaching by reaffirming the ten Commandments. From the beginning, the Church has proclaimed and defended these truths taught by Jesus, and urges couples to live in true love according to God’s plan for marriage.
Step 2: Make a decision about where you are in your faith, and where you want to be... and ACT on that decision.
Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacred covenant freely accepted by a man and a woman that is ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. It is by its very nature a bond that cannot be broken. It is a life-long commitment to another person that promises exclusive fidelity.
Marriage requires incredible unselfishness and hard work, but promises God’s help. For those who accept God’s invitation, it promises eternal life. During the wedding ceremony, the couple is asked to affirm this faith. The desire of a couple to marry gives witness to their love. The desire to be married in the Church should also give witness to their acceptance and living of the teaching of Jesus Christ as handed on to us by the Church.
Step 3: Contact the Church
Having reflected together upon their faith, couples who wish to profess their love for each other and affirm their faith in God and the Church should contact the parish in which the Catholic party is a registered and practicing member.
What Do We Do Now?
If you are a registered and practicing member of St. Mary's, we invite you to contact us before you make any other plans in regards to your wedding.
If the Catholic Church has not been a significant part of your life, please contact us! Even if a wedding in the Church is not appropriate or possible at this time, we would like to share with you our Faith!
We’re engaged! What next?
Begin by contacting the parish church at which the bride or groom is a registered and practicing member. Contact your parish first, before making any other arrangements (reception, attendants, etc.).
What if we’re not registered?
Every Catholic is called upon to assume an active and supportive role in a specific parish community. If you are a practicing member of another parish, please contact your pastor first. If you wish to become a member of St. Mary's, we invite you to register and come to Mass for three months before inquiring formally about a wedding.
What is a practicing Catholic?
A practicing Catholic is someone who accepts and strives to live the teaching and Commandments of Jesus Christ and His Church and who regularly participates in the worship of the Church. This means receiving the Sacraments regularly, and supporting the Church financially.
What if we’re not practicing?
Now is the time to begin. Seeking a Catholic wedding presumes that a Catholic is striving to live his or her faith.
What if one of us is not Catholic?
The bishop can grant permission for a wedding ceremony between a Catholic and
What if we’re already living together?
Choosing to live together before receiving God’s blessing is a public statement that is inconsistent with the teaching of Jesus and the Church. Living together is not a good preparation for the life-long commitment of marriage. Secular studies, confirming the wisdom of the teaching of Jesus, show that cohabitation before marriage drastically increases instances of infidelity and divorce. We urge couples to publicly affirm their faith by separating until after they have publicly committed themselves to each other before God and the Church.
I’m divorced. Can we get married?
Following the teaching of Jesus, the Catholic Church considers any previous marriage(s) of the bride or groom, whether contracted in a religious or civil ceremony, binding unless shown to be invalid. We are unable to set a date for a wedding until all previous marriages have been declared null by the authority of the Church. This is true even for parties who are not Catholic. The time and effort needed to acquire an annulment varies depending upon the circumstances. For further assistance and information on annulments, please contact the parish office.
HELP FOR TROUBLED MARRIAGES